Searchandising: Using targeted content on search pages
The last two posts of our Searchandising series focused on optimizing site search relevance and autosuggest. Today’s installment explores several ways to inject targeted merchandising content into search pages, along with some dos and don’ts.
Filtered and faceted navigation helps customers narrow down a large set of search results into a more focused, relevant set. The challenge is, many customers overlook them. Leveraging hero content to graphically showcase the most useful categories, filters or attributes can help guide visitors to a tighter set of results, increasing click through and sell through rates.
For example, Macy’s prominently shows department scopes:
Department scoping helps customers narrow a broad search for more relevant results
LampsPlus suggests both “shop by” (under $300 or under $500) and “trending categories” to narrow results:
"Shop by" and trending content can guide searchers to more focused results
Don’t rely on rotating home page banners to advertise your promotional events (customers often overlook them). Make sure promos are visible where they count -- on category and search pages that match your promos.
Make sure promoted categories, brands and products are advertised on category and search pages
Consider A/B testing offers and calls to action for high-volume searches. Click through and sell through “response” data can be applied to email, social and other campaigns.
A/B test targeted promotional content on search pages
Alternatively, consider showcasing your business’ value propositions relevant to a given search, such as guarantees, add-on options or member benefits.
Show off value propositions relevant to a given search
Suggestions are rarely useful after 1-2 characters, especially when matches appear anywhere in the string
Hero banners aren’t the only place you can squeeze this content. Petco puts its auto-ship callout in-grid to give extra visibility to a service that can be overlooked on a product detail page.
Show value propositions in in-grid content
Highlight new product launches and other features with their corresponding searches and categories:
Use search pages to highlight relevant products or other featured content
Don’t forget buying guides! Grainger slots them in their autosuggest menu where relevant:
Highlight buying guides in autosuggest menus
Sherwin Williams targets content to B2C and B2B buyers, respectively:
How-to guides targeted to B2C customers in search
How-to guides targeted to B2B buyers in search
Home Depot sneaks Pinterest inspiration into its category pages, and leverages search redirection for queries that exact-match category terms such as Paint:
Home Depot features social content in its category landing pages
Targeted content tips
While targeted content may enhance the search experience, it can also backfire if implemented poorly.
- Make sure you measure the impact of targeted content on search pages through A/B testing or other proxy. Track search exit rates, click through, sell through and revenue.
- Consider removing content (especially hero banners) for mobile users. If you’re using responsive design, ensure images are resized, repositioned or removed.
- Ensure products are visible “above the fold.” Customers who search expect to see a product grid of results. If you use guided selling or other creative merchandising, make sure it’s still clear they’ve landed in the “right place.”
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