May 9, 2022

No More Customers Lost in the Sea of Products

Turn Searches into Sales

Imagine playing a game of Where’s Waldo with no idea what Waldo looks like. That’s how it can feel shopping on a B2B distributor’s site. With thousands of SKUs and thousands more specifications, distributor’s catalogs can be so large they could be printed and used as weights. Too many options also contribute to decision paralysis, where customers become so overwhelmed with the number of choices that they end up not buying anything. To spare customers the headache of sifting through a sea of products, distributors can create a more organized, user-friendly experience by giving customers a search bar with all the right answers, every time.

HawkSearch’s AI-powered features have shown significant results for distributors, creating a relevant, intuitive experience that becomes smarter the more people use your site. Though these small details and changes to your site seem insignificant, you’ll be shocked by the results a site search solution can have on traffic, conversion, and revenue.

Make Things Simple

Distributors need a site search solution that can handle high SKU catalogs. Not to mention, the products offered will also have numerous specifications and attributes of their own. This requires up-to-date and accurate product descriptions, the ability to understand search queries, their synonyms, as well as their SKU equivalents. That takes time from you, your customer, and ultimately your sales dollars flying out the window.

HawkSearch makes things simple by automating these updates with our secret sauce - data enrichment, normalization, and re-indexing features. While data enrichment keeps product descriptions accurate, re-indexing keeps inventory levels and pricing strategies current. This allows your customers to rely on the website’s accuracy for product availability and materials data. The accuracy also benefits membership-based access to items and pricing for B2B distributors.

Let’s take a look at this in action.

Company 1: Connecting Cables to Customers

Our customer, we’ll call Company 1, is a leading manufacturer of high-performance cabling and connectivity solutions. They needed a new site search solution that returned results in a way that made sense for their business logic and customers.

Company 1 sells thousands of products, each with attributes such as length, color, and connector type.That’s thousands of thousands. With such many facets for customers to search along, results were often incorrect and unrefined, and the company had no way of tailoring which products were displayed with each query. Site users were overwhelmed with answers, none of which they were looking for.

After implementing HawkSearch, the company’s users were finally able to search for cables and connectivity solutions across multiple attributes. Results are now much more refined and Faceted Navigation guides customers through the search experience with options to drill down through multiple categories to find a specific product.

In addition to consumer sales, the company also serves partners and distributors that are interested in buying products for resale. Oftentimes, the connectivity products that partners searched for were very specific, and their larger-than-average order totals were falsely influencing the recommendations that appeared.

As a solution that works for all the company’s customers, HawkSearch’s configurable and flexible RelevantRecommendations engine gave the manufacturer more control over which recommended items appear on product list pages and the ability to enable different strategies based on their business goals.

From a technical standpoint, developers had minimal control over the search platform. If developers needed to make a last-minute style or image change, they would have to work directly with their vendor, which limited what they were able to do from a design and user-experience standpoint.

Using HawkSearch’s customizable widgets and landing pages, powered by a HawkSearch API implementation, developers now have the freedom to make a series of enhancements to their search interface. Catalog pages outside of search feature custom HTML refinements, driven from the API, paired along with product refinement widgets that use data from HawkSearch.

Overall, after choosing HawkSearch for its robust recommendations engine, merchandising tools, and developer-friendly environment, Company 1 saw the following improvements:

  • 6% Conversion Increase
  • 12% Transaction Increase
  • 5% Search Usage Increase

Like the cable and connectivity solutions manufacturer, most distributors must consider the factors that make their B2B buyer experience unique. Buyers may want to search for an item by a certain brand or accessories compatible with the product. These are in addition to typical search criteria B2C retailers encounter as well, such as price, size, color, and more. Especially in specialized industries, filtering or navigating based on product-specific attributes needs a unique solution equipped to handle large amounts of data. Because of this, distributors require a site search solution like HawkSearch that is capable of understanding and filtering products based on their offering’s unique descriptors.

Company 2 – Supercharging Service Through Search

Company 2, another industry leader as a full line electrical supply distributor and consultant, has over 40 locations and over 50,000 SKU’d items. The company is known for its outstanding service model and focuses on delivering the best possible shopping experience for its customers, both online and in stores.

Electrical supply products involve an enormous level of detail regarding their specifications. To manage this, as the organization’s online presence grew, the following challenges needed to be overcome to be successful as an eCommerce retailer.

