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Fine Tune Site Search in Time for Black Friday

5 Ways Fine-Tune Your Site Search so Shoppers Find Your Top Deals
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Black Friday in neon; Text: Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content


– Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content – On September 14th at 12pm EDT / 9am PDT Searchspring hosted a 1-hour live webinar featuring an expert panel from Atelier Commerce, GoBot and Searchspring to discuss 5 ways to fine-tune your site search so shoppers find your top deals.

Often overlooked as everyone prepares for Black Friday are some of the simplest optimizations. Sure, driving a bunch of traffic to your site is great, but why aren’t they converting? 

Did you know that 70% of searches are unable to return relevant results and 26% of searches end up on a 0-results page? Crazy right? Meanwhile, searchers are 8-10 times more likely to purchase than a regular site visitor. Holiday shoppers want to move fast. If they can’t find the products they came looking for, they’re going to bounce over to your competitors. 

This webinar was part 3 of our 5-part BFCM webinar series designed to help you prepare for each step along the way. In this session, we talked about how to optimize your site search ahead of Black Friday / Cyber Monday by diving into the following areas:

  1. Assessing your 0-result and irrelevant result pages
  2. Delivering hyper-relevant ecommerce search results
  3. Boosting and demoting products based on reviews, conversion rate, or margin
  4. Personalizing cross-sell and upsell recommendations and trending products

Ready to optimize your site search results? Watch the on-demand video today!


Want even more tips to #WinBlack Friday? Check out the Searchspring Black Friday Content Hub.


Welcome, everyone. So, happy to have you join us for today’s webinar, focused on e-commerce site search. Specifically, we’re going to talk about ways to fine tune, your site search, to increase checkout, and especially important as we begin to head on into Black Friday.


We want to really talk about this, sort of the tip of the sphere as it comes to product discovery, and that is site search. My name is Jason Ferrara, I’m the CMO at Searchspring, and I’ll be your moderator for this webinar today.


So just a quick bit uncertain spring, so you understand who we are and where we’re coming from. You know, our focus is really on shopper experience because we know what it’s like. We all know what it’s like to shop online and not find what you want.


People hate that. Right? And they, and they leave, they leave a site. And, you know, the wind shoppers leave, oftentimes they don’t come back. So at Searchspring, you know. We know that merchants want the control to drive that experience. And that’s really what we’re helping our merchants provide that control for site search, product merchandising, and personalization.


So really excited to be hosting the webinar today. This is the third webinar in our Black Friday series. So we’ve got fine tune, your your site search today.


We’ve got an October webinar and a November webinar, if you haven’t signed up for those, or you’d like to, certainly can do so, here I am, hello talking to you from my, from my home office, and I’m excited to be joined by our two expert panelists today. We’ve got Michael and Max jet, so you can turn on your, your video, if you’d like. I’d like you to introduce yourselves. You’ll do a better job than, than I would do read his bio of yours. So, Michael, why don’t we start with you, and then we’ll jump right into Max, Yeah. Hi. There thank you so much for having me today. My name is Michael McBride. I head up. I’m a partner at Atelier Commerce. What’s going? Digital Design Labs. We’re really passionate about growing our clients and helping them succeed in the online space. That really starts with design build and maintain.


And it ends up with marketing services, including Searchspring, which we love.


Great. Thank you. And Max, how about you?


Everyone. Thanks, Jason.


My name is Max Ronai, and I’m the CEO of Gobot.


For the Guided Shopping, Quis Platform, for e-commerce brands.


Quizzes are essentially a form of product search, right, just a bit more conversational and needs based.


So I spend a lot of time working with product search data.


If you’ve interacted with a product recommendation quiz on a store before, You might have encountered a experience that go about power. So looking forward to chatting with you.


Thank you. And guys, just a little housekeeping before we get, or we get started. So here’s our agenda today. Pretty simple, three topics. We’re gonna do some audience polls. It’s just a really great way for the three of us to understand who’s, who’s in the listening audience.


Level said, help us, direct conversation, a little bit like that. So we’ll do some polls. We’ll have a panel discussion, most of that will use the polls as a jumping off spot, that I’ve prepared some.


Some questions, and then, questions from the audience.


You know, if you’re out there, and you have questions about optimizing site search, questions about your, your e-commerce experience, questions about the lead up to Black Friday, This is the great spot to do this, Michael, and Max, to have a ton of experience with that. So that’s our agenda today.


I also want to introduce Charles sommers.


He is behind the scenes here. He’s our producer. You may hear me ask him for it to do something. And I may say, Charles, that’s who he is. So, like, for example, right now, Charles, let’s move on to that first poll. That would be great, and this is our little audience participation opportunity.


So, how far along are you in your 2022 Black Friday planning?


So, have you not started yet about quarter of the way there, half, three quarters of the way there, or you’re done planning and ready to execute? I see the results coming in, now. It’s how it’s funded.


See that real time Fast and furious. Everybody’s on top at this first poll. It’s nice, nice to see.


Slowing down a little bit here, Charles, so we’ve got, yep, I think we’re good.


