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In physical retail merchandising, store owners and managers can arrange the store inventory and layout to promote certain items and respond to customer demand. This process is just as important in e-commerce stores, where the organization of products greatly affects the customer’s experience and interaction with the brand. 

With searchandising, businesses can bring the benefits of brick-and-mortar merchandising to the e-commerce store, guiding customers on an engaging journey through the site.  

Searchandising, also known as searchandizing or search merchandising, is the process of curating search results in ways that drive sales, conversions, and KPIs for e-commerce stores. 

Searchandising allows product owners, marketers, merchandisers and site owners to promote products, organize search results in ways that align with business goals, and even track how people are interacting with the offerings. Searchandising is an iterative and ongoing process that can be continuously improved to ultimately drive more sales.

Why is searchandising important?

On e-commerce websites, nearly 30% of users go directly to the search box. These searchers are known to convert 5-6x higher than normal passive browsers. With search representing such a huge opportunity, why aren’t more e-commerce sites investing in searchandising?

Well, truthfully, search is a black box for many companies. Business owners and site operators often have little ownership over the search, which means they:

  • don’t know why products ranked where they did for a given search
  • rely on developers to make ranking changes
  • struggle to get good data on search-specific results to make decisions and iterate 

With a strong search as a service solution, however, business owners and marketers can take ownership over search. They can fine-tune their own relevance rules, test changes in a staging environment, run A/B tests on changes in production, and monitor the results over time to determine success and prioritize future development.

By taking more control over their site search, businesses can also apply online merchandising at a much greater scale than they could otherwise in-store. (Think 10,000 products rather than just 10 aisles.) This provides a much improved user experience by helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for and quickly make a purchase.


How searchandising works

Searchandising allows you to quickly adapt your search engine relevance to your business needs, campaigns, KPIs, and other ad hoc needs.  Searchandising works by layering business-specific rules over the basic relevance rules for the site’s internal search engine. This enables the company to dynamically adapt to business objectives by promoting, boosting, and/or burying products for given search terms.

This can be also be taken a step further. Advanced searchandising leverages search analytics  data to refine the search results even further. You can detect user intent and trends, such as underperforming queries and well as trending topics. Then you can merchandise your search queries and your keywords to make sure you guide your users to what they care about.

Site search features like autocomplete, recent searches, search suggestions, and related queries can all be used to merchandise and promote product offerings.


Searchandising strategy

There are some actions you can leverage to take advantage of searchandising:

  1. Personalize. By proving contextually and personally relevant content to users, you can increase the chance that users click through and convert.
  2. Use search rules. Manually boosting, burying, and ordering search results can allow you to promote certain types of products to users based on the time of year, business goals, and other KPIs. 
  3. Recommend products. Showing users related products doesn’t just have to be on a product or collection page. Doing so directly in search provides an intuitive user experience and provides opportunities for cross-selling and upselling
  4. Run search campaigns. You can easily promote products, content, and other important resources by adding display ads and promotional banners on the search results page.
  5. Track data. Merchandising and search are iterative and ongoing processes. Monitor user interactions to decide how to adjust search relevance and product offerings.


Searchandising for your e-commerce site

Effective, ongoing searchandising requires non-technical users to be able to quickly and easily test changes to site search. To do so, you’ll need a search as a service solution that is robust enough for personalized, advanced search but easy enough for anyone to monitor results and test enhancements. 

Check out Search beyond the box” to see how search can improve the customer experience and drive conversions on e-commerce sites. 

About the author
Louise Vollaire

Product Marketing Manager


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