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What is Searchandising ⁠— and how do I apply it to my online store?

By Jillian Quijano |
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If you haven’t heard of the term searchandising, you’re probably not alone. As far as ecommerce goes, it’s a relatively new concept.

Despite this, it’s one that’s taking the ecommerce world by storm.

If you have no idea what searchandising is, don't worry.

We’re here to explain what it means, along with some tips for applying it to your site.

What is searchandising?

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In the past, customers would navigate to an ecommerce site, search for the product they want, and arrive at results they have to painstakingly search through.

When you consider that most people are shopping online because they love convenience, this approach seems counter-intuitive.

Searchandising aims to place super relevant products in front of your customer, which then increases the likelihood that they will buy them.  For example, you may provide a range of filtering choices that allow customers to refine their results down to the smallest detail. Or, you may capture customer data and use it to produce results that are relevant to their shopping needs.

Overall, searchandising involves refining product searches for you to boost your sales. 

How do I apply searchandising to my ecommerce site?

Around 51% of people discover a new product or service while searching using their smartphone, so there's never been a better time to use searchandising to your advantage. If you’re intrigued and you want to increase your conversion rates, we have some searchandising techniques for you to consider.

Provide your customers with options

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The first step towards successfully searchandising your site is to provide your customers with options. By now, you may be thinking that you've already done this. But is it enough? To make your customer’s life easier, get inside their head and consider the criteria they may use to narrow down their search results. For example:

  • Colour
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Size
  • Delivery speed
  • Discounts
  • Special offers (e.g. 2-for-1)

Whatever options your customers may be looking for, consider adding them to your search filters.
Also, allow them to sort the results to their liking.

This could include viewing your products according to price range, amount of stock available, date released, relevance, and more.

Consider what other customers have bought

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If you’ve bought something on Amazon lately, you may have seen their “Customers who purchased this also bought...” feature. This involves looking at the products your customers decide to purchase after they've bought other items. There are certain sectors where this works well. For example, if you’re selling beauty products, you may notice that customers go on to buy makeup brushes after purchasing an eyeshadow palette. Or, a medical student who's looking for a textbook that focuses on cellular biology may also want a book on anatomy.

Take this searchandising tactic further than simply enticing customers to buy more items. Use it to generate promotions.

Let’s use the example of textbooks again. Rather than letting customers pay the full price per book, offer them a 10% discount when they buy all books together. By applying this to textbooks that are frequently purchased, you stand a stronger chance of the customer accepting your offer.

Make helpful suggestions when you don’t close a sale

CD_4_637x212 Have you ever felt frustrated every time someone abandons their basket? On average, 73.1% of customers do this.  Maybe they’ve decided that a product doesn’t quite meet their needs anymore. When this is the case, there’s always a chance that another product will do.

There are two ways to approach this searchandising technique. Encourage customers to purchase an item that similar customers have chosen. Use words such as "Customers who viewed this item also bought..." and then show another product that matches their customer profile.

Alternatively, if you lack the data required to do this, make suggestions based on products they may like.This approach to searchandising requires you to get inside your customer’s head again. Consider what they may find useful as an alternative and suggest it.

If you want to take your intuitive suggestions a step further, consider why they don’t go on to buy the item they originally viewed. If you suspect it’s due to the price, direct them to something that costs less. Or, if it’s because of a long postage wait, push them towards something that’ll arrive faster.

Use what you know about your customers wisely

CD_5_637x212 When someone becomes a repeat customer, they start leaving a trail of information.

You get to know more about their spending habits, such as the items they like, how much they’re willing to pay, and whether they’re more likely to buy sale or non-sale items.
After gathering this information using your analytics, take the data and use algorithms to guide your customers accordingly.

For example, when they search for one product, suggest their favourite products to buy. Additionally, make suggestions in a widget bar alongside their usual search results.  Consider also showing products that are due to be released, previous purchases that are now on sale, and out-of-stock items that are now back in stock.

Other ways to use searchandising

CD_6_637x212 Ultimately, searchandising focuses on convenience as much as it does anything else. As such, you may want to consider eliminating as many inconveniences for your customer as possible. If you sell internationally, simply don't display in the search results the products that won’t ship to their destination.

Also, it’s a good idea to keep out-of-stock items at the end of the search results. This is especially important during sale periods, as customers may become frustrated by an apparent lack of stock and go elsewhere.

As an alternative to leaving out of stock items to the end, consider adding a "reminder" button that directs customers to enter their email address so they become part of a waitlist.

Conclusion

Many of the concepts behind searchandising are simple, but are also effective. When you routinely apply them to your site, you should see big differences in your sales.

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