Given the wide range of tools and plug-ins available, implementing basic site search functionality for your eCommerce store is simple enough. But as consumer expectations evolve and the eCommerce landscape becomes more competitive, a standard product search feature can add unwanted time and effort into the customer journey.
According to a recent study, 70% of consumers utilizing an online store’s search box were presented with irrelevant products. For eCommerce merchants seeking higher engagement, conversions, and sales, it’s time to do away with legacy product search solutions, and replace them with intelligent, user-friendly functionality that gives customers what they want, when they want it.
As an eCommerce and UX design agency, Codal helps retailers optimize their online shopping experience by recommending and implementing best-in-breed technologies. And since site search plays such an important role in the customer journey, we often recommend Searchspring to our clients.
In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of leveraging Searchspring for your online store—and how Codal’s partnership with Searchspring has helped us achieve success for our clients. But first, let’s look at the history of on-site search, and why products like Searchspring are so important in the current eCommerce environment.
The evolution of search algorithms
In the early days of eCommerce, search products were powered by algorithms trained to match keywords. For example, the user enters “red long-sleeve t-shirt,” and the algorithm searches its database for every product with the keywords “red,” "long,” “sleeve,” and “t-shirt” in the title.
While this may be enough to get the job done in certain cases, it doesn’t offer advanced enough results for today’s average consumer. For instance, if the product contains any of those keywords in its description, but not the title, it won’t show up. And if the user accidentally enters a typo, it won’t show up either. This limited functionality would deliver poor search results to users, causing them to stop relying on the search box altogether.
To facilitate simpler product navigation for the customer, search algorithms needed to start utilizing natural language processing (NLP). With artificial intelligence and machine learning, the algorithm can better understand human language as it’s written, leading to higher product awareness. So when a customer enters “red long-sleeve t-shirt,” the algorithm breaks that search up into layers. In this case, “T-shirt” is the product type and the other keywords are modifiers.
Today, customers expect personalized shopping experiences, which means search algorithms must dig even deeper to understand what the end user is truly looking for. Personalization involves saving and leveraging both real-time and historical user data in order to display tailored product recommendations, promotions, and—you guessed it—search results.
Let’s say a customer visits your retail website and purchases a Nike product—then, the next time they visit your site, they use the search bar to shop for running shoes. A modern search tool with personalization functionality can recognize that customer’s brand affinity and automatically display Nike shoes at the top of their search results.
In other words, the customer should feel like the site was made for them. It’s no longer just about matching keywords—it’s about presenting the right products to the right customers at the right time. Moreover, research shows that 83% of online shoppers are willing to share their data with brands in exchange for a personalized experience.
“Merchants often lack the control needed to curate products and personalize them to shoppers on an individual level. Searchspring solves these challenges by providing merchandisers with the ability to change where and how their products appear through layered merchandising tools, intelligent and personalized search, and product recommendations. Our platform gives merchants the ability to track their customer’s affinities and tailor their shopping experiences to be both relevant and personal, all while supporting a streamlined and enjoyable site experience.” - Nicole Kappner, Platform Partner Manager, Searchspring
Codal partners with Searchspring to help our clients deliver the highest level of personalization to their customers. Here are the key benefits of a Searchspring implementation:
- A powerful no-code platform: Searchspring offers an intuitive dashboard, where merchants can manage and configure their site’s search navigation settings, without having to write any code.
- Ecommerce focused: Unlike general search tools, Searchspring is designed specifically for eCommerce websites.
- Real-time personalization: The Searchspring algorithm automatically stores customer data—from browsing activity to geographical location—then uses that data to personalize the content that that user is engaging with in real time.
- Product merchandising: The platform gives merchants total control over what products their customers see by establishing custom rules and conditions, enabling them to run campaigns and promote certain products more effectively.
- Insights and reporting: Searchspring users can see their site’s search data through a clear, user-friendly dashboard, promoting more informed UX decisions and updates over time.
Case study: Personalized online shopping in the outdoor retail space
Codal recently planned and executed a top-to-bottom eCommerce transformation for GOREWEAR—a leading manufacturer and retailer of outdoor gear for climbers, runners, and cyclists.
When designing and developing the brand’s new online store, personalization was a top priority from the start. We needed to integrate search and navigation functionality that could promote the best products, based on the wants and needs of individual customers. Enter Searchspring.
Our team recommended and helped implement Searchspring for GOREWEAR, giving the brand more control over its path to purchase. Ultimately, our partnership with Searchspring enabled us to deliver an online shopping experience that adrenaline junkies and weekend warriors love.
Since launching the new site a few months ago, GOREWEAR has experienced stronger customer engagement across its online storefronts—and in particular, a 26% increase in conversions for customers using search.
Exceed customer expectations with data-driven navigation tools and UX design
Codal is proud to work with industry-leading technology providers like Searchspring to craft powerful eCommerce solutions that are built to scale.
"Codal has been a long-time strategic partner of Searchspring, and it's fantastic to see the growth we have been able to accomplish together throughout our partnership. We love working with the entire Codal team, as they have an uncanny ability to take very complex problems and create extremely manageable and streamlined solutions. This has been shown time and time again with the projects we have worked together on. It also speaks to the impactful results our mutual clients have experienced." - Thomas Turley, Director of Partnerships, Searchspring
Like all of our eCommerce partners, our relationship with Searchspring is built on trust. We know they can deliver top-tier search functionality for our clients, and they know we can deliver data-driven UX/UI design that enables users to maximize the value of their product. In 2022, Codal was recognized as Searchspring’s BigCommerce Partner of the Year because of the groundbreaking work our team produced for GOREWEAR and other BigCommerce merchants.
If you’d like to learn more about how to drive conversions for your eCommerce site via personalized search and navigation, get in touch with Codal today!