I was looking for a sony ericsson mobile phone online. I knew how it was spelt, yet though of making an error just to see how the online stores responded to my query. I searched on rediff shopping, indiatimes shopping and ebay India for a ‘sony ericson’ phone. Here is what I was offered.
First I started with rediff.com. It came as a surprise that ‘sony ericson’ resulted in absolutely nothing … no kidding! Strangely enough, on further probe I found that there were retailers selling ‘sony ericson’ on their store and yet the engine could not offer a single result for the keyword.
Indiatimes.com fortunately identifies ‘sony’ and offered all products that were from sony as my search result. There was just one mobile phone in the first two pages (32 items) that I browsed. I lost patience after that.
Ebay.in was able to understand my mistake and asked me if I meant ‘sony ericsson’ and even informed the number of items found under that keyword. Yet, the results shown on the immediate search was somewhere between rediff and indiatimes. It showed all the products that were labeled ‘sony ericson’ but not ‘sony’. Which might look fine in this scenario but then you’re forgetting that there are phone that should be available under ‘sony’ too.
Search is a very important tool … infact a sales person for a customer who’s looking for a product on an online store. Hence to call a search as a mere keyword discovery tool would be a grave mistake.
Modern search is very sophisticated; offering exact phrase results along with options that sound like the query or contextual items. They also offer various options to filter the available results further to address your purchase specs. Then there are offers and sale to lure you further into clicking through the store. There are innumerous examples of functionalities that offer customer feedbacks, product comparisons, product info and a whole lot more, right in the result offering, enough to persuade a customer to carry on browsing so that he/she get a step closer to making a transaction.
The sooner, today’s online retailer understand these basics, the better are their chances of converting their website users into customers. Or, at least, gaining their trust and ensuring a potential to come back and buy some other day.