There’s an age-old saying that states, “the customer is always right.” Customers know what they want and they’ll go where they can get it. It seems simple in theory, but you don’t always have customers offering you a list of their ideal ‘must-have’ features.
In the past, businesses would have to look for growing trends or the latest industry report to stay ahead of customers’ evolving preferences. But a recent survey from Oracle is changing this, giving B2B retailers a prioritized list of their shoppers’ most wanted features.
Let’s take a quick look at the results of the survey:
- 45% of respondents view advanced on-site search/navigation as a ‘key capability’ for online B2B buyers.
- 45% of respondents view custom pricing as a ‘key capability’ for online B2B buyers.
- 43% of respondents view customer account management as important.
- 40% of respondents cite mobile capabilities, quote submittal, and purchase orders.
The Results: Power & Personalization
There are two key takeaways from the survey: customers want the power and control to manage their on site search themselves, and that there’s a growing demand for personalization in business to business (B2B) operations.
Improved site search, mobile capabilities, and quote submittal emphasize the idea that customers want the tools to do their online shopping themselves and at their own pace. They don’t want to call in to customer support to find shipping information or price tiers. They want to explore their options and have the power to make their decisions themselves.
Similarly, custom pricing, account management, and purchase orders demonstrate the growing desire for a personalized and unique shopping experience. With online shopping booming, customers are expecting the same level of individualized service they receive at physical store locations.
Ultimately, as the online shopping movement continues to grow, so will consumers’ expectations towards a complete buying experience. The companies who can predict and respond to evolving consumer preferences will find themselves at the front of the pack when eCommerce grows into maturity.
Moving Forward: Site Search Necessities
We’ve addressed the importance of responding to these new requests, but how do you actually implement these changes? What would custom pricing or advanced site search look like in practice? Let’s look at some simple, actionable steps you can take to enhance your on-site search capabilities:
Autocomplete & Fuzzy Matching: Ensure that you display the right products for the right searches. Autocomplete gives customers a more enjoyable experience through a simplified search process and provides the ability to see the specific products that match their search term. Our Intelligent Autocomplete goes a step further by analyzing search terms used and displaying the best-performing products for those searches – increasing the odds that your customers will convert. Additionally, fuzzy matching guarantees that customers find what they’re looking for, even if they don’t spell it perfectly.
For example: if someone believes that a chandelier is really spelled chandaliar, they won’t see any results returned if your site doesn’t support fuzzy matching. Instead, the potential customer may assume you don’t carry any chandeliers and will bounce.
Navigation & Refinements: It can be much easier to find exactly what you’re looking for in a physical store than on an eCommerce website. In a store you can easily walk over to the colour you prefer, see which brands the company sells, or sort your options by price by just looking at the price tags! .
It can be more difficult to do these things on an eCommerce website, but it doesn’t have to be. Providing clear and concise search refinements and website navigation provide the familiarity and clarity customers need to explore your site with ease. Search refinements can narrow down your search results by price, brand, rating, size, etc.; while navigation addresses the major pathways customers can take to peruse your products.
Refinements and navigation are a keystone to advanced site search, and the experience is far superior to browsing through dozens of pages with no organization!
Securing Site Search Superiority
Let’s return to our saying, “the customer is always right.” We know that responding to customer demand is important, and now customers have gone one step further and told us directly what they’re looking for! It’s almost like a one-stop shop to customer satisfaction.
Consumers are clearly requesting better on-site search capabilities. We gave you a few actionable steps and features to implement better site search into your eCommerce operation. Now let’s get back to work and keep our customers satisfied!
If you’d like any more information on advanced site-search features, or want to know how we can seamlessly integrate these tools for you – be sure to give us a call at 800-360-2191, or tweet us over @Nextopia.