Search by Algolia
What is retail analytics and how can it inform your data-driven ecommerce merchandising strategy?
e-commerce

What is retail analytics and how can it inform your data-driven ecommerce merchandising strategy?

There is such tremendous activity both on and off of retailer websites today that it would be impossible to make ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

8 ways to use merchandising data to boost your online store ROI
e-commerce

8 ways to use merchandising data to boost your online store ROI

New year, new goals. Sounds positive, but looking at your sales data, your revenue and profit aren’t so hot ...

John Stewart

VP, Corporate Communications and Brand

Algolia DocSearch + Astro Starlight
engineering

Algolia DocSearch + Astro Starlight

What is Astro Starlight? If you're building a documentation site, your content needs to be easy to write and ...

Jaden Baptista

Technical Writer

What role does AI play in recommendation systems and engines?
ai

What role does AI play in recommendation systems and engines?

You put that in your cart. How about this cool thing to go with it? You liked that? Here are ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

How AI can help improve your user experience
ux

How AI can help improve your user experience

They say you get one chance to make a great first impression. With visual design on ecommerce web pages, this ...

Jon Silvers

Director, Digital Marketing

Keeping your Algolia search index up to date
product

Keeping your Algolia search index up to date

When creating your initial Algolia index, you may seed the index with an initial set of data. This is convenient ...

Jaden Baptista

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Merchandising in the AI era
e-commerce

Merchandising in the AI era

For merchandisers, every website visit is an opportunity to promote products to potential buyers. In the era of AI, incorporating ...

Tariq Khan

Director of Content Marketing

Debunking the most common AI myths
ai

Debunking the most common AI myths

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CAN’T BE TRUSTED, shouts the headline on your social media newsfeed. Is that really true, or is ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

How AI can benefit the retail industry
ai

How AI can benefit the retail industry

Artificial intelligence is on a roll. It’s strengthening healthcare diagnostics, taking on office grunt work, helping banks combat fraud ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

How ecommerce AI is reshaping business
e-commerce

How ecommerce AI is reshaping business

Like other modern phenomena such as social media, artificial intelligence has landed on the ecommerce industry scene with a giant ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

AI-driven smart merchandising: what it is and why your ecommerce store needs it
ai

AI-driven smart merchandising: what it is and why your ecommerce store needs it

Do you dream of having your own personal online shopper? Someone familiar and fun who pops up every time you ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

NRF 2024: A cocktail of inspiration and innovation
e-commerce

NRF 2024: A cocktail of inspiration and innovation

Retail’s big show, NRF 2024, once again brought together a wide spectrum of practitioners focused on innovation and transformation ...

Reshma Iyer

Director of Product Marketing, Ecommerce

How AI-powered personalization is transforming the user and customer experience
ai

How AI-powered personalization is transforming the user and customer experience

In a world of so many overwhelming choices for consumers, how can you best engage with the shoppers who visit ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

Unveiling the future: Algolia’s AI revolution at NRF Retail Big Show
algolia

Unveiling the future: Algolia’s AI revolution at NRF Retail Big Show

Get ready for an exhilarating journey into the future of retail as Algolia takes center stage at the NRF Retail ...

John Stewart

VP Corporate Marketing

How to master personalization with AI
ai

How to master personalization with AI

Picture ecommerce in its early days: businesses were just beginning to discover the power of personalized marketing. They’d divide ...

Ciprian Borodescu

AI Product Manager | On a mission to help people succeed through the use of AI

5 best practices for nailing the ecommerce virtual assistant user experience
ai

5 best practices for nailing the ecommerce virtual assistant user experience

“Hello there, how can I help you today?”, asks the virtual shopping assistant in the lower right-hand corner ...

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Add InstantSearch and Autocomplete to your search experience in just 5 minutes
product

Add InstantSearch and Autocomplete to your search experience in just 5 minutes

A good starting point for building a comprehensive search experience is a straightforward app template. When crafting your application’s ...

Imogen Lovera

Senior Product Manager

Best practices of conversion-focused ecommerce website design
e-commerce

Best practices of conversion-focused ecommerce website design

The inviting ecommerce website template that balances bright colors with plenty of white space. The stylized fonts for the headers ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

Looking for something?

