The back-end of your search function is equally as important as the front-end (although arguably less sexy). Even though it isn’t as thrilling of a topic, eCommerce search data and infrastructure are critical to your webshop’s performance and eventual improvement. eCommerce search data can give you insight into which of your products are becoming more popular, which search queries yield no results, and give you overall insight into how to best stock your store. Infrastructure is also important – minimizing the downtime of your search function is critically important to your company’s success since search users convert the best on websites.
1. Frequently review search suggestion quality.
It’s important to review your eCommerce search data to see if your search relevance is improving. Frequently checking this will help you find problems when they arise, so you can fix them before they escalate.
Your site search solution should be continually improving – most solutions do not self-improve, so you will have to manually make changes by tracking user behaviour on your site.
However, there are some solutions that do improve automatically, such as Prefixbox. These solutions eliminate the time consuming effort of monitoring and continually updating your search platform and thus are generally a great investment.
In any case, you should check for improvements in categories like click-through rate, revenue, and average clicked position, which are important metrics to track.
2. Make note of the most frequently searched terms.
Stay up-to-date with the terms people are searching for on your website. These popular searches give insight into which of your products are performing well, the seasonality of your products, and which new items your customers are looking for.
This eCommerce search data is especially helpful when you are re-stocking.
3. Use popular searches for SEO and PPC campaigns.
Once you make note of the popular searches on your site, be sure to make the most of them! The language your website visitors use on your search function is the same they use for online search, so your database of previously searched terms is a PPC gold mine.
You can use these keywords as a base for your SEO efforts along with your PPC campaigns. By having insight into the direct phrasing your customers use, you can fine-tune campaigns to reach your exact audience. This insight will help your campaigns perform better and boost the SEO of your website, enabling more people to find your products.
4. Find search queries that have poor results.
Search queries that have poor results can provide valuable insight. These searches are terms with a click-through rate of 0. This can happen when people search for products you don’t carry or when customers search for terms you don’t use to describe your products and end up on the 0-results page.
If visitors frequently search for products you don’t carry, use this insight when considering what products to stock for the following year. If you decide you don’t want to stock these products, you could provide information about them or recommend similar products, so you still provide value to customers searching for those items.
If your customers use different wording to find products on your site, consider switching to their terminology or creating synonym rules so both terms will direct the customer to the product.
After you make these changes, be sure to keep monitoring your search data in your site to ensure the changes you made were beneficial. If not, continue testing options until you can perfect your product names and stock.
5. Check search data for keywords that become popular.
Keep an eye out for search terms that become more popular, so you can keep up with demand. Popular search terms often change – you might see regular seasonal changes or spontaneous cultural changes.
Terms that become more popular signal which products your customers want to buy. If you see a sudden increase in a search term, stock more of that product, so you can keep up with (the anticipated) demand.
6. Keep an eye on your top listed products.
Having data on the click-through rate of your first 5 listed products per search term is important, since these products should be the most relevant to the search and therefore most clicked.
If you consistently see a high click-through rate on these products, great! If not, try re-ranking your products to place the most popular ones first; this should increase the conversion rate on your site.
7. Gather mobile website data too.
It’s important to track data from your mobile site, so you can see which features are the most important and frequently used. Site traffic patterns provide insight into how campaigns are performing and about user behaviour on your site, so you can see where to improve.
Be sure to track things like which browsers are used, how long visitors stay on your site, how they navigate, and any abandonment.
8. Have multiple data centres.
Search plays a big role in directing customers to the products they want to buy, so it’s important your search solution doesn’t suffer from downtime. Data centres sometimes fail and go offline, so in order to avoid down time, host all the critical parts of your web store in multiple data centres.
9. Consider using a SaaS search solution.
SaaS, software as a service, solutions can save you time and money. These solutions often work at a higher capacity and come at a lower price than on premise solutions. Plus, they’re usually hosted in multiple data centres, which minimizes down time.
If you’d like to start collecting data on your eCommerce site, you can set up Google Analytics.