Challenges for B2B Website Search
An optimized website search is valuable for B2C and B2B ecommerce websites. But B2B sites frequently have unique challenges when it comes to search. Below are a few of the most frequent.
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- Part number searches. In B2B, shoppers hunt from the part number they use to refer to a product. Sometimes, they may search by a partial part number, or the part number can have a hyphen in it. Moreover, there may be more than 1 part number for the exact same product. Part numbers can be problematic for search platforms.
- Similar goods. Many B2B companies have several products that are extremely similar. They’re represented by exactly the exact same photo and, possibly, the identical description. There might be 100 SKUs that seem exactly the same but are different in size, strength, and other features. This can make it difficult for shoppers to find the appropriate thing in a search.
- No pricing or add-to-cart on search results. B2B companies often provide customized pricing by customer. Thus, a business may not list prices in search results and might exclude an add-to-cart button at the results. This slows down purchases.
Reviewing Your Website Search
A fantastic way to examine your site search would be to set up Google Analytics search monitoring. To do this, first determine the query parameter for your search. In the case below, the query parameter is”q” in 1 case and”key word” in another.
The search parameter for Arrow.com is “q”.
For Pensnmore.com, the search parameter is”key word”.
Then, in Google Analytics, go to Admin > View Settings. Set”Website search Tracking” to”On” and enter your query parameter.
In Google Analytics, so to Admin > View Settings. Set”Website search Tracking” to”On” and enter your query parameter.
This will allow you to view:
- How a lot of your site visitors use your website search;
- The conversion rate of people using your search and people who don’t;
- The most-searched keywords.
In my experience, visitors using search have a higher conversion rate. Assessing this metric before and after you make changes to your search can allow you to understand their impact.
After enabling search monitoring in Google Analytics, let a week go by and see the most frequent search terms. Now try those searches yourself. How do they look? Do you get the right product as the top search result?
Optimizing Your Website Search
Here are three ways to get the maximum from your site search.
- Promoting specific products for top searches. Once you’ve used Google Analytics to identify your best searches, identify the goods that you would like to appear for those searches. Manually override the search results if needed. This could take a programmer’s assistance.
- Boost your search-results page with a focus on conversion. Consider a usability consultant for recommendations. Otherwise, compare your search results pages to big retailers such as Amazon and Office Depot. Boost your product images. If possible, provide pricing and an add-to-cart button. Include product reviews for social proof.
- Ensure part numbers yield the right results. As I mentioned above, B2B ecommerce shoppers frequently search on part numbers. Test part numbers and partial amounts based on what you see folks looking for in Google Analytics. If these are not returning the right results, speak with your developer.
Adding Functionality to Drive Revenue
To drive more revenue from the website search, consider these developments.
- Use faceted search. This is typically a list of filters on the remaining search-results page which enable visitors to refine the search results by specific attributes. This can be particularly beneficial for B2B shoppers, to help them find the ideal products.
NorthernTool.com’s aspect search, on the left, includes”Categories,””Brand,” and”Price.”
Having great faceted search requires data for each the features to filter on. This frequently entails a review of product information and a solution to easily maintain data, like integrating with product data management (PIM) software.
- Identify misspellings and direct users to planned products. Typos are common, particularly when users are on smartphones. Identify misspellings in search phrases, and then immediately direct users to what they’re searching for.
In this case from OfficeDepot.com,”lsr newspaper” has been corrected, to exhibit”laser paper,” the correct spelling.
- Offer automobile suggest. This is a feature where a drop-down box appears as a user types search phrases. From the drop-down box are suggestions for the consumer could be searching for based on shared searches, your website data, and, possibly, data on that user.
Looking for”notebook power” in CDW.com activates automatic suggestions:”notebook power cord” and”notebook power adaptor.”
Constructed Search or Third Party?
A few of the improvements listed above you can likely make, with the support of a programmer, to your current ecommerce platform. Otherwise, consider a third-party search vendor — SearchSpring, Nextopia, Monetate, SLI Systems, to name a few — to implement the improvements.
Site-search vendors typically have a data feed from your site and use it to build search results with the attributes that I’ve outlined in this report. In my experience, prices vary from $500 to $5,000 a month. The vendors can usually track conversions from their website search, and thereby gauge the return on your investment. The platforms also provide management and analytics tools that allow you to have greater visibility and control over what your customers will see.
Don’t let all the possible improvements overwhelm you. Begin by setting up site-search monitoring in Google Analytics. Look at how common site searches are doing, and choose which new features will generate the best return. Implement those features and gauge the impact. Continuous improvement is the name of this game.
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