5 Questions to ask when choosing an ecommerce search engine

Trying to find the right ecommerce search engine for your store? If you’ve been sifting through sales messaging and industry jargon in your search for the right solution, there’s a good chance you’re feeling more confused now than when you started.

To cut through the noise, focus on these key questions to evaluate how (and if) a particular shopping search engine can grow with your business and help your customers find what they’re looking for. 

1. Does this ecommerce search engine understand shopper intent? 

The most important capability a search engine should have is an understanding of shopper intent. This translates to features like: 

  • Semantic search: Your search bar should take into account the nuances in a search query to deliver relevant products for the user. Each word in a long-tail query should be understood to determine which is a product category and which are attributes. 
  • Measurement detection: Deciphering variations in measurements and other special characters is another important feature. Eg: will the search engine deliver the same results for 38”, 38in, 38 inch? 
  • Intelligent results: Your site search should immediately return the most relevant results for any given search term, and give you the ability to manually control and rearrange these results when needed. 

Bottom line, can this search engine understand the difference between a “dress shirt” and a “shirt dress,” and does it yield the correct results for the customer? What about the difference between a table, a lamp, and a table lamp? Sounds obvious, but it’s these simple nuances in shopper language and search terms that can throw your results into chaos if your search engine can’t make the distinction.

2. Does this shopping search engine give you merchandising controls? 

Once you’ve ensured this search engine can provide your customers with the correct results, the next step is to determine whether you can control those results. That is, can you boost certain products while hiding others? 

  • Display controls: Do you have the option to display the results in a way that is logical and aesthetically pleasing? Or perhaps by style, category, or price? Also ask yourself if you require a web developer to adjust product arrangement, or can you easily arrange them yourself, perhaps with a drag-and-drop capability? 
  • Boost rules: Are you able to boost or bury certain results based on your goals, reviews, conversion rates, or stock availability? 
  • Campaign scheduling: Can you coordinate your marketing campaigns with your search results? Can you promote certain products for a specified time period so that the user’s search results align with your current strategy? 

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