Using 'searchandising' to satisfy and keep customers

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Shaun Ryan
Shaun Ryan

Customers have high expectations in the online world, and retailers are learning that to be successful they need every advantage to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Clever marketing tactics can drive traffic to your site and entice people to click, but tactics alone are not enough.

Consumers expect to find what they are looking for quickly, and providing relevant search results is imperative for the success of an online business, for more reasons than you think.

Savvy marketers are discovering that in addition to making it easier for people to quickly find the items they seek, a strong

Web site search solution can be an excellent source of information about customers. Taking a close look at your site search data not only allows you to improve the external search but also enables you to make suggestions for additional products that might be of interest to your customers.

By melding search data with merchandising techniques, also known as “searchandising,” retailers can deliver search results that are most likely to lead to sales and use customers' search activity as a way to merchandise specific products.

In addition to getting customers the items they want as quickly as possible, retailers can cross-sell and up-sell other items that will likely interest them.

One company that has had great success with online searchandising using our Learning Search product is Edwin Watts Golf, a leading golf merchandise and equipment retailer.

Analyzing the keywords searched on its site allowed them to better understand their customers' thinking.

In one case, Edwin Watts Golf noticed that large numbers of site visitors were searching for golf head covers. At the time neither the Web site nor the stores sold the covers. The buyers were informed of that situation, and large purchase orders were placed for the site and the stores.

They ending up selling every head cover they ordered.

Because Learning Search users can refine their browsing by manufacturer, category, price range and size, analytic reports indicate what visitors are looking for, what visitors are and are not finding, and category-based reporting providing insights into search behavior within specific sections of the Web site.

Without question, the quality of search results and user feedback is directly related to the success or failure of an online business. Next-generation search tools allow marketers to be more targeted, deliver more appropriate results, better merchandise and promote products, increase sales and ultimately ensure an online visitor becomes a regular customer.

Shaun Ryan is co-founder/CEO of SLI Systems, Cupertino, CA. Reach him at shaun.ryan@sli-systems.com.

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