7 Questions You Should Ask Site Search Vendors at IRCE

Jun 08, 2016

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IRCE is the gathering place for online retail professionals to make new connections, network with industry leaders, learn from the best of the best and investigate new technology.

Site search and e-merchandising is sure to be a hot topic at IRCE 2016. Both B2B and B2C businesses are understanding the importance of product findability and relevant product recommendations. There will not be a shortage of technology providers showcasing their solutions and it can be easy to be "wowed" by a product demo in the exhibit hall.

While you won't have time to really pull the curtain back and dig into the details in between attending break-out sessions and trying to as much ground as possible in the exhibit hall, you can ask some key questions that will help you decide which providers you want to follow up with after the conference.

7 Must-Ask Questions When Selecting a Site Search Solution

  1. Does your company have a history of continuous improvement?   
  2. What are the future plans for the product? 
  3. Are there any unusual implementation requirements? 
  4. How difficult is it to create custom rules and dynamic landing pages?
  5. Can you give me examples of how you've helped clients solve unique business problems? 
  6. How many product recommendation strategies are available?
  7. How much control can business users have over the customer experience without IT involvement?

Be wary of solutions that offer a "one-size-fits-all" platform. 

Consumers have become accustomed to personalized and variable results based on their search history, interaction with the website, and location to name a few. Returning the same search results to all visitors is no longer sufficient. E-commerce Industry Leaders, as defined by the Aberdeen group, cite three primary strategies for success:

  • Personalized Search Results
  • Increased Search Variability
  • Product strategy based on deeper customer segmentation

Once you determine which vendors you're going to investigate further after IRCE, here are some additional things to keep in mind during the evaluation process.

It’s important to evaluate the functionality of each solution against these functional requirements:

  • Personalized search results — Search results based on personal search history
  • Increased shopper control — The ability to filter and sort search results based on preferences
  • Data driven merchandising — Using consumer behavior and shopping preferences to increase relevancy
  • Cross channel and device consistency — Delivering a consistent customer experience across all channels and devices

Above all else, be sure you that the site search company you choose has a reliable, customer-centric focus so that you can rest easy while building your online business.