Increase Sales with Improved Site Search Using Nextopia
Late last year, the researchers at Smart Insights released data from 65 million online orders that had converted into $2 billion dollars worth of sales. The study offered a lot of info to explore, but one number guides our topic today: 34% of all the ecommerce traffic came via search. This means that over a third of online shoppers were led to their eventual purchases by searching via Google and other engines. These shoppers came to an online store looking for something specific.
Unfortunately, some online merchants miss this opportunity because their customers can’t find that something specific once on the site. When a merchant sells a product, but the customer isn’t able to locate it, it doesn’t matter how well the store has streamlined its other features. The customer will buy it elsewhere.
Sanjay Arora, the founder of Nextopia, a company dedicated to optimizing site search and navigation, has been working to solve this problem since 1999. Nextopia pioneered the field of site search, and today they are only getting stronger. Here are some of our favorite Nextopia innovations that help customers find the products they came to buy.
First, for searches within an online store:
Instant Product Matches Updated with Every Keystroke
Nextopia’s client, Da Luca, started out making leather straps for Panerai watches. In the eight years since their start, the company has expanded into a wide range of leather goods. We began searching on their site with the word “brown,” and the returns came back with a selection of brown leather watch straps – their original best seller. Then we continued with “brown wallet.” As we added the word wallet, the product returns changed. This instant update reflects exactly what shoppers do in a physical store. We look around until we see what we’re looking for and then we go check it out. Nextopia has mirrored that process well here.
Search Autocomplete with Popular Products + Visual Merchandising
It’s common to see autocomplete in a Google search, but far too few retailers use this technology in their site searches. Here we started to search for sunscreen on the Askderm site that uses Nextopia. As the search bar autocompleted with popular searches, the first layer of returns showed related categories. It then listed site pages that discuss sun protection. The final layer showed top sellers related to sunscreen with visual thumbnails. So, even before we finished typing in the word, we were shown several promising paths to explore for our needs.
Synonym Matching and the (Nicely Subtle) “Did You Mean…?”
You write tee shirt, I write t-shirt. Thanks to Nextopia’s synonyms, we’re not going to call the whole thing off. Rather we’re both going to see the results we’re looking for – take a look at the t-shirt selection above (a.k.a tees) offered by Jimmy Jazz, a Nextopia user.
Nextopia’s search functions also account for misspellings and typos. To put it to the test, we intentionally searched for “plattar” in the Noritake China store, and no one ever questioned us. Instead the search returned several rows of beautiful platters; here’s the top one. Nextopia catches people’s quirks and/or mistakes and offers products that match the closest meanings. May shoppers never see “0 Results Found” again.
Now for searches from outside an online store:
Custom Landing Pages Based on Keyword Search
In the wild outskirts of Google, we searched for “Cheese knives zwilling” and found Nextopia’s client, Zwilling J.A. Heckles, at the top of the returns. But the top spot did not lead us to their homepage. Instead, it took us right to their four cheese knife products. One would think this direct path is common in online search results, but surprisingly, it’s not. We tried a few other searches, and were taken to company homepages, rather than custom landing pages. For example, “Prada leather bracelet” lands on the homepage with four clicks needed to find their bracelets. Are shoppers willing to click that far? Likely not. And why would a business risk it?
When a shopper returns to a Nextopia client’s online store, the software detects and remembers the user’s location. This allows for a range of locally-based promos, like this one here by Rock Bottom Golf. They were offering $10 off to shoppers in Canada leading up to Canada Day on July 1st, 2017. For their shoppers south of the Canadian border, the offer changed. We were given the chance for same-day shipping for orders over $125 — but without a nod to our location. They saved that for their Canadian compatriots.
Just Launched: Personas
In June, at the annual Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE), Nextopia debuted their latest product called “Personas.” It works like this: every time a shopper visits an online retailer, information is gathered based on their preference for certain products. When the shopper returns to the online store from the same IP address, Nextopia’s algorithm uses the previous info to display results that are tailored to the customer on his or her second visit. So, if the shopper has a penchant for sage green cashmere sweaters, she will begin to see cashmere clothing and more when she returns to the store. She’ll see sage green items, too, that reflect her preferences. Nextopia continues to build this new feature with clients. Stay tuned – we’ll keep you posted on how it develops.
Nextopia is one of our many partners in optimizing ecommerce businesses. We’re constantly researching new tools and meeting the teams behind them. If you’d like to talk about a customized package of solutions for your online store, so would we.