Smart Search for Marketplaces: what is that, and why do you need it?

10/23/2019
by Alexey Ale

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In modern days, a smart search is a vital component of any marketplace and multi-vendor platform. It provides three components of a successful e-commerce store: accessibility, variety, and convenience. In this article, we will tell you how you can improve your marketplace’s conversion rate for up to 60%, and increase the time spent on your site for up to 500% (why is it so important?). All of that without the code or increasing your marketing budget.

The Ideal Smart Search for Your Business

It is time to talk about how a good search should look like. Nowadays it is simply not enough to offer a bare-bones service to your customer. Especially given that most other marketplaces are buying or developing advanced versions of a smart search. There are some functions that it should have in order to be a good one:


  • Show Relevant Products. In the ideal world, there would be no such thing as a Zero Results page, as your store will have everything that your customer needs. But since we are living in the real world, we will have to account that some search queries will get no results from your catalog. To help with that, smart searches offer a Relevant (or Related) product option. If there are no results for the query, it will show similar products that customers may be interested in.


Profit for your store: it will reduce the “bounce rate” of your store and increase the average time on website.


Example: Your client searches for a “red shirt”. Your store doesn’t have one, but it has other shirts in the catalog, so it shows them in a “Relevant products” section.


  • Show Popular Searches. The fact is if there is a popular product in your catalog, then even the customers who are not looking for it might get interested if you showcase it right. The Most Popular and the Highest Rated products blocks of a smart search can be used to guide your customers, but to do so, they will need to be unobtrusive. Otherwise, they will just become annoying.


Profit for your store: even more sales for your bestsellers.


Example: There is a boom in searches for a Rolex watch that your store sells. If you want to show it to other customers who may buy it, you enable the Most Popular recommendation block and set it to show Rolex among the Most Popular products.


  • Use Autocomplete Search. Sometimes, especially if you have a vast catalog, your clients will never reach some products suitable for them if you won’t give them a hand. Autocomplete function can be used to offer and showcase some suggestions from related products. Using it with a dropdown widget will add to the effect, as the customer will see the full preview of a product and might become interested enough to buy it.


Profit for your store: by increasing the search speed on your marketplace, you can improve your overall conversion rates for up to 60% and the conversion search through site search up to 40%.


Example: When your client types “blue sh-”, a dropdown widget will show not only blue shirts but also blue shorts.


  • Add Spell Correction and Predictive Search. While grammatical mistakes can be jarring, much more jarring would be to lose your customers just because they couldn’t find what they want with a misspelled query. So just use a smart search service that includes this little thing. This will help you to avoid a lot of aggravation in the future, especially as you look on the list of search queries.


Profit for your store: even when the client makes a mistake, he will find what he needs, and you get one more sale.


Example: Your customer misspells, and types in “platop” instead of a “laptop”. With a spelling correction feature, he will not get a Zero Results page but will be redirected to the results page of a correct query instead.


  • Use an Advanced Search with Machine Learning. While keyword-driven search had a good run, today we can see that it just doesn’t match modern challenges. It becomes too slow and sluggish the more keys are in there, and most users need fast, relevant and personalized results from their searches. Today all of the leading smart search developers are using machine learning and Natural Language Processing to optimize their engines. By using advanced Artificial Intelligence, searches equipped with that technology can analyze and adapt to customers’ needs on the fly, greatly increasing the speed of all processes.


Profit for your store: Now, when your female customer searches for a T-shirt, she will not be shown male ones, making the customer’s journey easier, and increasing your conversion rates.


If your search has those features, then congratulations! You have a powerful tool for a customer conversion on your hands. If it doesn’t, then maybe you should look into upgrading your current one.

An Example of a Good Advanced Search

Searchanise is an established search service provider, working in CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor platforms. It is a good example of an advanced smart search, as it uses modern features and combines them into one easy to use and affordable package. It offers the following functions:


  • Instant search drop-down widget with product previews
  • Suggestions
  • Promo tools
  • Custom redirects
  • Synonyms
  • All-time analytics
  • Machine learning


The search engine supports up to 300,000 products in a catalog and costs monthly as five cups of coffee in Starbucks. It is a good-performing search tool suitable for CS-Cart Multi-Vendor software. You can always check if it is one for you, as it has a 14-day free trial that you can cancel at any moment.

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Conclusion

In a world where speed reigns supreme and people are always in a hurry, a fast and reliable search is often a key point that can make or break an e-commerce business. A well-tuned and modern search engine is a crucial part of any e-commerce business, especially for big marketplaces as it sees your customers through the purchase route and encourages them not only to buy more but also to remain loyal customers.