A Look Back … and Forward: Our Thoughts on What’s to Come in 2010 for Site Search

Posted by Shaun Ryan, January 20th, 2010 at 1:12 pm PST
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The past year saw continuous improvement in site search, particularly in the search interface. We rolled out Auto Complete to most of our clients, and we’re offering it as a standard feature for all new clients. We’ve made significant improvements to the way people can refine searches by color We’ve seen our customers add rich content types to their sites, and we’ve expanded our site search to incorporate this content – in particular, video and blogs. We’ve seen the increased adoption of ratings and reviews by our e-commerce customers, and the integration of that information into search.

In addition, we’ve added even more features to our merchandising controls, and introduced training webinars to help educate our customers on how to leverage these tools. And at the end of 2009, we introduced Learning Search with AJAX, our AJAX-powered site search.

So what’s in store for 2010? As e-commerce and other content-rich sites continue to focus on delivering a superior visitor experience, and as many marketers incorporate social media into their marketing strategy, we believe this year’s new developments will focus on features like mobile search, video, and the addition of Twitter (and possibly Facebook) feeds in search results.

We expect to see more people using our Learning Search with AJAX, and we expect to fine-tune that product as more customers start to use it.

2010: the Year of Mobile, Video and Social

Research shows that people are spending more time using smart phones and mobile devices to surf the web – and also shop. Given that, online retailers and other informational sites will need to devote resources to not only make sure that their site design suits the mobile platform, but that their site search works for mobile browsing as well. We think this will be a key area of innovation in the coming year.

We also think video will play a greater role online – particularly for e-commerce, because conversions dramatically increase when product videos are viewed. The growing use of video means that video should also be played up more in site search – whether it’s video icons next to items in site search results, or video banners for particular keyword searches on search results pages.

Finally, with the popularity of social media to increase brand visibility and improve customer loyalty, we see companies doing more to highlight their social media efforts – particularly with corporate blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook activities – on their corporate web sites. We’ve recommended in the past that companies incorporate social media content into site search results, and we believe we’ll see more of this in 2010. Incorporating this content in site search gives potential buyers more information with which to make educated decisions about what to purchase.

Ecommerce Podcast Highlights Successful Online Retail Strategies

Last year, we launched the Ecommerce Podcast series, in which we interview ecommerce sales and marketing executives and talk to them about their strategies for building their online businesses. By the end of 2009, we posted 21 interviews with ecommerce experts from such companies as Internet Retailer, Title Nine, Shop.org, Century Novelty and Interflora UK. In addition, we interviewed key ecommerce industry analysts, including Susan Aldrich from Patricia Seybold Group, and Brian Walker from Forrester. Some of our more popular interviews were downloaded up to 1,500 times.

As we continue the podcast series in the coming year, we’d like to know who you’re interested in hearing from. Have a suggestion for an ecommerce business or executive you’d like us to interview? Email your suggestions to newsletter@sli-systems.com

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