If you’re managing a large inventory of parts and products, you probably already know how important high-performing website search is. After all, if your customers can’t find what they need on your site, you miss out on a sale, and they move to one of your competitors.

Customers often don’t have time to manually navigate links on your site to find a specific item or SKU, and they certainly don’t have time to sort through multiple search results to find exactly what they need. 

In order to improve user experience on your website and to also serve search success to your customers, it’s important to wield a smart and powerful search solution. Sajari has been built using machine learning from the ground up, to become the most customizable and intelligent website and ecommerce search provider on the market. 

AI-driven ranking ensures that your customers are always seeing the most relevant and useful search results, even if they’re not a direct match to the query.

Customers expect ecommerce stores of all sizes to be intuitive and responsive, and also keep up with the web search platforms in the space like Google and Bing. Search success across websites has been climbing in recent years, so it’s important that your online store’s search platform serves your users adequately too.

UX consultancy Nielsen and Norman have found that onsite search success has been growing steadily since 2000.

A site search function for a large retailer of parts or products then needs to be fast, intuitive, and accurate to cater to your customers. Below we’ve listed some of the most useful ways Sajari can help you sell more products and to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Searching using custom fields

When customers come to your site, chances are they won’t be searching using the exact language each product is labeled as in your database. And for those customers coming to your website for the first time, they definitely won’t be familiar with your individual product names or makes and models. 

For example, some of your customers might be searching for individual SKUs and detailed product names and know exactly what they want, while others might search for more generic terms to find the part that best suits their needs.

To cater to both kinds of users, it’s important that your site’s ecommerce search platform is searching within multiple fields of your database, not just specific product names or SKUs. Sajari can be configured in a multitude of different ways so users at all stages of your funnel can find (and then purchase) what they need.

By altering and modifying your search algorithm to highlight the fields you want your customers to search with, you can increase your KPIs and ensure you sell more stock. So whether your customers search for “SKU BXZ016778909” or “industrial thermometers”  they will still be able to find the right product for their individual needs.

Index up-to-date stock counts

If there’s one thing a customer hates, it’s finding the perfect product that they were looking for, only to head to that page and seeing that it is out of stock. By factoring in stock and inventory counts in your search algorithm and displaying this information in your search results, you can ensure your customers are purchasing the parts that you need them to purchase. 

The Sajari search platform has been engineered to perfectly reflect your business, which is why we index your site in real-time.

Instant Indexing means that any time you make a change to one of your pages on site, your index automatically updates to the new version. So if your page is updated to reflect a new stock count, the new version of your page will be added to your search index - without any manual input needed by you.

You can also harness the Sajari API to send live inventory counts to your search index as soon as they change. The Sajari API is robust enough to handle multiple calls per second, so your index accurately reflects your inventory in real-time. 

Once this data is present in your search index, you can then use this information in multiple ways to help your customers find what they need. For example, you can show live stock count information in your results page and search suggestions so customers can glance what is in stock. You could also display up-to-date stock counts in your search facets, so your customers know how many 12mm screws (for example) you have available.

You can even use this information in your search algorithm to change how search results are ordered to your users. For instance, you can run a search algorithm campaign to boost products that you have a lot of stock of, and want to get them flying off the shelves. You can also choose to negatively boost stock that is out of stock, as you don’t want your users to head to these pages.

Personalized stock and product recommendations

Alongside searching using custom fields and live stock counts, Sajari also allows you to recommend tailored content to each of your users from the same search index.

By recommending popular, trending, or recently purchased items to your customers, you can turbocharge your KPIs by displaying content to your customers that are more likely to get a click - or purchase! Recommend parts that customers bought with other products to increase your units per transaction, or push products that are likely to increase your average purchase value too.

If you keep individual customer data, you can even recommend personalized parts or products similar to what each customer has purchased before. For example, if a user bought an extractor fan in one session, you can then recommend a shiny new sieve filter the next time they come to your site.

By directly influencing how products are recommended to each of your users, you can encourage your customers to browse more pages and buy more of your stock. Personalized part and product recommendations ensure your customers stay browsing, clicking, and purchasing on your site for longer.

