Salesforce Says Smarter Search Tools Boost Your Online Sales
"Have you ever been on your phone, using the trusty old search bar, but unable to find a product you were just looking at yesterday?" It's a common problem that most online shoppers face and Salesforce has at least a partial solution.
The question and solution were addressed in a blog post today by Dr. Rama Ramakrishnan, who serves as Senior VP of Data Science for the Salesforce Commerce Cloud division.
A typical scenario, suggests Dr. Ramakrishnan: "You were probably on the go, between meetings or waiting for a friend, with limited time. So you abandoned your search, coming away empty handed without the product you know is there somewhere."
The result? Frustration for you as a buyer and lost opportunity for the seller.
"Global retailers facing this problem every day. This pain point is exactly why smart site search and artificial intelligence are so crucial to the future of retail, especially on mobile," writes Dr. Ramakrishnan.
Fast, Accurate Search Is Critical
According to Salesforce's Shopping Index, an average mobile e-commerce shopping session lasts just 5 or 6 minutes. That means efficient site-search tools are critically important because online shoppers -- especially on mobile devices -- need to find the products they want quickly.
Salesforce says consumers who use search to find the products they want are 2.4 times more likely to buy than shoppers who don't search, and they also drive more revenue, spending 2.6x more.
The bottom line is that retailers can dramatically increase their sales by giving online shoppers more efficient search tools.
Artificial Intelligence Can Help
So, how can product searches be made more efficient? Salesforce says it is using the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to enable smarter searching on sites that use its Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Its "Einstein" search capabilities give e-commerce teams better tools on the back-end of e-tail sites to produce better results and to personalize the search experience.
"Einstein Search for Commerce" is actually a whole set of advanced AI features embedded across the Salesforce platform. It uses all the latest AI technology, including machine learning and deep learning, as well as predictive analytics and natural language processing.
Another Way To Say It
One of the big "search" challenges for online shoppers and merchants is the dreaded "No Results Found" page. When searching for a product, a typo or even a different way of naming a product can cause the site to return "No Results," when actually, the desired product(s) are available.
To optimize search functionality, merchants need their product databases to include accurate synonym dictionaries. In the past, building these dictionaries has been very labor intensive for e-commerce staff, requiring them to comb through extensive search logs to identify words that are being searched but returning no results, and then adding those missing terms.
Salesforce explains that this can be a lengthy process that often does not get completed or is completed inaccurately. Infusing "searchandising" tools with artificial intelligence can greatly simplify the process.
"AI can surface these missing terms automatically and use powerful algorithms to suggest exactly which synonym dictionary they should be added to. The merchant sees the immediate benefit [while] the shopper ends up seeing better search results and far fewer 'No Results' pages."
E-tailers can also improve search by personalizing it through use of artificially intelligent algorithms. "Before a shopper even types a single letter into the search bar, they are presented with drop down search recommendations, just for them," writes Dr. Ramakrishnan, calling it "the Googlification of site search."
Einstein Search tools use the collective knowledge of the shopper's previous behavior along with data about all other shoppers on the site to produce the most intelligent product suggestions. This combined knowledge can help shoppers find what they want quickly and suggest other products that are also likely to be of interest.
It's not rocket science, and yes, sites like Amazon have been doing this for years. The key is that Einstein can bring these more advanced capabilities to the table for smaller merchants that don't necessarily have an Amazon-like budget for I.T. or product management.
Personalization and smarter search tools improve the customer experience, and ultimately make it easier for consumers to hit the "Buy Now" button.
Image credit: Product Shot by Salesforce. Rights of ALBERT EINSTEIN are used with permission of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Represented exclusively by Greenlight.
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Posted: 2017-10-27 @ 8:31am PT
So true. A great site search tool can convert your website visitors into customers. I must say, it's a key to engage users. There are many factors that drive the search functionality of your website - search bar, results accuracy, autocomplete results, UI, search filtering and refining, analytics.