These are frequent comments many manufacturers and distributors hear about their online store. Most site visitors begin their customer journey at the search bar and a poor experience can lead to damaged brand credibility, constant complaints to IT, and overall lost sales. After all, an online store, or digital branch, is an extension of the company, and struggles finding a product online is no different than a bad experience at the counter. Read more here about how damaging a poor search experience can be. 

Search is business critical.

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Layer One expertly identified our site's search performance issues, providing us with the knowledge for immediate and ongoing improvement. Their guidance elevated our capability to enhance the quality of search, directly impacting user experience.

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—Michael Slaboszewski, E-Commerce Manager- Porter Pipe & Supply

Test your search

While quite a bit goes into a good online store search experience, here are a few quick examples to try on your site.

Water Heater Search

  1. Search for a generic class of product on the site, are the results what's expected? For instance, on a plumbing site, when searching for “water heater” are the top results returned various water heaters to buy (or even better, a landing page with brands and filters)? Or does it look like this image where drain pans and stands are returned? See additional search terms.
  2. Obtain a BOM from a customer and try to add the items to the site’s cart in the same way a busy contractor would. Or use our Sample BOM here.
  3. Does a site’s search deliver on the buyer's search intent? See a quick overview of what search intent is and run each of the three behaviors through the search bar.

Fixing search is not as simple as twisting knobs or dials

Getting search to "work right" isn't just setting a few configurations, plus every company wants a different experience from their search. The best way to maximize revenue and create repeat customers is to approach search wholistically by taking your team through Layer One's 90-day Search Fitness Program.

We compare our process to someone who beginning their fitness journey so they hire a personal trainer. The personal trainer helps them establish goals, create a customized plan, and measure where they’re at and their progress.  They educate on nutrition and health concepts and show how to use the machines and the proper form for lifting weights or exercises. They’re even in the gym helping lift that last rep. Plus, they check in and support holding the person accountable.

Layer One’s Search Fitness Program is a 90-day process that combines each of those components to turn site visitors into buyers. 

Just like a personal trainer, we take a total approach to maximize a site's search. We teach search theory and drill into Search Intent among other topics. We plan and measure important indicators with tailored tests and reporting. We build out custom behaviors and features to give your site visitors the best experience.


Common Search Fitness Program Results:

  1. Understanding of actionable search concepts.  Knowledge building around how search works and how people use it.
  2. Awareness of Search Intent behaviors. Providing the correct type of search results depending upon what your customer is trying to do.  Not all searches are the same.
  3. Automated daily search testing.  Validate that as changes and improvements are made, prior changes continue to function as expected.
  4. Step-by-step guidance.  Easy to follow steps and guidelines that allow demonstrable improvements in search results.
  5. Handling synonyms critical to the industry. Searching "Bath" and "tub" are the same, as are "tube" and "pipe". 
  6. Properly processed sizes. 1.5", 1-1/2", and one and a half inches all mean the same thing.
  7. Facet filter clean up. Proper organization, tiers and placement for filtering products.
  8. Bost and bury optimized. Show the most relevant and sponsored products at the top, and the less important products further down.
  9. Personalization configurations. Results based on visitor characteristics. One might be if a brand isn't sold in a region then don't display it in search.
  10. Dynamic Results. Based on a variety of factors (sales, behaviors, location, etc.) search results can change.
  11. Improvement tactics. "Did you find what you were looking for?" allows buyers to submit feedback for review to analyze search term results.

Let's talk about how we can customize a program to suit your site's needs and start delivering results.


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