Product Tagging – The Hidden Workhorse of Top Retail Search Experiences

Posted by Terry Costa, April 25th, 2012 at 10:20 am PST
Categories: eCommerce, Site Search, Site Search Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments »
   

Behind every great site search experience sits a rich set of information that describes every possible search result.  For retailers, this product information is in the form of attribute labels or tags that have been assigned to each product.  With these tags in place, search engines can more accurately match products with search keywords as well as power advanced refinement options.  This includes options like the dynamic search refinements discussed in an earlier blog post.

In order to super charge your site search experience, you’ve got to get beyond the basics of tagging your products.  By basics I’m referring to those attributes which all products have in common such as a name, description, brand, and price.  Going beyond this means tagging your products with specific attributes that are unique to each type of product.  For instance, shirts are going to have different attributes than televisions.  Shirts will have attributes like gender, age group, material, style, and so on.  Then, any given style of shirt is going to come in different sizes and perhaps colors.

Another type of tag that can be extremely helpful for shoppers is one that describes the use of a product.  A downhill ski for example might be tagged as beginner, intermediate or advanced to identify the appropriate level of skier it is best suited for.  A bouquet of flowers could be tagged with phrases like mothers day or get well.  These product use tags can enable you to support a wide range of merchandising initiatives with landing pages built automatically by your search engine.

Examples of search filters based on product use:
ftd-by-occassion-filter sports-unlimited-by-sport abes-by-use-filter

Tags to indicate the status of a product can be a powerful tool for driving sales.  A tag that indicates if a product is new, on sale, or qualifies for free shipping can be used to power the display of graphic overlay flags or other graphic tags in your search results that will attract attention to those items.  Tags like top seller, staff pick or star ratings will help you merchandise products based on popularity.  An example of this type of tagging can be seen in the search results from sporting goods retailer Sports Unlimited.

sportsunlimited-new sportsunlimited-bestseller sportsunlimited-rating

Some retailers have even invited their customers to assist with tagging by providing the ability to add a tag on the product detail page or within the process of writing a product review.  This crowd-sourced tagging approach can be an extremely efficient way to supplement your product information with descriptive words that you might never have thought of to describe a product.  These terms can then be fed to your site search engine so it can return results based on the opinions of other customers.

When you combine this detailed product information with a powerful search engine, shoppers get an incredible tool for helping them compare products and narrow down what they ultimately want to buy.  Helping shoppers move more quickly through the consideration and preference stages of the customer buying cycles will drastically increase the chances of converting them into sales.

   

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