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What defines the marketplace of the future?
What defines the marketplace of the future?

4 ways retailers can boost the product discovery experience


By Pavan Sondur - Dec 7th 2017, 09:51

What defines the marketplace of the future?

Data from Statista suggests ecommerce sales will touch $4.5 trillion by 2021. Interestingly though, 94 percent of all retail sales still take place in stores. What does this mean for the etailer or the retailer of the future?

The digital-first consumer of today is not limited by boundaries and is exposed to a plethora of information across different forms of media. The winning strategy — for any retailer interested in this new generation of customers — is to have a strategy that is both digital and physical.

But how easy (or difficult) is it for a brand to decode the deeply subjective experience of browsing through the aisles of a store and translate it online?

It is this ability of reimagining physical experiences and transporting them to the digital realm that etailers refer to as the product discovery experience. It lies at the core of any successful ecommerce business. Here are four ways that can help boost the product discovery experience on your site.

1. Make it easy to search

Ever wondered why you enjoy shopping at your favorite store? While the reasons could be many, a large part of it can be attributed to the ease of shopping.

Online shopping follows a similar principle. A prominent search bar is a must-have to ensure quick and hassle-free product discovery. The basic search queries that your site should be able to handle are:

Exact product names and categories: If a user enters a precise product name or product type like "Clarks" or "women's shoes."
Non-product information: Such as your store's return policy or contact information.
Incorrect spellings or typos: Understanding that "blak" could mean "black."
Synonyms: Common words that have the same meaning. For example "ebony" for "black."

In addition to simplifying the process of finding products, your site-search should also help the product discovery process through features such as autocomplete and auto suggest that help the customer by predicting the product that they could be looking for.

2. Optimise your homepage

The homepage of your website is your storefront. Use it well.

Understanding what you should put in front of your potential customer is just as important in ecommerce as it is in retail. Just as your in-house merchandiser would arrange products in the store as per the order of prominence depending on factors such as the time of year, discount sales or new arrivals — use the prime real estate of your homepage to advertise products in a way that is attractive and encourages purchase.

True ecommerce success is achieved when technology combines with intelligent merchandising. Ensure that it is easy for your online merchandiser to make decisions and move products around on the site with minimum or limited support from your IT team.

3. Improve navigation

There are two types of visitors who will drop by your site:

Shoppers who know exactly what product they want to buy.
Shoppers who are just browsing to find something that appeals to them.

Having a fast, easy-to-use and intuitive navigation is relevant to both these categories. Whether a shopper is keen on making a purchase or is just rummaging through a category, understand the natural thought process of a shopper as they go through the products. Ensure that your product listings and categories are streamlined, logical and easy to locate.

4. Understand your customer

Our fleeting attention spans and overflowing to-do lists have made us a lot more prone to errors. Assume your customer is no different. Understanding what a visitor could be looking for and intelligently compensating for manual errors goes a long way in improving the product discovery experience on your site.

Research at Unbxd shows that25 percent of ecommerce searches are misspelled. Fill your catalogue with a rich database of synonyms and possible spelling errors associated with each product so you don't end up showing incorrect results or worse still — no results at all.


Enhancing the product discovery experience on your site necessitates that you make it easy for your customers to find and browse, compare and consider, and ultimately purchase with limited effort.The number one principle to selling online is understanding that you start from a point of disadvantage since you are not in front of the customer.

The success of your venture depends on knowing how well to utilize the knowledge you have about the customer — through machine learning and artificial intelligence — and layer it with human intelligence in a way that helps you understand customer intent better. Seamless product discovery is just the first step in that process.

© 2017 Networld Media Group, LLC 

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