Integrate a search solution that effectively sorts thousands of products and makes personalized recommendations to shoppers.

HawkSearch’s Smart Autocomplete feature takes the guesswork out of how a search term should be phrased. This feature alone can boost sales by 24% by predicting and displaying relevant products quickly. Autocomplete also becomes more personalized based on user behavior. Tailored for them, online shoppers now enjoy a much more intuitive and user-friendly search experience.

Secure a tool that delivers relevant search results that allow merchandisers to implement time-sensitive promotions based upon daily outcomes of the season.

HawkSearch delivers extremely accurate and relevant search results in an easy-to-use format. The tool enables visitors to simply search through navigation categories and then drill down further by such applicable facets as price, brand, size, application, and more. Recognizing synonyms is also a part of the search strategy.

Find a way for both customers and sales associates to locate items available in the less popular sizes and give sales staff the tools to make suggestions about alternate products if a given item is out of stock. Provide a unified experience for site visitors.

The HawkSearch merchandising workbench enabled the leading distributor to fully utilize boost/bury rules, pinning, and banner campaigns to highlight and focus visitor attention on certain products. HawkSearch’s visibility rules also allow the company to show or not show certain products based on region, inventory status, or manufacturer territorial sales agreements.

Company 2, after choosing HawkSearch for its extremely accurate search results, powerful marketing workbench, and effective use of facets in the site’s category navigation, was able to create a unified experience for site visitors as well as the following improvements:

  • 24,000 Site Visitors Per Month
  • 11,563 Landing Pages Involved in Search Queries
  • 6,200+ Individual Data Fields Utilized for Optimal Search Relevance

Company 3 – Partnership Opportunities Surge

Company 3 supplies electrical products and services to industrial, construction, utility companies, and more. With hundreds of thousands of products from over 2,000 manufacturers, the supplier is a one-stop-shop for businesses in search of a wide range of electrical solutions. Stocking a full slate of products and hundreds of facets to filter through, Company 3 had a data density problem. The company wanted to continue to offer more products to their customers and partner with more manufacturers, but their former on-site search solution was hindering that growth.

Due to the nature of the industry and the locations of the distribution centers, there were certain product lines the supplier wanted to sell that had regional restrictions attached to them. Without a way to target the visibility of these products based on the user’s location, the company was limited to what they could sell.

Through HawkSearch’s Visitor Targeting feature, the company now can create conditional display rules based on their users’ location. With this geo-targeted solution, the company can satisfy regional mandates put in place by certain manufacturers, which eventually opened the door for further partnership opportunities. Visitor Targeting also allowed for focused customer campaigns based on customer segmentation.

B2B sites also frequently have entitlements, otherwise known as membership exclusive access to items and/ or pricing. HawkSearch’s Visitor Targeting feature can also be used to display pricing, products, and inventory that corresponds with the customer’s user profile. At the same time, the feature can restrict access to certain products unavailable for the customers based on their profile type or custom constraints.

The electric supplier’s previous on-site search platform was clunky and cumbersome to use as a result of the sheer amount of product data coming from manufacturers. Many customers had difficulties finding exactly what they were looking for and the platform wasn’t very intuitive.

Using HawkSearch’s Relevancy Tuning feature, the company now offers a more user-friendly search experience and helps customers find the necessary solution, product, or service. This feature allows users to search by category, part number, keyword, or even the product description and narrow down those results by selecting specific product attributes.

Company 3 needed a way to control the visibility of facets and product attributes without overwhelming customers. Lacking the ability to influence their customers’ search results based on their own business goals, they needed a way to present products based on the authorized brands for a specific market and branch availability.

The boost and bury rules on the HawkSearch platform gave the company the ability to increase or decrease the visibility of certain items based on product volume. The platform also enabled the company to pin, spotlight, and build campaigns for different manufacturers.

After implementing HawkSearch, the electric supplier saw significant improvements that benefited both their customers and partner manufacturers. The improved search and functionality resulted in:

  • 16% decrease in bounce rate
  • 49% Increase in Total Unique Searches
  • 13% Increase in Average Session Duration

Help Buyers Find What They’re Looking for in a Sea of Products

Finding the right products is the key to conversion, especially for large-scale eCommerce platforms. HawkSearch’s features are designed with self-optimizing artificial intelligence to make this easy for distributors with thousands of SKUs. Though the goal is the same–to increase visibility, conversion, and revenue–each functionality attacks this problem from different angles to ensure all bases are covered.

