Optimize Your Search Merchandising for the Holidays

Posted by Shaun Ryan, September 17th, 2013 at 11:01 am PST
Categories: Analytics, merchandising, Related Search, SEO, Site Search | No Comments »
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As an eCommerce professional, you’ve likely been preparing for the holiday shopping season for months – deciding which products to feature, planning orders and organizing marketing campaigns. Retailers predict an 11-20% rise in holiday spending for 2013, with eCommerce and mobile driving much of the growth (Retail TouchPoints, Aug. 12). While the opportunity is great, so is the challenge of making your products stand out. Here are some thoughts on how you can use search merchandising tactics to ensure your holiday campaigns are effective.

Get Insight from your Site Search Data

The first step in successful search merchandising is to look at your site search data for real-time insight into users’ behavior. Review the queries that shoppers type into your search box, along with your site analytics. Which searches are most popular? Do shoppers want a product you don’t have? Are they seeing “no results pages” because they search using different language than you use on your site? Do they move from your results pages to a purchase, or do they jump away from your site without buying?

If you gather such insights from your search data now, you’ll have time to make improvements well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you don’t already have an advanced site search provider, engaging in such services now can give you the extra set of hands and tools you’ll need to be agile in response to holiday trends.

Use the Right Tools at the Right Time

The second step of a successful search merchandising plan is to know which tools can make the most impact, and how to use them. A couple of my favorite tools for holiday merchandising are landing pages and gift finders.

  • Landing Pages for Holiday Products: In most cases a relevant search results page is the best page to show your visitors when they type in a search term. However in some cases you want to have more control over their experience and a specialized landing page may be the right tool. For seasonal specials, simply create a web page with your top holiday merchandise and set the page to load when visitors type certain words like Holiday, Christmas or Hanukkah into the search box. Assign a dedicated URL to your holiday landing page, and then use it in holiday email campaigns and advertising. Not only does this promote your holiday specials, but it gives you a trackable link in your Google Analytics so you can gauge the success of the campaign.
  • Gift Finders: Gift Finders are another way to generate more sales revenue around the holidays. Set up refinements that allow someone to define a set of criteria for a gift – e.g. price, occasion, recipient type and gift type – then see a list of the products that match those criteria. Promote your gift finder on your home page or by using a landing page with a PPC link for email and ad campaigns. When done correctly, it can be a useful tool that increases users’ likelihood of buying from your site. Read more about gift finders in this blog from SLI Systems Co-Founder Geoff Brash.

Branding banners, ribbon overlays and integration of social media are other merchandising tools that can improve the odds of holiday shopper conversion. These and a dozen other tools are covered in the new white paper “Using Site Search Data to Improve Merchandising,” which is a free download from the SLI Systems website.

Lastly, be sure your site search provider offers proper merchandising controls for your site so you can quickly test and easily refine the presentation of promotional messages, products and content on your search and navigation pages. Such agility will help you compete for consumers’ spending money during the holidays and beyond.

   

Customer Success: Natural Wellbeing

Posted by Joe Riney, September 17th, 2013 at 11:00 am PST
Categories: Navigation, Refinements, Related Search, Rich Auto Complete, SEO, Site Search | No Comments »
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Natural Wellbeing is a site rich with reports, reviews and expert advice about the holistic and natural wellness products they offer. Such quality content can really help move shoppers through purchase decisions – especially for a natural health products site, where first-time buyers can be skeptical. But in order to be useful, the content has to be easily searchable and relevant to the needs of each individual buyer.

When Natural Wellbeing signed with SLI Systems in 2009, I saw a great opportunity to help them bring their rich content into their site search capability. They had a blog, an active social media presence, and a wiki with well-written descriptions of every herbal ingredient that their certified therapists use. But none of these resources were tied to the search results page. We worked closely with them to implement a number of changes.

One change was to create a tabbed format to include relevant blogs, wiki content and Facebook content onto each search results page. In the below screen shot, you can see that a search for “sleep” now shows 44 related product results on the product tab, and there are additional tabs for accessing related blogs (1), wiki articles (36) and Facebook posts (62).

refinement_screenshot_11Sep13We also created a set of refinements for them (see the left column in the above screen shot), where users can narrow down the search results by rating, price range, brand, category or subcategory. For example, if a user wants to look at only formulas that contain blends of different herbs and doesn’t want to spend more than $20, they can click the $10 – $20 range in Price Range and Formulas in Subcategory. This narrows the number of product results from 44 to 25, as shown below. From that point, the user may want to look at ratings and read more about the products to decide which they want to purchase.

