Focusing on the Critical Partnership Between Content and Search2 Jun, 2015
Robust product content coupled with strong search capabilities can deliver an efficient, quick, and intuitive online shopping experience that increases sales.
According to the search technology firm SL Systems, 73 percent of online shoppers leave a site in less than two minutes if they can’t find what they need.
Product content is crucial in converting a sale, but even the most brilliant product information is useless if it eludes the customer. In a retail store, the customer hears about product attributes from the salesperson, who begins the conversation by asking, “May I help you?” In an ecommerce environment, this important question is essentially posed by the site’s search engine—the empty white box in every Web page’s upper-right corner.
Research says, however, that online shoppers will not wait an extended period of time for a site’s search engine to churn out results, and there are no second chances for searches with different keywords.
This is where content plays a valuable role. For the search engine to produce a list of products that reflects the customer’s keywords, those keywords have to be in the content. The more robust the content, the more relevant the search results. Without well-managed product content, search engine features fall short. Comparison tools miss data to compare; filtering tools are ineffective; and search results only vaguely reflect keywords.
A sticky situation
When content and search engines work in harmony, customers quickly and easily receive highly relevant search results and a site becomes “sticky.” Sticky refers to a site’s ability to hold a visitor’s loyalty, which includes keeping a customer stuck to the site through one specific purchase as well as reorders.
On a more technical level, sticky sites have guided navigation. For example, when customers go to a Web store and enter a general search term, they’re likely going to get hundreds of results. Site search engines with guided navigation let customers filter down results to maybe seven products and then hone in on what they want. Again, content is important because a product’s keywords and attributes drive guided navigation.
Another smart partnership
It’s clear how content plus search capabilities equal a sticky website. What’s more difficult, however, is pulling all these product dimensions together with limited resources. It’s a costly, time-consuming, labor-intensive process for a reseller to do all this alone. Essendant, previously known as United Stationers, brings it all together with the SmartSearch and Content Services offerings; all the independent reseller has to do is select relevant product attributes.
SmartSearch is a powerful search engine that connects the independent reseller’s online store to Essendant’s main database, giving online customers immediate access to Essendant’s 40,000-strong product inventory. With a few keywords from the purchaser, SmartSearch feeds off the rich content provided by Content Services and delivers a relevant product list within seconds.
In addition to ensuring that all products in Essendant’s main database supply the rich content necessary for SmartSearch to do its job, Content Services also helps independent resellers with content and photographs for private label or non-Essendant products. In this way, all product attribute data is equal, which enables site-wide search results and side-by-side product comparisons, while also improving site navigation.
Online shoppers are interacting with user-friendly platforms in the consumer sphere, and if independent resellers can’t provide a convenient, competitive digital shopping experience, particularly through search capabilities, customers will complain and likely turn elsewhere for their purchases.
Essendant is a leading enabler of B2B ecommerce success whose goal is to be the fastest, most-convenient solution for workplace essentials. Essendant emerged in June 2015 from the portfolio of brands owned by United Stationers - including United Stationers Supply Company, Azerty, LagasseSweet and ORS-Nasco.