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How Product Tagging Impacts eCommerce Search

Sarah HillelSarah Hillel | August 1, 2020

Getting shoppers to your site is only half the battle. What sets successful brands apart is having the expertise to turn those newly arrived shoppers into buyers. The ideal scenario is to provide content and experiences that resonate with individual shoppers. By making each interaction—from product search to purchase—relevant and timely, brands can increase conversion and order value, and decrease shopping cart abandonment. This is easier said than done, but accurate and robust product tagging is the best place to start.

Product tagging

Product Data and Tagging for the End-to-End Shopping Experience

Brands can predict and deliver exactly what shoppers want with the right strategy, technology, and foundation in place. There are many techniques to go about this. But fundamentally, what fuels the end-to-end shopping experience is optimal product tagging and merchandising.

If shoppers arrive on your site looking for something specific, they’re likely to use your search function rather than browse through multiple pages. Product data and tags that are consistent, updated, and accurate, enable on-site search to work seamlessly.

Surfacing contextualized and relevant product search results

There are numerous ways for shoppers to navigate your website and find the products they have in mind. They can use the search bar, menu and category list, homepage sections, and more. But for search users, who are actively looking and are already engaged, the key is to guide them from the search results page to the relevant product page as easily and quickly as possible.

How do you do that? By surfacing products that match customer expectations, as indicated by their search queries. Robust product tags that include minute visual details, item occasion, synonyms, and more ensure that you can provide relevant search results even when queries are intuitive.

According to a Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient research, 75% of search queries on eCommerce sites are new each month, meaning that it’s more important than ever to be able to deliver accurate results for a wide range of inconsistent long-tail queries.

By using visual AI, brands can help automatically tag products with thousands of vertical-specific attributes and their synonyms. Detecting and assigning tags based on image data ensures that your eCommerce search and navigation can surface products that best resonate with your customers, even when their queries don’t align with the wording in your catalog.

Building Confidence With Smart Online Merchandising

Brick-and-mortar stores have display windows to entice shoppers to come in and explore their products. Once inside, the products do the talking and convincing, with the occasional help of sales associates.

Woman looking at clothing. Product tagging improves online shopping experience.

It’s tough to replicate this experience online. With thousands of SKUs, it can be difficult to not only surface the most relevant products, but also to ensure that every item in the inventory gets the chance to be discovered by shoppers. This is where smart merchandising comes in.

Like standard visual merchandising, the end goal of smart online merchandising is simple. It is to connect shoppers with products they’ll want to buy.

Here’s how:

4 applications of smart merchandising

Brands have multiple ways to implement effective smart merchandising rules. Because it takes a lot of manual work out of the picture by using visual AI to automatically assign product tags and suggest dynamic product collections, merchandisers can easily promote items that best fit their customers and target audience.

  • Thematic collections and priority search results: When customers search for a product, smart merchandising can optimize search results by surfacing not only individual items that align with the query, but also groups like best sellers or seasonal collections related to the search. For example, instead of just displaying “green trousers,” the results would be organized to prioritize best-selling green trousers first.
  • Dynamic and smart homepage: It takes about 0.05 seconds to make an impression and convince shoppers to stay on a brand website (or to leave). You can use smart merchandising rules to dynamically display collections on your homepage based on attributes like trends, colors, styles, discounts, and more.
  • User-generated content: One of the most powerful ways to add social proof to your brand and products is featuring user-generated content (UGC). By integrating smart merchandising with social media data, you can showcase your most popular items in any category along with real-life images that shoppers will trust.
Mother shopping online on couch while daughter plays

Using Search Data to Manage Inventory

Smarter product tagging can also streamline inventory management by giving you more detailed info about what your shoppers are searching for, clicking on, and buying. Having the granular information to go beyond “black dress” and understand whether it’s the neckline, the sleeve shape, or even the length that’s prompting sales is a uniquely powerful tool for forecasting demand.

Ultimately, product tagging impacts all aspects of your eCommerce website. Knowing how your shoppers find and interact with your products can help you adjust your online merchandising and search strategy down to the individual level. This will then equip you to provide personalized shopping experiences that build customer loyalty—a must in today’s highly competitive retail environment.


Sarah Hillel

Sarah Hillel

Sarah is the Global Events and Marketing Manager at Syte. From conception to evaluation, Sarah is passionate about delivering impactful events that enhance the organization's image and brand to client experience.

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