Since SLI’s site search continually learns and improves, the relevancy of search results improves over time. Natural Wellbeing realizes the benefit of letting SLI’s learning search do its work – it frees them from having to constantly tune results, allowing them to focus on other priorities in their business.

Both Natural Wellbeing and its sister site Pet Wellbeing also use SLI’s Site Champion product, which keeps improving SEO without any work on their part. Site Champion uses visitors’ site behavior to automatically create optimized landing pages that are indexed by Google and other Internet search engines.

In March of this year, I worked with them to add SLI’s Rich Auto Complete, which auto-displays product listings and images based on what users are typing in the search box. Since users can click on these products directly from the search box, the feature shortens the path from searching to buying, which creates a better user experience and improves conversions. Since adding Rich Auto Complete, the sites have received significantly higher page views, search users and search result clicks.

Now I’m working on ways we can help with their push for growth. I heard what they’re doing with email marketing, for example and showed them the types of custom templates and landing pages we can create for those campaigns. I’ve let them know what’s working well for others and have developed solutions that will help them achieve their current goals. It is through casual and interactive conversation that we come up with solutions that make a real impact.  Being an extension of our customers’ team is what I and all SLI Customer Success Managers strive for.

   

CSM of the Month: Zack Mai on Aremo

Posted by Zack Mai, August 6th, 2013 at 10:01 am PST
Categories: Navigation, Site Search | No Comments »
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SLI powers site search and navigation for many eCommerce sites around the world. One of the fastest growing markets is Brazil, where new sites are popping up every day. It’s an exciting space for eCommerce, where creativity and innovation help sites grab attention and quickly become popular. In Brazil, as in the United States, the market for apparel, accessories and shoes is huge. I worked with Aremo, which sells women’s fashions, to add Learning Search and Learning Navigation to their site. Due to their platform limitations, the team at Aremo explored ways to improve their search and navigation, selecting SLI Systems after considering the various options.

Attention to detail is extremely important, especially in the fashion industry. Throughout this build and in our current maintenance, we always work to ensure that we must not only deliver the most relevant results that customers want to see, but also display the results in a stylish way. We show products in two different ways: one which lists products separately, the other which highlights the product in a complete outfit. By combining these two key points, users are able to see “learned” relevant results, while the layout displays products more attractively. If the customers like what they see, the product detail page shows the complete products of the outfit, seamlessly linking our search results page to their product detail page.

aremo - rollover item

aremo - rollover outfit

 

 

 

SLI’s feature set includes merchandising tools, which Aremo uses to help display and promote the best products. All of the banners you see on the site are implemented via SLI’s merchandising console. This client advertises each product category with unique banners. For example, if you browse to the category Bijoux (Jewelry), you will see a high-quality banner highlighting the category page you are visiting. These category pages are powered by SLI’s Learning Navigation.

Aremo - banners

In fashion, users like to share with their friends what they are looking at or purchasing. With the implementation of Twitter and Facebook on their search results pages, users are allowed to do just that. We’ve enabled the ability to share favorites or tweet about a specific product from the page where visitors are viewing products – just hover over a product to be presented with three options: share via Facebook or Twitter, or if you have a question regarding a specific product, simply click on the mail icon to send Aremo a direct message.

This site is tailored to a female audience, and they’ve found that their visitors tend to navigate more, browsing for items or outfits. Because navigation accounts for the majority of their revenue, we understood how important it was to keep the elements, such as refinements, identical between search and navigation pages. With a consistent user experience across search and navigation, users are able to more easily find whatever they need, which increases the chances for conversions. Users are able to navigate to learned results, and then refine those learned results to identify exactly what products they want to see.

The combination of these features has definitely paid off. Since implementing SLI’s Learning Search and Learning Navigation, Aremo saw drastic growth in their revenue. Their revenue increased 321 percent over the first 4 months, as more visitors used search and navigation and made purchases. Now, their revenue is leveling off to a more consistent monthly average.

