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Tips For Online Retailers : How To Recognize What Your Customers Are Looking For
By Lauren Smith
11/24/2010 1:20:00 PM
Have you ever shopped online using a search engine for the product you’re seeking, clicked on a result, only to be redirected to the front page of a website where you have to start your search all over again? Wouldn’t it be a better experience if you could click on a result and be directed to a page that recommended popular products based on your search? It would certainly speed up the buying process. Recently, when doing a little holiday shopping, this is exactly what occurred.

I started my search for a particular piece of camping equipment. Those who know me are aware I’m not the most outdoorsy person, so I was naturally expecting to spend quite a bit of time finding the right item. After searching, a large national retailer appeared as the first result. After clicking it, I was surprised that across my screen was not only the homepage of the website, but on the bottom of the page were five recommendations from the retailer of this product. They included the best sellers and the highest rated. Within seconds, I had the best rated product in my shopping cart, and my gift searching was complete. Wait...how did this happen? 

What the experts say... 

Mic McCully of Baynote recently gave a great presentation at the Digital Consumer Marketing Summit hosted by Silverpop about harnessing this data to create better shopping experiences and in turn, more sales. In the past, online retailers often required shoppers to fill out questionnaires with personal information, likes, interests, and recorded their previous purchases. Using this data, the retailer would recommend products to a customer on their next visit. But what if that comic book I purchased four months ago was for my thirteen year old male cousin and I actually hate all the comic books you keep recommending?

Using real time analytics, retailers can rearrange their front pages to feature items the customer searched for before arriving at their site. When 95% of people abandon your site after three clicks because they feel it’s hard to navigate, it’s critical to keep the searching to a minimum. 

How do you read the mind of the consumer?

Context. Recognize that what they searched for last week might not be what they’re searching for today. Assume nothing, because the consumer mind is unpredictable. By using collective intelligence of the crowd, you can optimize your own site’s search results from other like minded consumers.

Using a powerful analytics tool can allow you to see what customers engaged with when they searched your site. It allows you to see what result they clicked, what they bookmarked, what they printed or emailed, or if they immediately clicked away from the page. Adjusting your search results accordingly ensures a site that is not only easier to navigate, but one that results in increased sales.

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