For many, the process of shopping is social. While social media and online shopping continue to evolve, the essential act of gathering information or sharing our experiences with others is deeply embedded in our shopping behavior. Whether we’re telling our friends about how we like the new car we just bought, getting a recommendation on a particularly comfortable pair of shoes, or hearing about a sales clerk that was a little less than helpful, we enjoy informing others and getting their feedback.
At SLI we understand that, and have created many ways for online shoppers to gather information and share their experiences. We offer shoppers the ability to search non-product content, including reviews, video tutorials and video reviews, blogs, and social media mentions. Having the ability to see products from different angles, get a sense of scale or mechanics through videos, or read reviews builds credibility not only for the product, but for your site.
Making this non-product content available is important because it gives buyers access to information without having to do outside research, thus reducing risk and building confidence in their decision, all without leaving your site.
It’s not always easy to implement, however. Basic search functionality – like what we’ve seen with Google Commerce and some eCommerce platforms – may not allow for easy implementation of non-product content. More advanced site search solutions have this capability and allow you to expand your service offering.
Teaming up with a full-service site search provider can allow you to access a full range of tools to help your customers. It’s important to look for a knowledgeable support team that keeps you updated with data-driven insights about how your customers interact with your site.
I’d like to share with you a few of the ways we can help you improve your site with non-product content.
In the age of the Internet, we’ve become accustomed to easily-available reviews. For many purchases with high dollar values, it almost seems crazy not to read reviews before making a decision. Why not make reviews searchable, so that your users can find the products that are ranked most highly? Folica has done this well, so that within a search for “hair dryer”, products can be refined to show the highest-ranked hair dryers first.
Indexing Social Media, Images and Videos
In that same vein, why not show your customers other content that will help them make decisions? This can be videos that show reviews, tutorials or other helpful content. Here are three examples of very different SLI customers who are using these tools to great effect.
Eyeslipsface.com allows all social media mentions of their makeup and beauty products to be searchable, as well as an “As Seen In” tab showing the latest fashion magazines to have featured their products. Keyword queries will also turn up blogs with those keywords in them
Motochanic.com has led the pack with indexing Instagram photos on their search results pages. Now, searches for “Rossi helmet” will not only return all available helmets of that brand, but all Instagram photos with the same tag, and related videos tagged with the same keywords. There’s also a “Like” button for each product, to share across Facebook.
BulkReefSupply.com also indexes their videos alongside product content. Customers interested in building a saltwater aquarium can find informational videos through search, thus establishing Bulk Reef Supply not only as a helpful site for buying products, but an educational resource.
Social Sharing on Search Pages
Of course, social sharing features are also important, as we’ve seen the ability to “Like”, “Pin It” and “Tweet” results on most sites. We add that same functionality to your search pages. On AntiqueJewelryMall.com, you can pin your favorite pieces on your Pinterest board. And on FTD.com, you can “Like” the bouquets and flower arrangements and give your friends (or your significant other) a clear hint about what you like.
Search on Social Media Pages
Lastly, some sites use their Facebook pages to drive customer traffic and transactions. Motorcycle Superstore is one that allows visitors to their Facebook page to search products directly, which takes them to a Facebook-specific search results page.
Videos, reviews and other non-product content are all helpful tools that can be used to help customers find what they need and get enough information to make a purchase. Finding the right balance is different for every site. To find the right balance for your site, contact your Customer Success Manager or, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.