Aremo now presents its customers with a site that displays simple, clear details, a consistent user experience, and more importantly, SLI’s patented learning technology that is able to return results based on user behavior. I enjoyed working with the team at Aremo; with our combined ideas and SLI’s capability to present the best products, we were able to tackle these obstacles and create a successful, beautiful and user-friendly site.

   

SaaS vs. On-Premise Solutions

Posted by Shaun Ryan, August 6th, 2013 at 10:00 am PST
Categories: Navigation, Site Search | No Comments »
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One of the most frequently asked questions when evaluating site search solutions is why a SaaS-based solution is better than on-premise. The reasoning may follow that with on-premise, you pay for software once, instead of monthly service fees. But while having a one-time payment for a software package may seem like the most logical and cost-effective solution, it can actually end up costing more in the long run.

On-premise software solutions require an extraordinary investment not only for the up-front financial costs, but also in ramp-up time, education, support and maintenance. Typically the software will be full of features that cater to all the different uses, but many of these won’t be used by one individual customer. Additionally, on-premise software is generally slower to upgrade, with typically six or twelve month release cycles. SaaS solutions provide an answer to many of these issues, giving users more time and flexibility to support other business priorities.

Harness Deep Knowledge and Experience

When you sign on with a SaaS solution, you’re not getting a piece of software and a general 1-800 customer service number – you’re getting a consultative group of industry specialists, dedicated to helping you achieve your goal. SaaS companies earn their money by having you as a long term customer – so they are financially incented to make sure you are happy and continue to use their software. SaaS companies can see how their software is being used, which helps build their knowledge of best practices. Since service is a key component of the model, you’ll find that SaaS companies have deep technical knowledge and provide value through excellent support, recommendations on industry best practices or specific features that will make your unique site shine.

Faster Ramp-Up Time

Going with a SaaS-based solution means you’ll also take advantage of faster deployment and ramp-up times. Your IT staff won’t have to invest the time and money to become experts at installing and maintaining their software. Technology, as well as customer preferences, is constantly changing. You’ll find SaaS teams to be agile in implementing new or complex features so you can quickly adjust to shifting demands. By adopting a SaaS solution, you can keep your in-house team focused on your most important daily priorities, and let a dedicated team of specialized engineers support your SaaS operations and maintenance.

You’ll also avoid long ramp-up times spent in internal training and resources. Once implemented, you’ll receive tutorials and ongoing customer support for all of your teams. The bottom line is this: your new capabilities will be up and running more quickly, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time (not to mention headaches).

Continuous Innovation & Customization

Another great benefit of going with SaaS is that all customers receive regular, automatic access to the most up-to-date features and products. As new features, products or improvements are created, the technology is shared across all users. The best solutions’ features can also be tailored to meet your site’s specific needs, for a streamlined experience that isn’t one-size-fits-all. Often, these ongoing upgrades are available at no added cost. You avoid the hassle of later purchases and updates of traditional software licenses, as you trade one-time convenience with ongoing support, recommendations and continuously-improved technology.

Redundancy & Scalability

It’s also important to keep the stability of your software in mind. When your core business depends on whether your site is up and functional, it’s imperative that your site doesn’t fail. Make sure your SaaS provider has a network of multiple data centers and redundant server architecture to ensure that your site will continue to run smoothly even during high web traffic spikes or natural disasters. There is a high chance that your SaaS provider will have more sophisticated, redundant systems than you could ever afford.

Round-the-Clock Customer Support

If your SaaS supplier is a global company then they will have support people based around the world. One of the biggest benefits we see is the ability to provide outstanding customer service and guidance. Knowing that you have personalized attention from your customer support representative and a full team of engineers supporting your eCommerce needs around the clock gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on other important projects.

The benefits of SaaS vs. software-based site search are clear, which is why I strongly believe in SLI Systems’ approach to providing the best site search, navigation and SEO solution for your eCommerce business. For the third year in a row, SLI was named the #1 SaaS Site Search provider to the top 500 online businesses as ranked by Internet Retailer, and a leading site search provider to the top 1,000 online retailers.