Alright, so here are our results. So Michael and Max, maybe make a little note of this, how far along are you in your planning. So, we got started 42%, about quarter of the way they’re 28%, and then, you know, 50 and 75, we see relatively equal, as compared to that hadn’t started and quarter the way done, so, we’re definitely going to come back to that. This is an important part of our conversation. Why don’t we move to poll number two?


Alright, poll number two: What kind of site search tool are you using today? So we’ve got a free search plugin, native platform search, premium tool, or you don’t have searched.


Get answers or responses are pouring in. I’d love to see it.


The behind the scenes look at it. All here is pretty cool, OK?


Let’s see, Let’s see, Charles, I think we’re about there.


Oh, looks like a premium search tool is leading the pack, then native, and then free plugin. Very few people don’t have a search tool, so that’s that’s great. That sounds good. We’ll use this as we, as we talk about optimization, of search tools moving forward. And then we’ll go to poll number three.


What percentage of searches on your site are returning irrelevant results, less than 20%, 20 to 40, 41 to 60, more than 60.


Or I’m not sure, irrelevant search results.


Alright, Charles, I think we’re about done there.


All right. So it looks like, I’m not sure. Great, great answer, actually, I appreciate the honesty, and certainly something that we’ll dig into during this session, Less than 20%, 20 to 40%, I think, is a great, real nice, honest look at what we think about what’s happening on our site. And then let’s go the last poll here. Charles Poll number four. What percentage of searches on your site end up in zero results page? Like zero results happen when somebody searches. Less than 10%, 10 to 20, 21 to 30, greater than 30.


And I’m not sure I suppose that’s down there, too. I don’t wanna leave that one out.


Yep, And I think we’re almost there, Charles.


Looks good. Why don’t we end that one as well? Alright, so similar. I’m not sure carrying the majority of that 53. Almost the exact same numbers, here, less than 10%, and 10 to 20, so thank you for that, I think we’re going to start Will will unlock the whole discussion section now?


Because I want to, guys, I want to dig into a couple of specific things.


First of all, how far along are you in Black Friday planning? I’d like to touch on that. That’s sort of the umbrella topic here that we want to talk about.


We’ve got 42% of the respondents say they haven’t started 27%, or about a quarter of the way there. So, reaction to that, Michael, you had a smile on your face there. I’m gonna start with you based on your facial expression.


It’s suddenly we’re used to seeing, you know, marketing is really kind of evolved a bit so that it’s not planned out so far in advance. So, don’t panic too much, I’d say, you know, figure out what needs to be done and then prioritize and work against it.


Figure out where your biggest results will be. Concentrate on those, and just task it out, and it’s all too. Oh, no.


So I’d say it’s not to worry some, I’d say you should be, get on it, But, you know, it’s not the end of the world.


Get on it, but don’t worry about it. Max, what do you, what do you say?


Luckily, automation is more a factor than I think it ever has been specifically with planning out, no flow e-mail flows and scheduling your discounts and essentially everything that construct, so your Black Friday campaigns.


So, you got time, but don’t take too much more time, because we’re, again, we’re getting there, but you’ll be OK.


And so when we talk about prep for Black Friday, because my guess is that, if, if I were to answer this question, if I were in the audience I or to answer, answer this question, I’m answering it with, with some idea in mind, Right.


So what does it mean to you guys to be preparing and planning for Black Friday?


What does that, what does that mean? It might preparing and planning specific campaigns.


Am I like, stress testing my tech stack, like, what is it that I need to be preparing for? I don’t know if, you know, people have different perceptions of what that might mean.


Yeah, we kinda make sure that we’re doing a deeper dive on those that we have ongoing retainer for, for, like, site a site audit, and, you know, make sure nothing’s broken, and start to look at those analytics behind what, you know, needs. Attention fixing. You know, Kinda just triaging like you an ER. and then, but, also, at the same time, running a parallel Know to strategize how to get around those issues after we identify them, So.


Um, No, really, kind of, small. We do a multi-pronged approach. So it’s really difficult to speak a, you know, too much detail to each one, but definitely.


It’s doable, especially if you have your track record from last year, and you know what went well, what didn’t go well, double down on, on, what didn’t go well.


More common.


Got it. OK, and Max, how about you? What’s What’s, What does, What do we have to plan for, Like, what are we planning for?


Yes. As Michael said, it’s definitely a multi-pronged approach.


but I think a topic here that that perhaps will be most interesting is how kinda go about stress testing Search before before Black Friday, because it’s something that we’ve gone through quite a bit. And.


We we see a lot of data around Search on our end.


So a few insights here that I thought might be interesting to share, just generally speaking about Prepping served for Black Friday, making sure that everything’s a one for through that stressful period.


You know, we, we track millions of monthly searches across a few hundred brands we partner with.


So there’s, there’s a few, what I would call, really important search trends that lead to, I guess, you can call them either or relevant search results, which, it’s a bit of a nightmare or or zero results, which could be even worse.


So the first thing that comes to mind when I think about what we go about testing is essentially misspellings, abbreviations, symbols, and slane, great.


These are all super common ways people search, and you need some type of way to track where your shopper searches way. other, they do. So it’s important for your site search that account for this.


There’s a few other thematic types of searches that come to mind, like either talk to them now or a bit down the road.


Jason, as we speak about different ways of stress testing search.


Um, yeah, let’s let’s hold that real quick.


