Understanding the Importance of Search Relevance in E-commerce

We all know Google and its popularity. The technology that supports Google is the powerful search capabilities. This clearly signifies that how crucial the searches are when it comes to increasing customer engagement and retention. E-commerce search engines have also adopted Google ideology and have evolved over the time. Along with the product recommendation and site navigation, site search has become a primary element in product discovery.

Whether you search on Google, Amazon or any other well-established e-commerce website, you have multiple options when it comes to finding information, comparing products and finalizing the purchases. Based on a survey, site search has proven to improve conversions by two times than the site-wide average. However, to improve conversion, it is necessary to measure it. But, the question here arises is how can you measure the quality of your search? Well, the answer is by looking at the relevance of the results.

What is the Relevancy in E-commerce?

The relevancy in search is defined as the degree to which the results retrieved in the search match the users’ search terms, queries or intention. This concept is the fundamental goal of the search engines, which has been around for a very long time. Relevance is the key difference between a good site search and a bad site search experience that could make or break your sales.  Your search is considered working if your users are able to find what they are looking for.

Relevance has remained a critical underlying criterion for evaluating the efficiency of the e-commerce on-site search. When your users make searches to find products on your website, the idea is to show results as close as to what they have in mind. The relevancy is measured primarily in two metrics: recall and precision. Optimizing any one alone is not going to help, but a good balance between both can maximize your conversions.

Recall – Recall refers to the ability of the search engine to return “all” relevant results. For instance, if the query for ‘white shirts’ qualifies thirty products to be shown on the search results page, but only twenty are displayed, then the recall is 20 out of 30. There could be many reasons that hinders the recall rate, but you should start by checking synonyms handling and typos.

Precision – Precision refers to the ability of the search engine to return only those products that are distinguished as relevant. For instance, if the customer is searching ‘white shirt’ and the search displays total twenty products out of which ten are white, five are black and five are red, then the precision is said to be 10 out of 20. The poor rate of precision could be the result of many factors, but inefficient NLP capabilities could be the major one. 

E-commerce businesses have always strived to offer what their customers want. If you are into e-commerce, try integrating Wizzy’s smart site search tool that will certainly help you revolutionize the way how your prospects interact with your site, giving them exactly what they need.

What Factors Influence the Search Relevancy?

The relevancy of the search engine results depends on a number of factors.

Text Analysis

Text analysis is the process of searching items across your site that match the user search query. Matching words with the items may seem very simple, but it is not. Your native search may not be able to handle complicated queries and may fail to deliver relevant results. Hence, it is a must that you implement intelligent on-site search tool that is capable of returning relevant and desirable results.

Term Weighing

This is the process of deciding which words in the search phrases should take priority. Usually, a numerical value is assigned to each word, which is then reflected in the search results. Maintaining a good balance between all the keywords can truly optimize the results.

Popularity

The popularity of products is often defined by the number of times it has been viewed or clicked. The popularity in the search tells your users that these products have been searched the most in the past. Hence, they are worth considering as it can turn out helpful.  

Why Relavancy in Search is Important?

The search function is perhaps the first element that your users see when they visit your site. It is the first step of interaction between your business and prospects. If your users search something and they cannot see relevant results, they are likely to leave your site. That is the reason you need a strong search engine like Wizzy that is backed by extraordinary features to show relevant results. Moreover, an efficient site search shows reliability and professionalism, where a bad or an inefficient search may frustrate your customers.

How to Strengthen Your Search Relevance?

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your search relevance is by combining the power of recommended results. Recommended results take customers a step closer to their purchases by filtering the relevant results to match their preferences. The efficiency of recommended results, however, depends on the ability of your system to predict what your potential customers are looking for. If you are not able to offer personalized recommendation, your user may lose interest in your website and your site may lose credibility.

How Relevancy Plays A Critial Role in Driving Customer Experience?

When we work towards delivering what customers need, we should first understand the term ‘customers’. E-commerce market today has given a rise to more personalized shopping experiences. Hence, it has become imperative that we consider each customer unique and treat them accordingly. Since, all e-commerce stores are striving to implement relevancy in their search, the harsh truth is that there is no single best sorting of relevant results. For instance, when the search is made from summer T-shirts, one user may prefer round neck while another may prefer v-neck. Here, relevance depends on the user preferences.

However, NLP-enabled site search tools that can process a long unstructured query has opened up doors to new opportunities. The attempts to generate more revenue through search may fail if you are not focusing on capturing user behavior and preferences for a truly personalized shopping experience. Relevancy is essential, but if your customers are not able to find anything that match their personality, then you are losing the game.

How Relevancy Can Help Your Business?

Site search experiences must also be taken into account in terms of business opportunities. The results should be pitched towards accelerating sales growth, clearing expired inventory and strengthening merchant relationships as well. In addition to satisfying users’ demands by providing with the most relevant products, e-commerce stores are also required to consider additional goals, such as reducing the inventory cost by selling products faster.

For every e-commerce owner, it is advisable to have a solid business strategy that supports their ranking strategy. Be it customer loyalty, conversion rate, personalized recommendations or profit margin, tweak your search in a way that delivers value to both your customers and your business. You may feel there is a lot to handle, but it is not. With machine learning based search, the balance between customer and business can be optimized, so you can get the best of both worlds.

The Bottom Line

The search relevancy has become front and center concern over the last few years. In the absence of sales executive or salesperson on your site, all you have is the search in order to build a strong relationship with customers and satiate their needs. Revamping your search relevance is a good starting point since you have access to many smart third-party site search plugins. Thus, it is essential to optimize your site search continuously in order to ensure it retrieves relevant results. In the age where a brilliant search is a norm, don’t be an exception.

If you are looking to reinvent your e-commerce search engine, get in touch with us today and we are willing to help you drive your e-commerce sales.

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