Using Site Search for Better Merchandising and Promotion
by Geoff Hineman
While it seems a bit premature to start discussing the holiday ramp up for ecommerce sites, the reality is that, depending on the type of merchandise you carry, you may need a good amount of lead time to ensure your inventory is stocked and ready for promotion. Of course, not all sites have their busy season during the holidays (e.g., pool supplies, costumes, school supplies, etc.) and knowing how to tap into seasonal merchandising insights is absolutely invaluable. Google Analytics lets you take a peek at the terms people are searching for when they get to your ecommerce site. When you can leverage that information to better merchandise and make those products easier to find, you can turn those search queries to dollars.
Finding Your Site Search Report
Go to your account in Google Analytics and, on the left side navigation, go to Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms. Once you do, you will see a report similar to the following. As you can see, the first column contains the keywords people are searching on once they get to your site. The second column is the respective volume for each keyword. For our purposes, we are just going to focus on those two columns for now.
How to Use This Data
The first matter you should discern is why the search occurred. There are usually two answers to this question:
- the user looked for a product and couldn't find it;
- the user opted to use the search box rather than look for the product.
If it is the former, this is a clear sign you need to make said product more visible. If users can't find a product you actually carry, then you are leaving money on the table. If it is the latter, there is not much you can do about that, other than to note that customers are expressing an interest in that product. When you have clear data showing what your customers are searching for, your job in selling those products get much easier. Here are several ways to use this data:
- ensure you have those products in inventory;
- put those products in a hero shot or banner on your homepage;
- feature those products in your email campaigns;
- include those products in your catalogs;
- ensure you have your PPC campaigns showing ads for those products;
- create support content around those products that show new/different ways to use them or before/after effects of the product;
- showcase those products on your social media pages.
Past performance is usually a pretty good indicator of future performance. If you have customer search data from previous seasons, you can often use that data to be one step ahead of customer needs in ensuing seasons.