   

The Growing Global Need for Great Site Search

Posted by Shaun Ryan, June 19th, 2013 at 3:33 pm PST
Categories: Mobile, Navigation, Site Search | No Comments »
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Every day we see how introducing great site search is one of the easiest and quickest ways to turn more visitors into buyers. Earlier this month our customers were telling their stories at IRCE 2013 in Chicago. These are businesses like Samuels Jewelers, which doubled the per-visit value of their site search users after implementing changes that make search results more relevant. And Party Supplies Delivered, which increased their conversions by 203% after switching from their platform’s default search to advanced search.

Al Gore’s keynote address was about the international opportunities that abound for eCommerce – an industry that is growing 15 percent each year, even during a period of global economic stress. “You need to think global,” he said, pointing out that the number of Apple iOS and Android devices activated in the U.S. was surpassed in January by those activated in China. The economic balance is shifting and we need to accept, and anticipate, change.

We spoke with many online retailers who haven’t yet optimized their site’s search and navigation, and his keynote hit home. As eCommerce grows internationally, SLI plays a pivotal role in providing the tools that enable the best shopping experiences for customers around the world. Whether for large online retailers with multiple international sites or family-owned businesses, we work to provide the best products, resources and customer service, so that all of our customers can focus on what matters most to them – their business.

Seizing the Opportunity with IPO, Expansion

As a company that has an established customer base spanning five continents, we understand the global opportunity. Brazil is one of our most recent, and fastest-growing markets, adding to our strong presence in the United States, the UK and Australia. We are working with some of the top Brazilian online retailers to improve their search and navigation, both on web and mobile sites. We are also starting to work with our first Japanese partners and customers.

The vast opportunity for further international expansion is one of the reasons SLI Systems decided to raise capital through its IPO on the New Zealand Exchange on May 31, 2013. It has been an exciting time for SLI’s founders and investors as we’ve watched shares rise since the original offer of NZ$1.50. You can hear more about our story in this June 4 interview.

We’ll use the investment to fuel sales, marketing and customer support as well as innovation, as we grow our engineering and product development teams. This will build on our tradition of bringing our customers the ongoing feature and product developments they need to make their eCommerce sites the most successful in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We believe that innovation and measured growth are the secrets of global success.

Today’s online shoppers are starting to see gorgeous magazine-like sites tailored for mobile browsing, interactive tools that aid decision making, and the convergence of social and editorial to create highly-personalized shopping experiences. More and more of our customers are eager to work with us to integrate these features into their site search and navigation. As technology advances and global opportunities continue to expand, we anticipate and remain at the leading edge of the many innovations in eCommerce yet to come.

   

CSM of the Month: Mark Lawson on Analysys Mason

Posted by Mark Lawson, June 19th, 2013 at 3:26 pm PST
Categories: Navigation, Site Search | No Comments »
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This article is part of our monthly “CSM of the Month” feature, in which an SLI Systems Customer Success Manager discusses a current client example.

One of the more interesting projects I’ve been involved in recently is with Analysys Mason, a research and consulting firm who provide detailed articles to their global client base on all issues that relate to the telecoms, media and technology (TMT) sectors. While a large percentage of SLI’s customers are online retailers, we also work with publishing sites like Analysys Mason, the New England Journal of Medicine and Dilbert.com.

Analysys Mason is a great example of how SLI’s site search and navigation technology helps publishing sites improve the user experience and increase the number of page views per visitor. In fact, since implementing SLI they have seen a 21% increase in page views and a 24% increase in unique page views. The average time on site has also increased.

One of the reasons for these improvements is that SLI’s page load times are much faster than Analysys Mason’s previous search. This allows users to more quickly find the articles they’re looking for and leads to an overall better user experience.

Analysys Mason has a vast Knowledge Centre of research articles it has prepared. When I first started working with Analysys Mason, one of their unique needs was to show each user a different set of results based on their specific subscription IDs. This allowed them to have different tiers of subscribers – those with a free account who have more limited access to research, and those paid subscribers who have full access. Now that SLI brings back the correct results for each user based on their login credentials, Analysys Mason is able to make the tiered subscription model work for them.\

In the below screen shot, you can see how the Knowledge Centre appears to those who are not logged in. In the left-hand column, the radio buttons under the Access section allow you to refine results based on free or paid content. In the results section, articles that are limited to logged in users display the note Subscription Required.

screenshot_knowledgecenter

Analysys Mason also uses SLI’s synonyms tool for search, as it has helped them to expand their vocabulary without having to edit the content database. As an example, a search for ‘MEA’ will pull up results for Middle East and Africa, even if the acronym MEA does not show up in the article title or summary.