Because I did want to I want to just make a couple of points in the in the things that you’ve said here about am I am I prepared I haven’t started my prep and my planning and that sort of thing one is you both Have a very calm confidence when you say it’s not too late, but start, right. Right. So I think that’s important is this notion of hey, I gotta be calm.


By the way, just for everybody in the audience, I just wrote a note. I meant to write the word calm and what I did, I wrote the word. So, everybody can, Everybody can enjoy that. Enjoy that, saying that I just did here, that nobody can see.


And so, so be calm about it, too, is, I think, this concept of a site audit is important.


Which is probably around understanding the, the important flows, or how my site works, to make sure that I, that I have that mapped out.


Uh, two would be track record from last year, I think that’s important. What, what is, what has been in my history. And where was I last year? Where do I want to go this year? I think that’s really important. If you don’t have that, then, like, what do I do to build that this year?


And then I think stress testing search maxes your, is your point here I definitely want to get into that because I think you’re right.


This is the this is the this is the tip of the spear, this product discovery the search that I’m using. So that’s really great, really great topic. So let’s, let’s jump into that.


We talk here, we had a poll question about irrelevant results when we a poll question about zero results.


So, um, a majority of the people in both questions said, I’m not sure in terms of how many irrelevant results and how many, zero results. So.


the main, the first question I have is, how do we know? How do we know if I’m throwing irrelevant results for zero results, max, and you’re nodding your head, so why don’t you start with that, with that question there, how do we know?


Yeah, absolutely. So I mentioned before, you know, stuff like misspellings and abbreviations, slang and symbols. You just get up, put yourself in the shoes of the customer.


And essentially, test out your own search to look at your product titles, product names, try to make a best guess as to how folks might be typing in your products, or better yet tracking that.


So you can add to your research beforehand.


But another thing that comes to mind is that we see a lot of a lot of search data, essentially, and we see general themes around how how shoppers search three main themes that don’t really tend to be accounted for too much.


I’ll speak to here.


one is kind of what I call symptomatic searches.


So, like, say, for example, you sell, call windows, right?


And somebody searches for Drafty Windows because they have well, Drafty Windows. Yeah, I know this happened to me last year, so happened to me.


It’s, it’s the symptom, right?


So this type of search frequently doesn’t return relevant or any results.


So it’s important that that’s accounted for.


Um, another is kind of what I think of as thematic search terms, right?


So it’s, it’s common for shoppers to use these more thematic search terms, like calling it casual, dress, right to search for products.


The problem though, is that many brands don’t really categorize their products that way.


For example, you might just refer to your casual dresses. By their literal product names, Right. In which case, it wouldn’t appear if somebody searches for a casual dress in your site search.


So it’s important to account for that.


And the last thing that comes to mind in terms of search patterns that are frequently catered to that from the data that we see on our end is what I’ll refer to as exact searches, right.


So if, if you’re required your Shoppers to search your use terms that directly match product type jargon, on your site to pull in relevant results, it could be a big problem.


Like, for example, say you sell furniture.


I know in Oregon, just by way of example, we see a situation where front of furniture brand, if you type in sofa, it pulls up hundreds of result and couch and we pull up a few.


stuff like this is surprisingly common.


Another situation is, if you take them like a serial or model number, it frequently does not pull up the relevant product.


Also common, so just a few kind of thematic or different types of searches that that unfortunately aren’t accounted for and are pretty common.


Yeah, so it sounds.


So, it sounds a little bit like you’ve got, in the female, in that exact searches section, you’ve got an opportunity for synonyms, right? Sofa and cattle are synonyms. That’s, that’s up to the merchant to figure that out because it might not come from the manufacturer. for example.


Michael, thoughts on?


I guess, the first, the first question I would have is, how do I know that I have irrelevant results or, or, no, results that are being that are being shown, what I’m what I’m searching.


You’re going to want to look at your, your analytics, you’re gonna look at your bounce rate, your exit, where people are leaving and why.


Um, That would be kind of my first, you know, in certain platforms. Like search, where you can actually see the data. So, you can see, you know, result searches, and you can, you know, to kind of adjustments and whatnot around that.


So, those are, it’s really low hanging fruit, and kind of what we, we look at is, is a hyper relevant in that experience.


And so, if you’re not, if people are getting that zero result page, or they’re not getting the right result, then you’re not getting hyper relevant result, and that we find, affects your, your Google rankings as well.


Would you would you explain? Would you define hyper relevance for us?


So, hyper relevant, actually plays into one of our favorite, know, things that you can do, and kind of like getting double duty out of the lift that you would do to rollout search, being like, really effective way. Because those can be leveraged for your Google Shopping campaigns or any other platform. Really. And. And so as it relates to, like hyper relevant, you want to offer what customers looking for.


And so like let’s say, your bedding company and you sell days and you, you have different weight, you have different sizes, but you also want people to be able to look at dimensions, fill power. Like what’s the What’s the fabric? Does somebody want, you know, somebody with silicon or do they want cotton? You know, it’s there all these additional facets.


So being able to utilize a faceted search that’s above and beyond, from a functionality perspective, creates that hyper relevant result.


And then, like I said, one of our favorite things is, being able to double, you know, use that, that data double duty and make your your site and your shopping results even more relevant at the same time.


