Searching for the right product online can be a frustrating experience. When a customer uses search terms like, “black dress pants,” it’s likely black dresses show up as much as black pants do, making it harder to find what they want.  

Eight out of ten online shoppers use on-site search to find products, and they cite irrelevant product results as a top frustration. Getting lousy search results isn’t just a problem for shoppers either. It spells business trouble for companies. Fortunately, search merchandising, or “searchandising,” can improve product discovery while serving your key business goals. 

With it, brands can control search results to boost or bury specific products to maximize revenue, move inventory, and multiply sales during key holidays and promotions! 

What Is Searchandising, Or Search Merchandising? 

With search playing such a huge role in online shopping, it’s time that eCommerce businesses start to apply merchandising strategies to this vital channel. 

Merchandising has been a core competence for retailers since time immemorial. With the advent of online retailing, merchandising has expanded its scope to encompass elements such as home page and product page layout, with eCommerce brands making their design choices to best present products to customers and to make buying suggestions.  

But online merchandising extends beyond decisions about background color and where to position images. With search playing such an important role in online shopping, the mechanics of how your search function works have become part of the merchandising process. 

This practice has become known as “searchandising,” and takes into consideration what a shopper might be looking for, helping them to find it faster while incorporating business goals and promotions into the experience.  

Some of the elements that can be tweaked to improve search relevance, offer different choices and make recommendations include: 

  • Pushing or hiding specific products on demand (otherwise known as boost or bury)  
  • Auto-complete 
  • Recommended products 
  • Suggesting recent and related searches 

Searchandising can have manual and algorithm-driven elements. At a high level, searchandising allows retailers to set rules to boost or bury products based on attributes like stock availability, or promotions.  

Searchandising can also incorporate personalization, with AI-powered automated adjustments based on user behavior. This combination of business rules and customer experience logic can be a powerful driver of sales. This can help solve the “black dress pants” conundrum, with machine learning helping to understand more precisely what a visitor is looking for. 

How Searchandising Helps Drive More Revenue 

Now that you’ve seen the improvement in customer experience and retailer merchandising strategy, let’s break down exactly how search merchandising delivers higher ROI. 

Higher Search-to-Conversion Rates 

When search results are more relevant, more searchers click on them and navigate to the product they were looking for, resulting in more conversions from the search feature on the website. 

Higher Search Profit Margins 

By having the control to boost and bury key products, there is a higher likelihood that people click to buy products that retailers promote, either to move inventory or to drive higher profits. 

Higher Inventory Efficiency 

The option to boost and bury products also gives retailers control over moving inventory, either older items on sale, or promotional items. 

Higher LTV 

More relevant search results improve the customer experience, building loyalty and increasing the likelihood that customers will return. Powerful searchandising boosts lifetime value. 

Applying Searchandising to Your Shopping Experience 

How you apply searchandising rules to your search depends on your goals. Here are three different use cases to consider when implementing a searchandising strategy: 

Holiday Sale Promotion of Specific Products 

With searchandising rules in place, retailers can boost the results of the products that are being promoted in a sale. And even better, if certain products start to sell out, other products can be boosted, and those with limited inventory can be buried. 

With discount folders, you can get even more fine-grained with what you choose to promote. Rather than a single repository in a commerce platform for all your discounts, you can now organize your discounts into folders (by type of garment, type of promotion, or whatever categorization you need).

You’re able to edit items within a folder, move folders around, and add and delete folders. It allows you to see at a glance what promotions are running in a particular category, and to make boosting decisions quickly.   

Boost New Products 

Often, “most popular” search results use past data, which can mean that new arrivals don’t get a fair shake in search results. Once a new line comes in, retailers can use searchandising to boost product positions in search results and bury older products that are discounted and aren’t as profitable to sell. 

Organize Promotions Around Campaigns 

Regarding campaigns, you can create a site-wide marketing strategy to promote the campaigns you’re running. You can set up banner images, advertise discount codes, and display site variants to target particular customer segments as they land on your site.

Monetate’s Personalized Search when combined with your B2C eCommerce site search, you can deliver best-in-class searchandising backed by our patented machine learning algorithms to build and deliver winning experiences smarter and faster. 

To learn more, reach out to Monetate for a demo or with any questions about search and searchandising.