Photos, Voice & Content Quickly Changing On-Site Search Requirements

Customers don't expect much from on-site search but that is quickly changing.

Website Magazine caught up with Reflektion CMO Kurt Heinemann who shares how photos, voice and content are driving rich, more relevant customer engagement. Let's get to it.

What are some common expectations that visitors have about how site search should function on a website?

Unfortunately, customers don't expect much today from site search. It is a fairly basic engagement tool that functions almost as a dictionary and thesaurus. Most consumers put in very broad search terms (e.g., "color" "product") and get a multi-page search result. The visitor has been trained over time to keep it simple because any normal human expressions (e.g., "show me floral dresses under $100") haven't worked in the past.

That being said things are quickly changing. It used to be that Siri results returned similarly poor results but voice-based searches have improved dramatically and customers are adopting them at an incredible rate. Google reports that 20 percent of its mobile searches in 2016 used voice search.  Those successful experiences and expectations are now quickly becoming the norm and websites need to be able to support all the elements that make up a successful voice experience.


How do updates at Reflektion better meet or exceed UX standards in ecommerce?

Reflektion is redefining site search for today's ecommerce brands and consumers. The latest additions to our site search solution represent three critical elements of today's modern ecommerce user experience: photos, voice and content. These additions will drive richer, more relevant customer engagement and facilitate the transformation of site search from a simple utility to a primary shopper engagement point.

Two of these new features, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and universal search, represent foundational requirements for voice search - expect more updates from Reflektion in this area soon. Universal search allows Reflektion customers to deliver individually relevant content alongside products in search results, improving performance and content utilization. NLP enables consumers to search conversationally - delivering more relevant, nuanced results and paving the way for voice search.

On the road to creating more engaging mobile experiences, brands must consider expanding their definition of search to include photo search. For example, with Reflektion's photo search functionality, if a shopper sees a pair of high heels she loves while out with friends she can snap a quick picture, and quickly attach that photo to a search query and see if her favorite brand offers anything similar

Anything else you'd like to add about site search and UX?

For nearly two decades, site search has lacked any real innovation or evolution, causing almost 50 percent of all ecommerce site searches to end in failure. These latest additions to our site search solution aim to change that.

Site search exists so customers can signal to brands exactly what they want. Unfortunately, most solutions simply show the most popular results for the term, and limit the potential for success for each individual shopper.

If brands truly want to transform site search into a primary engagement point for shoppers, they need to be able to meet shoppers' rising expectations - that means expanding and streamlining the ways in which shoppers engage with search and improving the relevance and variety of results. Furthermore, they must be able to combine individual customer preferences with product data to improve the relevance and engagement potential of each search result. 

KurtHeinemannPrior to joining Reflektion, Kurt was CMO for Marketwired/Sysomos where he relaunched their brands, as well as, led the successful turnaround of the lead generation and content strategy efforts for both brands.

Previously Kurt was the CMO for Monetate, where he helped double revenues for the cloud-based browser technology company. Kurt has also held senior executive positions at leading consumer marketing firms that include Priceline, Time Warner/Synapse Connect and Walker Digital Companies.