By tracking the search terms used on its site through SLI, Analysys Mason is also able to pinpoint specific trends in searches. These analytics allow them to improve upon results for poor search phrases, as well as to know what research papers people are looking for.

Analysys Mason is also very pleased with the search suggestions that automatically appear under each product. This feature is powered by SLI’s Learning Search technology, which directs a user to a related set of results if they can’t find the article they are looking for straight away.

Anyone who has searched for articles on a publishing site knows the frustration of finding nonrelevant results, as well as the satisfaction of finding exactly what you were looking for. I’m happy to work with Analysys Mason to ensure that their customers have a great search experience and spend more and more time on their site.

   

Technical Ability Matters – Don’t Overlook Advanced Site Search

Posted by Thierry Costa, April 3rd, 2013 at 3:59 pm PST
Categories: Navigation, Refinements, Rich Auto Complete, Site Search | No Comments »
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Changing to a new eCommerce platform is a huge investment, not only in dollars, but time spent integrating your site and training your team on the new features and functions. When you’ve just spent so much time and money upgrading to a new platform, it’s easy to see how adding site search would seem like little more than an additional expense.

But failing to upgrade your eCommerce platform’s search is like upgrading your ski clothes without buying better skis – you may look and feel better, but your technical gear won’t perform well. Upgrading the core search ability of your site can lead to better overall performance and higher conversions.

While platforms do many other things well, they don’t offer specialized features that focus on making your search shine. It’s a fact that visitors who use site search are more likely to convert. So if search is so important, shouldn’t you be paying more attention to it? When you’re looking at your platform’s site search, it’s important to ask a few questions to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.

Are your search results as relevant as they could be?

Advanced site search and navigation improve the quality of search results based on customer shopping behavior and click-throughs, re-ranking products based on popularity. Can it dynamically build SEO pages that continually update to reflect the most popular searches on your site? Pages like this can work toward improving your organic Internet search results rankings.

Are there opportunities for customization?

No two sites are alike, and search features should reflect that. It’s important to implement the features that will appeal to your customers, and make their experience on your site uniquely tailored to their shopping behavior. Don’t let a lack of innovation stifle your site’s growth.

Does your platform share the latest features and best practices with you?

The eCommerce landscape changes quickly and having the best features can make your site stand out from the rest. It’s beneficial to have a partner that understands industry best practices and suggests improvements to site features.

Do you have access to reports and analytics?

The reporting data you get from site search is filled with important insights that can help you understand your users and better target their needs. Having access to the top search terms, poor results and top converting pages can help you anticipate new trends or better promote the most popular search queries.

Does your platform have A/B testing?

Can you make fact-based decisions on the value of certain features, designs, or buttons? A/B and multivariate tests can produce surprising results, because not all customers behave in the same way. In some tests, we’ve seen conversion rates increase when using grid view, while others increase with list view. Since every site is different, you shouldn’t trust a general “rule” – but test it for yourself.

Do you have a dedicated, responsive customer support team?

Having a single point of contact can mean the difference between personalized, responsive service and being continually frustrated from lack of response. Making sure you have strong support will give you time to focus on other business priorities.

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then I’d suggest taking a good look at what your current site search is really providing you. A good site search will give fairly accurate results and have a few bells and whistles. A great site search will not only deliver relevant results, it will give you crucial insights into what drives your customers and actionable ways to proceed. Additionally, it shouldn’t be so overly complex that you won’t use it.

If you’d like a hassle-free solution and a solid team behind you to help you grow your site, give us a shout at discovery@sli-systems.com. We’d love to hear from you.

 

   

CSM of the Month – John Michael Santora on Vacation Rental Pros

Posted by John Santora, April 3rd, 2013 at 3:58 pm PST
Categories: Site Search | 2 Comments »
   

When you are looking for a vacation rental, there are certain specifications that you need or want. Location, the number of rooms, price and amenities are all ways that people describe what they want.