Started, you know, thank you for that. So, I think, you know, one of the things that, it’s so if you have a product that you use on, if I’m looking at my poll, our polls here, we’ve got 72% of the people on listeners are using a premium tool.


Just, I’m going to make the assumption that that premium tool has some sort of zero results report, and maybe even a report that was curated to be an irrelevant report, like whereof, I type something in and what came up there.


But if I’m if I’m not using that, you know, how do I find out Max you talked about symptomatic searches, for example, or thematic searches. How do I find out that that’s going on and how do I find out what, what’s, what’s coming up, when somebody searches.


That, know, it’s, it’s interesting from my perspective, we work with quiz data quite a bit, because quizzes are, in some way, a, a site search.


Just slightly different.


We find that quiz data is actually directly applicable for Site Search, because we unlock patterns, and how customers are searching for products that we can directly translate, to improve improving merchandising rules.


And even from a more holistic CRO perspective, because we we uncover ways that shoppers are trying to browse your site, but they aren’t really able to work, which is why they resort to a more conversational experience.


Um, So, that’s kind of a lens, I’m thinking through this.




And we frequently do all the time on our, Yep. And so it’s, so, it is that it is a different type of experience and you’re offering that kind of additional experience. Helps me as I go into product discovery.


Before we move on to the next questions that I have here, I just want to mention that if you’re, if you’re listening in today, we do have that Q&A section. So, if you’ve got the interface open, there’s a question section. Feel free to type in your questions for Michael and Max. And I will ask them, and they will answer them. So we will, we’ll do our best to get to that. OK, so there are.


We talked a little bit about hyper relevancy, so let’s move on from this irrelevant, zero search results.


I’m sure we’ll loop back to it at some point, but I think we’ve got some, we’ve got some nice ways to identify what might be driving that, and then how to go, how to find out that that’s there, even if you don’t have a specific report there.


I’d like to go back to this hyper relevant results section, so I want to talk a little bit about how to, how can make, Huh, build a hyper relevant search, how to make, How do we make our e-commerce sites more, and more relevant, and how that drive search forward. So, Michael, maybe you can talk a little bit about when you’re working with your clients.


You’re thinking about their search behavior, how to make that super, you know, hyper relevant. How do you do that? You, you talked about product with lots of assets. But, like, what are some of the specifics that you you do to put in place to make something hyper relevant?


Well, there’s a lot of research we do, first and foremost. So that starts with looking at, you know, their line. What does it offer? Looking at competitors?


Where else do they sell? And what’s being done well on those sites or not?


And then we do good or good old-fashioned, like Google Search, and see what people are searching and see what the results are, and then kind of, reverse engineer.


that, kind of, overall, and so, it’s looking at, you know, other industry peers.


It’s looking at their current products, kind of trying to take that initiative to push their experience further.


We’ve been able to do, some, like, you know, search by color there.


You know, we’re gonna interact with the drag drop interface, like by the same color blue, would actually, you know, go through Tones of Blue. We’ve done things like search by or, like, or shop, by birth stone.


Which, you know, you can do all kinds of additional facets, but you really need to know above and beyond just looking at that experience and what is being done and what’s not.


Yeah, identify what’s important to that consumer. So, if you have a hair, Caroline, like when we’re working on right now, you know, and the end consumer is concerned that the product packaging is recyclable that it’s vegan and cruelty free. All of these, kinda, is it for frizzy, or curly too? If you want to have here, is it for curly hair? Is it for thick error? is a fine here and these kinds of things.


And so you want to identify not only how what our other products categorized, but you want to hybridize that with some additional kind of intuition to dig in and deliver that better experience.


Max, thoughts on? Thoughts on drive and paper relevancy in, in searches?


Yeah, from my perspective, the first thing that I typically think of, is synonyms.


Are common terms, synonyms for common terms, that folks might be searching.


That’s huge, that needs to be accounted for.


You’d be surprised by the number of different ways, shoppers, search for the same product. So that’s a really big thing.


Something else that should be accounted for, 100% is plurals.


Um, I’m consistently surprised by how frequently plurals of different terms, are not accounted for in site search, and, unfortunately, have dramatically that ends up impacting the results.


Another thing I would I would do, that we frequently do when we’re trying to make our site search better specifically for Black Friday would be create some kind of spreadsheet and add columns for the three types of searches I mentioned earlier, one being those symptomatic searches that the drafty window example, two being the, the more thematic searches, right. The casual dress example.


And three being the exact search is very like the couch for self with disparity and the serial number examples, you know, once that’s created, brainstorm a bunch of examples of each type of search.


Search your site, using each term, that you just brainstorm it and see how relevant the results are.


Lot of times, forensic work, with, go up into this, optimistically. I didn’t realize, you know, shoot, I’m, I’m actually not catering to a lot of different ways shoppers are searching for, for these products.


Those are the main things that we do.


So, this makes me that, here’s a, here’s an unplanned question.


I just, I just had the thought that, how much time would both of you recommend that a merchant spend thinking about their search.


Um, going through these, looking at competitors and the products, and going through Google and brainstorming search and thinking about synonyms and plurals, that’s a lot of work.


How much, how much time needs to be spent doing that, or how consistently does it need to be done?


Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’d say don’t overwhelm yourself. You gotta like, I think the word, it’s shrunk it down, so you need, I would say, concentrate on a category of products. So if, let’s say, you know, we’ll go with the bedding scenario. Let’s say, we’re going to stick with your downfield, you know, kind of dumb, comforters device. Whatever you start working on, that, a lot of times we create.


No, The sheet is like a worksheet that we kind of get the, you know, our clients to fill in a reef restart filling in. That starts to build that product data. And then it just, if we can kinda bring it down from such an insurmountable task to something actionable.


So, it’s, it’s, I would say, depending on your product catalog, it’s very, no open and wide. Also, how awesome site experience do you want to deliver? But the most important thing I’d say is, work on something. Do something. Don’t just not do something, because you want to do it. Perfect.


Perfection is a moving target, and perfect isn’t perfect these days, So, just work on providing that better experience.


And, you know, I wish I could tell you, like, uh, no an amount of time to spend on it.


It, uh, it’s one of those things that it’s a glorious rabbit hole. You start to think about one way that the shopper is coming in and their experience. And then it opens up another door and you just start to get to expand on that knowledge and you’re just by the time you’re coming out on the other side of it, you’re providing this absolutely incredible experience.




I was wondering why I asked Max Max, your thoughts on, you know, amount of time spent here are getting dialed in.




I’ll take kind of a cautious optimist approach, which is, you know, I look at data all day from a bunch of brands and, you know, a bunch of their shoppers, your search for products and, you know, consistently.


one of the biggest revenue driving cohorts is shoppers’ through search.


Right there, it’s a high intent cohort that needs to be catered to.


So, at the very minimum, experimenting with increasing the conversion rate associated with your search results, it’s almost always worth it, but definitely needs to be catered to.


Looks like I’m done, is that we have a good statistic there. You know, when we’ve had no implemented, an effective search strategy, we see like, a four X conversion.


Yeah, no.


And also, the A of the value, so, what people are spending goes up out the same, you know, and that’s in our experience, which is definitely a sliding scale, But, know, those are, you know, we look at things as a cost. And, you know, you’re looking at bringing in your, your ad spend from, you know, tiktok, Instagram, you know, Facebook, Google, et cetera. And you’re paying for that traffic, but it’s so easy to lose that traffic.


So, it’s an important, spend a lot, 100%, right? Let’s take it down to Earth for a second, right?


Like we, Just to humanize it if you were to walk into a retail shop and products were all over the ground and you can find what you’re looking for, you know, How long did stick around, right? You want an organized experience?


Preferably with somebody who can help you find what you’re looking for, Fetch it online equivalent.


And I want to highlight on that is, Big Brother is always watching. So Google really cares about the experience. So they are watching to see. I mean, if you don’t have Google Analytics or Google Search Console or any of that, installed enough shame that you should have an install.


I know Google wants to make sure that you’re providing an awesome experience, so they monitor that.


They look at how many pages that user is viewing on site.


How how many, or how often, or how much time are they spending two, they come back.


So it’s important you provide that awesome experience.


It’s not just like, we have a search tool, or we talk, or whatever. Are you providing an awesome experience?


And And that also will increase your rankings across the board, because when you’re showing those signals back to Google, you’re showing that you have great on page content, Great experience. You know, you’re only going to continue to improve your rankings.


And Google’s always looking at bounce rate, right? So if you’re trying to optimize your SEO and look in the eyes of Google, makes your bounce rate is getting lower as low as possible. And consistently, across almost every brand new work with good site search dramatically reduces that.




Yeah, absolutely.


Don’t do a tiny video like search thing at the top. Make it prominent.


Yeah. So this is really great.


There’s a so Kramer Gender’s, who’s listening in, and the audience right now has just asked a question, and it’s really it totally is aligned with this conversation.


The question is, users who search on our site convert at a much higher rate than those that do not, so ideal sentence, We could end the webinar there.


But the question is, do you have ideas or suggestions on how I can increase the number of visitors who use search?


What Michael just said is, Neon has me on, in your color palette. Can we do, you know, my, my partner cow, you know, who’s hopefully watching, you know, is that he would be like, use an 84.5 and flashing lights. Yeah, update your brand deck.


Yeah, exactly. So make, make, the search sites, hard for me to say, make the site search more prominent is one of the, is one of our, is one of our tips here, right. Make it bigger, basically.


Any, any, anything else on how to, like, really steer? People, drive people into making that search?


The alternative is you get an either a high abandonment rate and, or a huge, an influx to your customer support team.


Make your site search more prominent.


People are your highest value. Customers are looking for products, help them.


You can even utilize Search fascinating as it relates to doing e-mail marketing, or any other kind of marketing, really. So let’s say we’ve done, one of the best things that we’ve done in the past for Search Spring was color.


And when you’re working with a brand that doesn’t have a thousand styles, but they do have, there are no court, like, six products, and 100 plus colors. You’re really going to need to have some kind of a color search.


But what we found was really awesome is, we can do, like, a French yellow. We can do, you know, an Indian summer. We do some kind of, like, totally, like, a brownish color. We can create this kind of this power and a thematic map, excuse me, a thematic search, based on color, Because that was their bread and butter.