HawkSearch offers data enrichment, so product data is consistently up to date, making it easier for customers to find items based on relevant, accurate information. Additionally, HawkSearch has solved the unit of measure conversion problem by normalizing data across all systems. This means that while most site search tools cannot comprehend “2 feet” to be the same as “24 inches”, HawkSearch is able to equate search queries to synonyms to return accurate results. The ability to understand different units of measurement is best suited for industrial distributors since so much of the search requirements rely on it. Maintaining data accuracy alone makes the customer’s site search experience seamless, quick, accurate, and accelerate speed to checkout.

HawkSearch’s Smart Search Information Manager (SIM) functions similarly to its autocomplete and language data normalization capabilities by analyzing and normalizing product SKUs. This means that small discrepancies in a SKU search such as a missing number or added dash will return the same results. Many B2B buyers will often search for a product by SKU. It is, however, more likely to miss a character in a string of numbers like ‘X98720PV’ than typical search queries such as ‘radiator drain plug’. For customers that don’t know the specific SKU, HawkSearch can also use longtail keywords such as ‘radiator drain plug for 2013 BMW 1 series’ to find matching items.

While some may come with an item in mind, other shoppers may not know what they’re looking for. HawkSearch also powers a product configuration tool that allows customers to simply choose a product type or between a number of specifications in a dropdown menu. Results are configured to show products that align with the selected attributes to save time. The many features of HawkSearch, as well as its advanced capabilities, make it the secret weapon for distributors to meet their goals.

HawkSearch’s relevant recommendations feature is beneficial for distributors with products that may require one or more additional products to operate. For example, someone fixing a sink will look for a 1.5-inch-long sweep elbow that would need to be purchased along with a 1.5-inch hub DWV. Recommendations can make it easier for the shopper by featuring compatible items as ‘frequently purchased together’ so they don’t have to look for them. With so many options to choose from, it can also slip a shopper’s mind that they needed something else. Relevant recommendations will put the right items in front of customers, so they leave with everything they need and possibly other things they didn’t realize they needed. Recommendations are the most effective for upselling and increasing average order value.

Data-Driven Marketing

HawkSearch’s on-site search technology is powered by machine learning that learns from user behavior. This means it will self-optimize recommendations, search results order, and other features like autocomplete based on your customer’s unique interactions with your site.

Relevancy tuning, boost and bury, banners, popular searches, and more are all a part of HawkSearch’s marketing dashboard. These tools can be used to proactively influence customers’ search results, recommend certain products, and feature trending/popular items. This allows distributors to implement marketing strategies to upsell and cross-sell products of their choice. The marketing dashboard comes with dynamic metrics reporting so distributors can measure the effectiveness and impact of their marketing efforts.

Dynamic reporting can give distributors insights into search trends, page performances, and interactions to automate or recommend marketing strategies. Insights can be used to tune product recommendations, identify which items to boost or bury, and more. Insights are leveraged by HawkSearch’s AI as well to optimize autocomplete for search queries, faceted navigation, identify synonyms/language discrepancies, and even create dynamic landing pages. HawkSearch uses metrics such as clicks and conversions to optimize the site’s navigation for a flawless customer experience.

Similarly, insights can create dynamic category landing pages automatically to spotlight popular items, discounted products, and more. Category landing pages are also powered by HawkSearch driven functionality so each page can leverage features such as facets. HawkSearch provides valuable user data and the option to take a hands-off approach by self-optimizing or more manually involved customization of the buyer experience. The configurability and versatility of HawkSearch make the experience seamless for both the distributor and customer.

About HawkSearch

HawkSearch’s marketing-centric dashboard is designed intuitively so that both minimal and major changes can be made without relying on the IT department. HawkSearch’s team also works to create a custom solution for each client, outstanding customer service, and ethical support pre and post integration to ensure all concerns are met and solved. The AI-powered site search solution is continually expanding and evolving to grow alongside customers’ businesses. By delivering a relevant, easy-to-use, and seamless experience, HawkSearch drives sales, cultivates partnerships with manufacturers and customers, while opening a wealth of opportunities to boost conversions.