My goal when I worked with VacationRentalPros.com was to take their immense wealth of data for each rental listing and make sure their users could find, sort and refine through different listings. We implemented Learning Search and Rich Auto Complete onto Vacation Rental Pros’ site.

Vacation Rental Pros’ users most frequently search by location; queries like “St Augustine” and “Palm Coast” are common. We worked with them to understand how their data was structured and how we could reference it to ensure users were served results in the correct area and given the option to refine by adjoining neighborhoods.

The results sets we serve to users are focused and relevant. If a query matches a property attribute, such as “number of bedrooms” or “pet friendly”, users are only served properties with matching criteria. An accurate result set makes it easier for a user to become qualified. It prompts customers to narrow their results by price and availability – two factors inevitably on a user’s mind while making their purchasing decision. Secondary refinement options, like property rating, are also clear and visible.

vacation rental pros - pet friendly

 

Working with the team from VacationRentalPros.com was great; they gave me useful feedback on unanticipated search queries, which helped me understand what users might be searching for but not finding. With this information, we made modifications to our search to create more accurate results.

Part of the value of SLI is that while we give a client a very strong product out of the box, we believe in tailoring the search to meet our customers’ needs. Once the main features are set, the merchandising console gives our customers the tools to continue improving their site search and merchandising to make their site really work for them.

The Vacation Rental Pros team was very clear about what was important to them and what they wanted their users to see so we could give them the best end result. Because of the collaborative work of the team, site visitors will now see a streamlined site with well-organized information that leads them to their dream destination.

   

Non-Product Content for a Full User Experience

Posted by Shaun Ryan, February 27th, 2013 at 3:52 pm PST
Categories: Site Search | No Comments »
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For many, the process of shopping is social. While social media and online shopping continue to evolve, the essential act of gathering information or sharing our experiences with others is deeply embedded in our shopping behavior. Whether we’re telling our friends about how we like the new car we just bought, getting a recommendation on a particularly comfortable pair of shoes, or hearing about a sales clerk that was a little less than helpful, we enjoy informing others and getting their feedback.

At SLI we understand that, and have created many ways for online shoppers to gather information and share their experiences. We offer shoppers the ability to search non-product content, including reviews, video tutorials and video reviews, blogs, and social media mentions. Having the ability to see products from different angles, get a sense of scale or mechanics through videos, or read reviews builds credibility not only for the product, but for your site.

Making this non-product content available is important because it gives buyers access to information without having to do outside research, thus reducing risk and building confidence in their decision, all without leaving your site.

It’s not always easy to implement, however. Basic search functionality – like what we’ve seen with Google Commerce and some eCommerce platforms – may not allow for easy implementation of non-product content. More advanced site search solutions have this capability and allow you to expand your service offering.

Teaming up with a full-service site search provider can allow you to access a full range of tools to help your customers. It’s important to look for a knowledgeable support team that keeps you updated with data-driven insights about how your customers interact with your site.

I’d like to share with you a few of the ways we can help you improve your site with non-product content.

folica - user reviews2

Indexing Reviews

In the age of the Internet, we’ve become accustomed to easily-available reviews. For many purchases with high dollar values, it almost seems crazy not to read reviews before making a decision. Why not make reviews searchable, so that your users can find the products that are ranked most highly? Folica has done this well, so that within a search for “hair dryer”, products can be refined to show the highest-ranked hair dryers first.

Indexing Social Media, Images and Videos

In that same vein, why not show your customers other content that will help them make decisions? This can be videos that show reviews, tutorials or other helpful content. Here are three examples of very different SLI customers who are using these tools to great effect.

eyeslipsface- social indexEyeslipsface.com allows all social media mentions of their makeup and beauty products to be searchable, as well as an “As Seen In” tab showing the latest fashion magazines to have featured their products. Keyword queries will also turn up blogs with those keywords in them

motochanic - rossi helmet - instagram

 

 

 

 

Motochanic.com has led the pack with indexing Instagram photos on their search results pages. Now, searches for “Rossi helmet” will not only return all available helmets of that brand, but all Instagram photos with the same tag, and related videos tagged with the same keywords. There’s also a “Like” button for each product, to share across Facebook.

bulk reef supply - videos

BulkReefSupply.com also indexes their videos alongside product content. Customers interested in building a saltwater aquarium can find informational videos through search, thus establishing Bulk Reef Supply not only as a helpful site for buying products, but an educational resource.