And so we can do an e-mail and do different buttons and calls to action like Search, you know, French Yellow merchandise, everything French shallow from apparel to accessories to home, and it’s really an experience.


And so, you know, if you are, know, it’s one thing to assert it, to install it and optimize it. But you can’t use it to market. You Gotta use it in your e-mail campaigns. You’ve got to tell people that, you have this awesome search, you know. You can highlight that.


So, I’ve got another question here related to what you just said. So Kelly Foundation says, asks, how does number of products impact how much effort and time you put into search? Maybe a couple of examples. For example, our catalog is about 130 products. So how much can I really break it all down?


So I think, Michael, you know, your point there is, are there ways to think about your catalog, but you may not be thinking about it today with all the different, so, it’s any, any other suggestions or recommendations there?


I don’t know what I would bucket it out.


I would bucket it out into different categories, and then I would do your research based on that category and then kinda look at, what are the, the ways that people need to search for this, or if it’s learnings, I stick with linens today, sorry. But let’s do, like, let’s say, thread count. Like if somebody’s looking for duvet  they’re looking for this, like, what are they looking for?


And you probably have a good idea, know, in the back, hear, your brain, you know, in the back your mind that you gotta just dig out. What do people ask you when you’re searching? What do they call you and ask you to do?


But I’d say, if I were to research, let’s just say, I’ll just pull it out of thin air, three related categories. So let’s say you’ve got, you know, down batting. You’ve got pillows, and you’ve got sheets. I’d say you’ve got three categories. They’re somewhat related.


I would probably myself, spend 8, 10 hours overall researching and then working on creating a schematic for no data to be added is custom mita per product, and then, you know, roll it out to search facets eventually.


I’d say 8 to 10 hours of research a little bit of time. Maybe. you have somebody that can help you on data entry. I don’t know how intense and how many facets you have. So let’s say you don’t have a ton of assets. It’s 4 to 6 hours data entry, then, you’ve gotta just get that into your site, and then loop in search Bring, or whatever your, your search partner is to start working on, showing that in offering that hyper relevant search.


Maps, Yep.


And the beauty of merchandising rules is that they’re automated, right. So as long as you have your product data, in a search platform, you can set up automated rules that make it significantly easier to do this merchandising.


Alright, So it’s not, it’s not like the old days when you have to manually merchandise everything. It ticked up, that, used, to take forever.


So using some type of more automated merchandizing platform to, to take that burden off your team, it just makes it significantly easier. And, you know, there’s, just to build on something Michael said earlier, there’s an interesting overlap between customer support and site search.


In fact, to some extent, you should have conversations with your support team to try to ask them, what are the main types of questions that you’re getting all the time, and how can we translate that into an optimized site search, so that you don’t keep on getting asked these questions, 24 7.




We consistently see situations where brands keep getting asked the same types of questions over and over again, and the support groups are asking themselves, why is this not more obvious? But unfortunately, there’s a disconnect.


There isn’t enough communication between support team and the ecomm team and from my perspective, there needs to be a lot more of that if you want to cater to shoppers better.


Yeah. Yeah.


Go ahead, Michael.


I just said it’s important that we hear the questions at the end consumers is asking definitely open it up to that first line of defense or your customer support team and ask them.


Also, I challenge you further like figure out how to build some automations and cut down on all the extra requests that they get, you know, and get the customer responses faster.


OK, so so an answer to Kelly’s question, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got 130 products, it sounds like there are a couple of answers there. one is, do some research on those products and the competitors and the competitive sites and that sort of thing.


two is uncover the, the hidden facets, and maybe they’re not hidden, but you don’t think about them all the time, so colors or thread count in your situation. Or, matching your example at Windows, you know.


Drafting. How many do you want to? they?


are they vinyl or they, you know, that all that sort of those different facets there.


And then, and then a third point would be collaborate and communicate internally with other teams that are fielding calls.


What are people calling about? What do they have questions on, What can’t they find?


Even those questions could lead to those hidden facets and things like that, so it’s probably good set of answers to Kelly’s questions maxie get something.


I’m just going to say consistently the CRO, optimizations that we see working at best result from conversations with the support to talk to them.


People are asking questions because something’s not clear, Right, and there’s tends to be a lot of opportunity there.


You have real frustration and friction.


So, anything you can do to eliminate that, you want to make sure that your, your customer can find your product as fast, an easy as possible. And so, that may allow, you know, say, how do we figure out some automations in our search or, sorry, in our chat platform? And what are we doing in our search platform?


But back, I can come back to that hyper relevant, just awesome experience overall.


Really great.


All right, I’ve got, I mean, my light head is exploding. You talk about, let’s start another topic here, and Max, you hit on this, which is Merchandising roles.


So it’s very easy for you to make a statement like, you don’t have to manually merchandise anymore.


I don’t know enough about our audience to know if they even know what that means, or know, you know, how easy it is.


Or what’s possible, so, Max, would you unpack that a little bit, like, talk about merchandising rules and automation?


And what am I manually merchandising? And what am I not? Just give us a little context.


They’re helpful, You know, when you walk into a Costco, and you automatically see products that catch your attention, and you’re like, shoe Costco Smart. They put the right products in front of me.


