The online shoppers of today expect fast service and to be able to find what they want, when they want.

With so much competition, retailers and online brands have no choice but to deliver on consumer expectations. If a website doesn’t meet these demands, customers will simply swap to a competitor.

It’s for this reason that getting search right is so important. Generating a personalized, timely and relevant result is essential an essential component in delivering a positive customer experience.

Speak Their Language in the Search Bar

Consumers often know what they’re looking for. For this reason, it’s crucial the search bar is optimized to return relevant results quickly. To do this, the technology must understand the language of the customer. This means utilizing tools such as synonym detection and understanding conversational speak like slang and abbreviations.

For example, if a consumer searches for ‘joggers’, your search engine should be able to return results for running shoes. If it returns an ‘item not found’ result, consumers will assume the product isn’t sold or available from your store. Remember, if something can’t be found, customers will assume it doesn’t exist. Check out our ebook for 12 must-have queries for successful search here.

Be Timely and Relevant

Showing results that are timely and relevant is a great way to show consumers that your brand pays attention and cares about making their experience a personalized, seamless and positive one. For example, a clothing brand that sells to Australia should be paying close attention to the COVID-19 restrictions and how this has affected fashion choices over the last few months. In March, many retailers removed festival attire from their homepage and replaced it with loungewear. When restrictions on gyms lifted in June, retailers adapted again and moved activewear to be front and centre on the homepage. This helps consumers find what they want quickly, leading to a positive customer experience.

Seasonal events provide another opportunity for retailers to show timely content again. In the lead up to Christmas or Easter, retailers often change the look of their website to reflect this time of year. However, be sure not to apply the same changes to all markets across the globe; each regional website should be optimized for the market it is targeting. For example, your “personalization” efforts will miss the mark if you market a snowy Christmas with beanies and puffy jackets to an Australian audience (given it will be summer in Australia).

Consumers can be tricky to please, but when a brand executes this task correctly, these consumers can turn into loyal customers. The key to achieving customer loyalty lies in the ability to consistently deliver a positive customer experience, which is augmented by technology. In order for online retailers to truly deliver this experience, they must prioritize personalization in all aspects of the customer journey, including search.

By understanding trends on a global and local scale and adapting the website to show relevant and timely results, retailers can service customers with the products they’re after, quickly and seamlessly.

The original version of this article can be found at Australian Retailers Association. 

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