 

 

 

Social Sharing on Search Pages

Of course, social sharing features are also important, as we’ve seen the ability to “Like”, “Pin It” and “Tweet” results on most sites. We add that same functionality to your search pages. On AntiqueJewelryMall.com, you can pin your favorite pieces on your Pinterest board. And on FTD.com, you can “Like” the bouquets and flower arrangements and give your friends (or your significant other) a clear hint about what you like.

antique jewelry mall - pinterest

FTD social media

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search on Social Media Pages

Lastly, some sites use their Facebook pages to drive customer traffic and transactions. Motorcycle Superstore is one that allows visitors to their Facebook page to search products directly, which takes them to a Facebook-specific search results page.

motorcycle superstore - FB2

motorcycle superstore FB2.1

Videos, reviews and other non-product content are all helpful tools that can be used to help customers find what they need and get enough information to make a purchase. Finding the right balance is different for every site. To find the right balance for your site, contact your Customer Success Manager or, email us at: discovery@sli-systems.com.

   

CSM of the Month: Ivan Cheung on Motochanic

Posted by Ivan Cheung, February 27th, 2013 at 3:51 pm PST
Categories: Site Search, Social Media | No Comments »
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I previously worked with my colleague, Freddy Jovel, to integrate Learning Search, Rich Auto Complete and Site Champion onto Motochanic’s site. But Motochanic’s team is innovative and came to us with a new idea – could we integrate Instagram photos into search pages?

Their current search indexed products on the main search page, and in another tab, they displayed all videos relevant to the keyword search. Videos are helpful when you’re trying to convey product information to users – seeing the product in action can help convey more easily the true size or fit of a product, or be a faster way to display various features. Now we would be adding Instagram photos to another tab.

I was excited to implement this new feature. I worked with our engineers and the Motochanic team to get access to their Instagram page and find the best design for the page. Now when you search a product, say Rossi helmet, for example, you’ll not only find Rossi helmets for sale and videos, you’ll also find a tab with all Instagram photos of the helmet.

motochanic - rossi helmet - instagram

Through the implementation process, we collaborated heavily on the design – originally we thought we’d mimic the Instagram layout with one large image, and have others available by scrolling down the page. However, we ultimately decided on a layout that would show many images above the fold. Adding Instagram photos is a great way for Motochanic to show their unique personality on the site, bring in product images and develop richer social interaction with their customers. On the social media front, we also added Facebook “Likes” on their search results pages, which is a great social sharing feature.

We’ve also added Quick View windows for all of our results tabs, including product, videos and Instagram images. In Quick View windows for products, we’ve built in an Add to Cart button so shoppers don’t need to click into the product detail page. By creating better efficiencies, we hope to help Motochanic increase their conversion rates. Additionally, customers can easily view videos from a Quick View window as well, reducing the number of pages they need to click before they can view helpful information.

Shopping behavior is different for everyone – if you have something specific in mind, using site search to find the exact product is the best way to go. If you don’t know what you want, you’re probably more inclined to browse. Let’s say you’re looking for a new jacket, but not sure which one – our refinements will help you shrink down your selection to the best products that match what you’re looking for. Our left navigation features allow shoppers to refine by whatever you like: category, brand, you name it! Motochanic also wanted to show current top sellers to the right of the results page and make them relevant to search terms or refinements used.

It’s been really fun working with the Motochanic team – they’re innovative, really responsive and have a deep desire to see their site full of great features to give their users a fantastic shopping experience.

Though I don’t ride motorcycles (yet), I am definitely interested in starting. What I really like about Motochanic’s site is that it’s easy to see the multiple styles and colors of helmets really quickly. Upon rolling over the various thumbnail images of available colors, the large image of the helmet changes, so you quickly see if you like it.

When I get my motorcycle, I know that Motochanic will be my first stop for finding the best gear and accessories.