Why Site Search Matters —And How PIM Helps

Site search

This blog was written with help from Akeneo partners Algolia and Capgemini.

If there’s one thing most people associate with the internet, it’s a search. “Google” has become a verb, and is synonymous with finding information from just about any source. It’s the first company that comes to mind when many consumers think of the internet. 

But search isn’t just about internet-wide search engines like Google. It’s also crucial that B2B business and B2C companies alike offer search tools that can help consumers navigate their own eCommerce or mobile shopping experiences and find the specific products they’re looking for at a moment’s notice.

Building a site search function can be a complex and challenging process, one filled with product data-related pitfalls and site performance issues. That’s why Akeneo is teaming up with our partners Algolia and Capgemini to come up with these tips and best practices to help you master all that site search has to offer.

How site search impacts your customer experience

Search and discovery is at the heart of great user experiences. Consumers want and expect to be able to search for products easily on any ecommerce site or other shopping platform. According to recently published research, nearly half of users on retail websites go directly to the search bar

Giving this large, and growing, percentage of consumers a good site search experience can go a long way toward boosting conversion rates, with research indicating that site searchers are two-to-three times more likely to convert than customers who don’t use site search. Site search can also have a big impact on your revenue by increasing shopping cart sizes. Searchers also drive more revenue, spending nearly three times more across mobile and desktop compared to those who don’t use search. 

But it’s not just about offering a search tool — the searches you provide have to be accurate and provide a compelling list of products to customers. Solène Le Saout, Manager Partnerships EMEA  at Algolia, noted that bad site search offerings “threaten growth and disrupt the customer journey,” and researchers have found that a significant percentage of shoppers will bounce to a competitor’s site after an unsatisfactory search

Finally, search goes beyond the search bar. A capable search solution will also power your Category pages – or Product Listing Pages – where the key criteria of a great search are also critical for a highly converting shopping experience. 

What good site search means

Site search is clearly popular with consumers, and a valuable resource for retailers — but most companies are falling short of consumer expectations. The frustration involved in the overall product search experience results in an unacceptable level of churn and burn: to the tune of 68%, according to Forrester.

So, how can you build a satisfying site search tool? According to Akeneo partners Algolia and Capgemini, it’s all about finding a platform that fits your needs — both now and in the future. “Your customers are looking for an intuitive and immersive experience when they access your website,” according to Solène Le Saout , “your job is to anticipate their needs, help them easily find that product, complete the purchase and come back.”

Your solution should provide a wide range of features that can help you provide an advanced search experience both now and as your site continues to grow. That includes strong analytics tools to help you understand your customers and refine your sales channels, customization tools to ensure customers see exactly the results they’re looking for. Your site search platform should also perform reliably, quickly, and easily with features like typo tolerance, suggestions, filters, synonyms, and multilingual options.

A good site search solution will also be built on a strong foundation of reliability and security, meaning that it should offer security features like SOC 2 and SOC 3 compliance, API keys, cluster isolation, and multi-tenant architecture. It should also provide a reliable infrastructure that requires very low if not no oversight from your developers, along with a support team dedicated to handling a wide range of site search issues. That way, you can be sure that not only your search tools are never down or offline, but your engineering team spends time on iterating and innovating on your shopping experience rather than maintaining a complex infrastructure.

Why good product data is crucial for site search

Having a good site search platform alone is not enough, of course. Jérémie Devie, Business Analyst  at Capgemini notes that “a foundation of solid product data is needed to answer your customers’ needs and increase conversions.”

This includes having the right attributes to ensure your customers’ searches don’t bring up the wrong product, instituting good data governance policies, and enriching product titles and descriptions with relevant keywords. It also includes ensuring sure your data is consistent and accurate and correctly categorizing your product information.

In order to do all of these things, you need a strong solution to help you collect, standardize, enrich, contextualize, and distribute your product data — like Akeneo PIM! Akeneo PIM is designed to help you take control of your product data and provide superior product experiences for your customers through the power of features like site search. 

And, with our open source PIM solution and wide range of partners and extensions, you can be sure you’re taking advantage of all that search has to offer.

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