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A simplistic, linear approach to search experience – a customer looking for a product in a search box or bar, then either adding to the cart or bouncing – has two downsides. For one thing, it feels restrictive to modern users who want holistic, personalized experiences. Secondly, it is costly. Businesses unable to offer inspiration through methods like browsing, navigation, and advanced faceting miss out on conversion and retention opportunities.

Top retailers use search as a strategic tool, embracing a design thinking approach focused not on technology but on ease, effectiveness, and emotion. This results in improved KPIs like conversion rates, stickiness, engagement, and increased basket size, and that’s not just empty talk:

 

But to take advantage of the power of search and to live up to these numbers, you’ve got to satisfy a few basics. Consumers spoiled by Google expect first and foremost an ultra-fast search bar that provides most relevant results. There are three aspects of relevance that users have come to count on:

1. Textual relevance

The name of a product, its brand, keywords in the description—what we call attributes—make up textual relevance. Textual relevance means reading correctly into the user’s intent even if they misspelled a word or used a stop word (“the”, “and”, “at”, “with”…). It also means giving them a synonym result (offering a parka when they typed in “jacket”), and making sure that plurals are accounted for (searching for “feet warmers” should display foot warmers).

2. Business relevance

On the occasions when you want to promote certain products for, let’s say, a recent release or a holiday sale, you can influence the results a user sees using business relevance. You can leverage your own business metrics ensuring that the user sees content they are most likely to act on.

You could, for example, be tracking conversion rates on your products, and wanting to display first the result with the highest conversion rate.

3. Personalization

Personalized search experience is all about taking signals from your user: the conscious signals they are sending you by interacting with your user interface, and the more subconscious, latent signals coming from their past preference indications.

 

Multiple paths to conversion through advanced user experiences

Having covered the basics, let’s look at how progressive retailers provide advanced customer journeys past the simple: search bar > click > add to cart.

Offering multiple content types as search results

Cratejoy is an e-commerce website that makes it easy for users to subscribe to boxes of products they’ll love.

If a user types “planner” in Cratejoy’s search box, they can instantly choose a subscription, a category, a collection related to planners—or, if none of that works, dive into a blog post. This offers the user multiple paths into different types of content, which translates into multiple paths to conversion, based on the user’s personal preferences and ways of processing information.

Cratejoy advanced search experience for e-commerce

Facets: filters with special intelligence

L’Occitane En Provence is an international retailer of body, face, fragrances and home products. Similarly to Cratejoy, their search is an as-you-type experience, but they have another interesting feature that showcases advanced search possibilities. Let’s say a user types in “baby” in the search box: on the left, facets will appear.

 

What exactly are facets? We are all familiar with filters as a way to narrow down our search result options. A facet is a filter that is intertwined with the result sets: the only facets that appear are the ones that match result sets. This prevents a “no result” type of screen experience, which almost universally causes users to bounce. Looking at our “baby” facets, we already know the number of items available in each category, together with the pricing.

If a user refines her search query to, let’s say, a “baby bath”, we see that the categories available to her have decreased, showing only applicable facets.

This means that in a few keystrokes and clicks, the user finds the very item they want. Compare this with a long list of items that comes with a standard search bar experience — by far superior.

From beyond the search bar to no search bar

Artsper, an arts buying and selling website, takes to heart the idea that search is not just about the search bar. Search technology rather powers the entire browsing experience.

If a customer selects a “painting” category on the home page, products and facets are showing up—even though no search query is entered.

Artsper also includes recommended categories; a customer can easily dive into abstract paintings, for example, and just as easily remove that filter.

Artsper, an art website, offers discover without a search bar

Why is this so interesting? No search bar query by the user is involved, even though the search technology behind the scenes takes care of the engaging and natural customer experience, including ranking and personalized recommendations.

Imagining possibilities for e-commerce search experience

There are many other aspects of state-of-the-art search technologies that can advance the user experience and improve your business numbers: from recommendations and dynamic faceting to letting the users define the interface. For more information, check out these articles from our docs:

We hope to have inspired you to join top retailers in advancing user experiences through search capabilities that go beyond the search bar. Your users should enjoy powerful discovery through browsing, faceting, innovative UX, and much more, shortening their path to the shopping cart while driving your business results. 

Sign up here to give our search solution a try for free.

About the author
Ivana Ivanovic

Senior Content Strategist

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