Making the Web experience unique to your audience is something marketers strive for. That’s why real-time personalization technology and methods are gaining ground.
Big data app company BloomReach attempted to make the shopping experience more personal with its announcement of SNAP – technology that adapts a site’s search, navigation, and content to each visitor.
With SNAP, e-commerce sites can boost or bury products with a couple clicks, control autosuggest search results, and more. SNAP builds on the company’s Web relevance engine (its "smart" machine that understands intent and delivers custom results within a site). ClickZ's sister site Search Engine Watch has reported on BloomReach’s customized experience cross-device before.
But one of the new features SNAP brings to the table is giving e-commerce sites more control over the user experience without the old cumbersome ways of deploying, said BloomReach.
Old methods of defining customers no longer work. If site experience – search, navigation, and personalization – relies on tagging, rules, and a collection of disjointed widgets, businesses miss opportunity at best and possibly damage their brands. BloomReach SNAP understands your customers’ behaviors, Web content, and your content and brings that data together to give each and every consumer a personalized experience that matches their behavior, taste, and intent. When customers know that you understand them, they are happier, spend more, and return more often.
The BloomReach SNAP functionality allows e-commerce brands to control rankings of products within the site with a few clicks. On the back-end of the dashboard, marketers and merchants can search for a specific product, for example, "front-load washers," and view the site’s inventory and each washer's key performance metrics.
Based on that data, marketers can decide to either boost or bury a product in the user's search results for "front-load washers." The products chosen to be boosted will be presented as the first options in the results for that query.
An additional way merchants can personalize the shopping experience in SNAP is through its autosuggest control. Through BloomReach technology, the autosuggest feature builds on its predictive search results, which offer a "deep understanding of your products and web wide demand to make sure your customers see the right product mix for their search."
Here’s a screenshot of autosuggest in action for the retailer Deb Shops, which would be using the predictive search technology:
But on the back-end, e-commerce sites have even more control. Marketers and merchants can access which autosuggest results are being presented for a particular search, and choose to delete or add suggestions.
So for example, if a user were searching for a "dorm refrigerator" and typed in "dor," the autosuggest may come up with a result that the merchant doesn’t want shown. With one click, that suggestion can be deleted.
The thesaurus option is an additional complementary feature to autosuggest that allows SNAP users to turn off and on the synonyms of search terms that the machine has discovered. SNAP users can determine whether they wish to keep a term in autosuggest based on things like click performance. And from this, the machine continues to learn what’s important.
"Consumers’ onsite experience should be as personal and as responsive as physically shopping in a well-designed store with a helpful staff," says co-founder and chief executive (CEO) of BloomReach Raj De Datta. "At the same time, no one knows a business’s objectives like its marketers and merchants, so we also developed tools that empower these experts to take data-driven actions to reach their goals."
Merchants who have already used SNAP have good things to say, says BloomReach. One such customer is Sears Hometown and Outlet. Donnie Franzen, director of e-commerce for the retailer, says SNAP has impacted the company's return on investment (ROI).
"SNAP’s onsite search feature has had a healthy impact on our bottom line by driving much improved and highly relevant search results, leading to lift in conversion and revenue per visit," Franzen says. "Our customers are now experiencing a vastly improved search function that has proven incredibly fruitful in our continued digital growth trajectory."
This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.
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Jessica Lee is a marketer specializing in web content strategy and B2B/B2C writing. Since 2005, Jessica has been in the business of content and communications, with the past several years focused on the web marketing space.
Prior to launching her consulting business, bizbuzzcontent, Jessica was responsible for content strategy, development and marketing for Bruce Clay Inc. – a global SEO firm, where she served small businesses and Fortune 500 clients. Jessica's background also includes positions in traditional marketing, communications, broadcasting and publishing.
Jessica has a bachelor's in communications and public relations from San Diego State University. She also contributed to the book “Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies” 2nd edition.
March 19, 2014