The 2016 holiday shopping countdown has begun for online retailers. It may be hot outside, but inside the conference rooms of most businesses, discussions are focused on the time of year when snow flies in many areas of the world. The holiday shopping season will be here before we know it!
The last quarter of the year can be make or break for many retailers, and now more than ever before, it's crucial to deliver an outstanding customer experience. E-commerce retail sales
are projected to grow 13.3% this year and the bar has been raised when it comes to meeting customer expectations. Amazon's highly personalized and relevant product recommendations have influenced the way consumers want to shop. They are growing less patient with online retailers that don't deliver a relevant, easy to use, and fast online experience.
Thankfully you don't have to be Amazon or Zappos to offer personalized product recommendations and faceted navigation that makes it easy for shoppers to find the perfect gift.
Not only do consumers expect great search results, most aren’t aware (and don’t care) about the technology that is used to generate search results. All they care about is how easy it is for them to find what they are looking for on your website. Companies that are experiencing the most success online are enhancing internal site search through:
- Smart auto-complete — Predictive, type ahead results that include images and product names.
- Behavior influenced/intelligent search results — The ability to remember and incorporate the consumer’s behavior and preferences into search results (think Amazon).
- Product filtering capabilities — In-depth category and product attribute navigation options that help shoppers quickly find what they want.
- Effectively handling the “no results” page — Don’t send visitors to a dead end. Give them tips for better searches, display top selling items, or highlight their recently viewed items, and make it easy for them to search again.
- Site search user experience — In addition to all of the above items, speed matters (especially on mobile devices).
- Personalized product recommendations — Expose products, blog posts, articles, and documents, such as technical specifications, using real-time and historical data points to showcase what's relevant to your visitors.
Unfortunately most e-commerce site search capabilities disappoint the consumer and lead to frustration. Does your e-commerce site search measure up?