In simple terms. Also. Merchandising is, right. Just merchandising. Yeah, it’s the process of making your most relevant.


Making products are most relevant to each type of shopper, most apparent.


And luckily, nowadays, there’s merchandising platforms that make that process seamless, right?


It’s, it’s, know, the topic of, this call is Black Friday, right. So let’s talk a little bit about Black Friday and, you know, putting the most relevant products in, front shoppers, right.


Looking for example, in merchandising there’s boosting which is promoting products and D boosting which is kind of reducing the visibility of products to certain shoppers based on a number of different factors.


But Black Friday is coming up, right.


So, Black Friday is all about sales, you might want to boost the visibility of products that are on sale, right. You might want to boost products that are trending during this time period, or products that are higher margin, right. These are, these are all tactics that we see working really well to increase conversions.


And then in terms of reducing the visibility of products, you might want to demote or de boost the products that are out of stock.


You don’t want your shoppers necessarily to see products that are out of stock. That’s it, That’s valuable real estate.


And, maybe, maybe, for shoppers who keep coming back to your site, you know those repeat visitors, you want to rotate products so, you know, the products that shoppers are fresh and it keeps your site from being stagnant, right. So, long story short, it’s the process of making the most relevant products for each individual.


Most prominent for them by taking into account all these factors like margin and popularity, and what’s in stock and out of stock, and a bunch of other factors connected to your character, you come back end.


Excellent. Thanks for that. Really thorough and nice follow up question to that, Michael, why don’t you jump in on the potential answer here? Which is, how is merchandising related to search?


Like, why, why do I have to what do I have to think about one and or the other?


So merchandising as it relates to search. We’re trying to provide the best experience to the end consumers.


So, that goes hand in hand with, you know, how does that search display?


What does it look like, and how are we, you know, communicating what we feel is the best, you know, for that customer.


So, search and merge, so utilizing, you know, the boost or the de-boost rules. We can also even do things on a seasonal basis. And I know this is, you know, as getting into Black Friday, the example of products that are on sale is awesome. But you do have your full price shoppers to, so we can also kinda like secondarily boost.


Heavier products on the East Coast or in ski areas are, or whatever, and kind of, know, rotate that. So, it kind of needs the merchandiser in a way to, to look at what works and what, you know, area. And you can do this on a much simpler basis.


You don’t have to, do, you know, these, but when you are looking to really, you, know, level up and provide even more relevant results from a merchandising perspective, It is definitely smart to do that.


You know, one thing, kinda, I’m going with the bearing to theme today, but, you know, it’s lighter, heavier, different location.


You know, but also even no colors as well. So that’s just, you know, a big, big thing. We’ve done. the PASA.


Excellent, yeah. So so related to experience. This is all about experience.


I’m merchandising things.


And I’m search and optimizing my search and optimizing this merchandise, merchandising strategy that I have, and don’t want to, don’t want to forget, you notice It is 11 48 here.


I don’t want to forget to talk about personalization and recommendations.


We can come back to merchandising in just a second, but I want to touch on this in terms of experience, because personalization. And I tend to fit recommendations under the personalization umbrella.


That mean, bye, Bye are the research we’ve done.


That’s the number one thing merchants are focused on right now, is making sure that stuff personalized. What are your thoughts around personalization? And Michael, maybe we’ll start with you. What’s your thoughts around personalization and its meaning for Black Friday, or its overall meaning in general?


I’d say personalization is, you know, obviously it’s, it’s a hot topic at this time, it’s also just, again, important to provide, you know, your customer with the most relevant, no information into their experience.


And so, let’s say, we’re going to sticking with home products today, but let’s say that, you know, I’m know, I am someone with three kids, and I tend to view certain products, or purchase certain products, And then my behavior is similar to that of another shopper that comes on thing.


I’m going to be getting, no recommendations that are based on, you know, a similar behavior products that I viewed, et cetera. So, instead of, you know, me getting stuff, that is all just, you know, if someone that, I just, I’ll go with the example of, you know, kids.


No kids, so, showing products, you know, from an old-school implementation of, you know, merchandising and like related products, showing like baby products, you know, as a general proposition, not showing baby products as someone who doesn’t view baby products is probably a good thing.


We’ve also found that the more you actually do show the customer the that you are listening and that you’re not just no shotgun hanging out.


No stuff, things, whatever. There’s so much noise these days, but to kind of hone that down and continue providing them with the best experience for them.


Right. Thank you, man. Max, your thoughts on personalization, recommendations, that, the, how those are related, that sort of thing?


Yeah, you know, at the end of the day, we’re all individuals, right. We want to be treated that way.


In the old days where you’re used to walk into stores, but you, if you’re a personally chatting with an in-store rep, who knew you, you’d expect them to take into account, you know, what they know about you, or your affinity is purchases you made.


What you’re looking at in what they recommend to you, right, is, it’s the same logic here.


The beauty, though, is that, product, recommendation software nowadays, personalization software, can look at what, what I refer to as, you know, click stream data. Right? Wait, what?


Your digital format, like I said, what you’re looking at on the site.




So taking into account the proxy, looking on the site, what the shopper’s looking at, what they’re gravitating towards, and the shoppers purchase history, which, the videos, you know, it’s all directly, uh, accessible to us, as merchandisers and e-comm folks.