Guide your users with assistive technologies

When your users search on your site, chances are that some of them are there for the first time. No one likes entering long, complicated product names and SKUs into a search bar, so it’s important to give your customers a helping hand to get them to what they need. By displaying autocomplete suggestions in a drop-down interface below their search query, you can give your users a broad overview of your product offering. 

Each of your users can select each suggestion to pre-fill their search query. Created from your most popular queries combined with what is included in your index, search suggestions allow your users to gauge what you have in stock and what is popular.

Suggestions can even be configured to instantly search and return useful search results, ready to be selected before the user has even finished typing their query. Instantly returned search results drive deep engagement amongst your users and gets them to the products they want to purchase even quicker.

New users that come to your site are also more likely to make spelling mistakes, as they aren’t familiar with your product catalog. Spellcheck uses a probability calculation from the content of your search index to ensure that every spelling correction makes sense, and is tailored to your individual and unique product names. 

Display enhanced navigation options

Filters and facets are the navigation features used to exclude search results that don’t match what is selected. Think about Google’s filters for Images, News, Shopping, Videos - when you select each, the search results that do not match are excluded. They’re usually presented in tabs at the top or in the sidebar of the results page. 

These key navigational devices have become standard across the web and across websites of all sizes. In fact, UX consultancy Nielsen and Norman have even categorised that filters and facets are now an expectation users have when searching, and are now no longer a “nice to have” feature.

If you have a large inventory of parts and want your users to find exactly what they need, filters and facets become a necessity. Searching across often thousands of products, all with unique and classifiable traits, means you need to give your customers a way to search through your inventory with ease, speed, and accuracy.

Sajari gives you the option to create rich, descriptive filters and facets customized entirely to your business. You can easily create filters for products & parts, guides & manuals - whatever you can think of really -  to give your users enhanced navigation options. Dynamic facets that update-as-you-search can be customized to individual product traits like size, colour, price, customer review rating and more. Selecting each facet updates the results page in real-time to your customers.

By giving your users rich navigation options, you can guide your users through the entire customer journey, from search to sale, in as little time as possible.

Rich analytics to shape your marketing and sales strategies

Do you ever wish you had your own private market research study? One that was entirely customized to your website, with feedback straight from your users, about what they want to find on your site? 

Let your site search analytics suite become your own ongoing private research group to guide your marketing and sales campaigns. Leverage direct feedback from your users by analysing what is being typed into the search bar on your site, and if they find (and buy) what they need.

By reviewing query reports, you can measure what search terms your users are querying the most. You can then create the site content that caters to these users, or bring in a part or product that you know will sell well based on user feedback. Likewise, if you can see there are products that are not being searched for, you can gain an understanding on what products aren’t moving from your stock floor and might want to run a promotion for.

Click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that measures the amount of results that were clicked on from a search query, against the total number of searches across a site. 

A relatively low CTR is a good sign that your users aren’t finding and purchasing what they want from your site. If your CTR is low, you can optimize pages to rank well against a query, and feature them more prominently across your site, as you know that they are highly requested by your users. In the same vein a high CTR is indicative of search success, as users are finding the products they needed from a search query, and clicking on these results and consider them useful. 

Sajari’s Ecommerce Analytics even allow you to measure search success from query, right through to eventual sale. Advanced analytics can determine if a user purchased an item they found from a search on your site, if they only viewed it, if they added it to their basket, if they signed up for an online account, plus many more. 

By assessing search analytics on a regular basis, you can gain invaluable insights into how your users are interacting with and browsing your site, and find out which items might be over or under-stocked.

Conclusion

An intelligent, responsive and customizable onsite search function is invaluable for businesses of all sizes, but for companies retailing parts and inventory-based products, it’s a necessity. 

If you have a detailed product catalog with thousands (or even millions) of items, Sajari is the perfect solution to power your onsite search. Designed specifically to capitalize on recent innovations in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Sajari can nimbly search within your entire catalog and always return the best search results to all of your users, no matter the query.

But Sajari is about more than just finding the best results. A modern and responsive onsite search solution complements your wider user experience strategies by giving users an elegant and unobtrusive way to navigate your site. A detailed analytics suite also gives you the chance to build marketing, logistics, and sales strategies tailored to your customers.

In short, advanced site search means you sell more products, which is good for your customers and even better for you. To delight in the benefits of intelligent search and to test on your site for free, you can sign up for a free 14-day Sajari trial here.

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