There’s so much we can take into account, uh, we’re in our personalization strategy, so yeah. That’s, that’s the lens through, which I think about personalization. But it’s incredibly important and you want to be treated as an individual.


Mmm hmm, Great, and it makes me think going back to that earlier question about how do I have influence over getting more people to search to search.


It makes me think that if I’m delivering the right kind of recommendation or personalized experience, it may piqued my interest to go search for something that is related to something I’ve been recommended.


two, so that I’m, I’m wondering if there’s a relationship potential relationship there between, Oh, I see this thing, I can click on it and go there, but I didn’t know they had those, let me go search. And see if they have other things related to it.


You might guess that, that could be another, on site search.


Absolutely, yeah.


And it, product discovery is absolutely influenced by by those types of recommendations, because people see something, when they start searching, you know, tangential or complimentary products sparks ideas, right? When you see something, you want to see other products that might be similar.


Yeah, we see it all the time.


There’s a big mindset shift between traditional merchandising and current merchandising.


And working with retailers of all sizes of all ages. Like it’s very apparent.


No, is that you would, I want my customer to see these products when they are looking at that product no matter the time of year.


No matter what else they they look at, but those are the kinds of, you know, tactics that are just kind of going the way of the dodo. And the companies that are doing well are the ones that are providing that, you know, I hate to beat a dead horse or a hyper relevant, You know, search.


That just shows that you are, you know, in tune with what, you know, they’re looking for, and you’re not, just, you know, shotgun and, you know, stuff out to them.


So, Yeah, that that hyper relevancy. Obviously, it comes into play. We’ve said it a lot, but, but it really is an important part. And, Max, you you’ve said it a few times here, in terms of relationship between online commerce and an in-store commerce, You use the example of, If I went to a store, everything was thrown out. an organized all over the floor? Right. We use the example of, If I walk into a store and somebody knew me, we use the example of what am I actually asking, the rep in the store. And how are those responses coming back to me?


Like, take that experience and build that into this e-commerce shopping experience. And search is a big part of, right, As I look to, What are the questions I’m going to ask. What are the things I’m gonna look for? There are 86 colors that this thing comes in, OK, let me build that in so people are understanding that their opportunity to look. They’re buying things and discover there.


Um, anything, so we’re just, we’re just coming up on our time here. I want to make sure I give you guys the last word.


Max, any final thoughts around optimizing search strategies for optimizing search as it relates to this lead up to Black Friday?




I mean, I, what I would do, if I were, in the shoes of the audience, would be, create that spreadsheet.


Think about those different types of somatic symptomatic searches that shoppers’ might be, Think through the shoppers lens, brainstorm, those types of searches, write down as many ideas as you can in that spreadsheet. And just search your site. See if you find the products that you think are relevant based on those types of searches.


Because odds are, a lot of your shoppers are searching the way we know they are. Because we see this across millions of searches on our end.


So we see the data And a huge percentage of Shoppers, Site search in ways that people don’t even expect, Right? So think through shoppers Lens, brainstorm these different types of searches.


Search your site yourself, and see are you finding the products that you find role.


Great, thank you. And, Michael, how about you?


Thoughts on site search optimization of that search, especially as we lead into Black Friday, Just first of all, do it. Do something, don’t not. But don’t get overwhelmed. Figure out, you know, something that’s manageable and work through it. So if it’s going to be, you’re going to research, you know how other sites are working with their search versus yours. Search your for your product. And shop it on, other on other sites. And then think about, You know, take a poll with your, you know, your customer care team.


The Omega.


Max was saying, find out what the top queries are, You know, what are people asking about the most? And remedy those and then back, you know back out from there.


So put out your bigger, biggest buyers first, your biggest, your biggest areas for improvement and then just start rippling it out.


I love the optimism and and calm nature of both of you. Yeah. Max, Go ahead.


I was gonna say, you know, we take cues from your favorite retail stores, walk around to see what it is that you like about.


They experience. Why are you seeing products that are most relevant to you right away? What what bioproducts organized The way they are. Why is the signage the way it is? Why is the sign is so clear right there?


There’s so much overlap between retail and e-commerce, and frequently brands.


They look at their competitors online and see, you know, what, can we learn from them, a lot of time that’s the traditional retail experiences overlooked and I find that there’s so much that can be learned from that.




Guys, thanks so much, Michael and Max.


I really appreciate you being here and talking through this need for search optimization, leading up to Black Friday. I love this idea that, hey, don’t go Freakout, but just do something.


And, you know, whether that something is search, or competition, or go into a retail store, like, think about how you do it in relationship to how others are doing it.


collaborate. And it’s very collaborative effort that we’re talking about here. I really appreciate this insight. It’s so great.


And I’m, you know, we’re looking forward to Black Friday. I’m assuming you guys are too, and I hope everybody in our audience is looking forward to it as well. We’ve got another webinar coming up focused on another facet of Black Friday. We’re talking about October 12th Wednesday, October 12th for webinar.


And we’re talking about the Black Friday checklist.


What are the kind of final things I gotta go through and make sure that are squared away before Black Friday hits. So if you have an interest there, please go register. Michael. Max, thanks.


Again, really appreciate your your thoughts take care, pamphlet.