Internal search engine: the tool for understanding your customers

Internal search engine: the tool for understanding your customers

Get to know your customers better with an intelligent e-commerce search engine

The internal search engine is still largely under-exploited by online stores. Yet this little tool has enormous potential: it can help you boost your sales! How can it help? By collecting and analyzing your visitors' browsing data.

That's right! In the world of e-commerce, the internal search engine isn't just about finding products. It's also an excellent way of understanding customer behavior, so you can better respond to their needs. 

Thanks to this better understanding of Internet users' expectations, it is then possible toimprove the user experience andanticipate markettrends... We explain how it all works.

Data collection and analysis: understanding customer behavior 

Your e-commerce site's internal search engine is an excellent tool for better understanding user behavior. But to do this, you need to opt for an intelligent search engine capable of collecting and analyzing data from visits to your online store.

So when an Internet user performs a search on an e-commerce site, the search engine records a variety of data. This includes elements such as geolocation, but also : 

  • keywords used ; 
  • products viewed or added to basket ; 
  • applied filters ; 
  • results he clicked on;
  • purchases made. 

This information is collected anonymously to protect users' privacy.

Make sure your tool is also able to understand your visitors' "language". This means your search engine must be able to handle synonyms. If a visitor enters the terms "vintage jacket", but you use the term "retro jacket" on your site, it's important that the software knows how to make the connection between the two, and takes this into account when processing the information.

All this is then stored in a database and examined by an algorithm. The most advanced engines can even perform real-time analysis to offer visitors a better search experience.

For example, if a user who has already consulted soccer products on your store types "shoes" in your search bar, the engine will immediately understand that it's soccer shoes that are being searched for. It will then be able to prioritize the most appropriate models.

In short, the search engine works like an ant: it cross-references the information at its disposal to deduce the typical profile of Internet users, but also to understand the specific characteristics of each one. In this way, it deduces which items are often purchased together, or what users' preferences are in terms of price, brand or features.


Doofinder search engine PIM Quable


Increase conversions: use the internal search engine to improve UX

Statistics show that user experience (UX) is a key criterion in the eyes of Internet users. 68% say they will never return to a site that offers them a poor browsing experience. 

Thanks to the information gathered and analyzed by the e-commerce search engine (see previous paragraph), it is possible to offer each user a : 

  • personalized ; 
  • pleasant ;
  • and engaging.

This translates into : 

  • search results that really meet their needs;
  • recommendations for complementary products tailored to your needs.

The intelligent search engine will display more precise search results. In fact, unlike other tools, it will take into account the user's preferences. As a result, it will be able to propose the most relevant models directly at the top of the results list. This allows users to find what they need in no time, making for a smoother, more positive experience. This increased relevance of results is an excellent way toimprove your conversion rate.  

The same applies to recommendations. These targeted suggestions encourage users to explore offers further and finalize a purchase. They also enable you to implement much more effective cross-selling (selling complementary products) orup-selling (selling higher-end products) strategies. In this way, you can effortlessly increase your store's average basket size.

Anticipating trends: improving your sales strategy with the search engine

While the e-commerce search engine has a role to play during the visitor's visit, it is also possible to exploit the data collected afterwards, in order to detect major market trends.

Among other things, you can use it to analyze the most popular search terms and compare the results with your current catalog. For example, if a large number of users start searching for products related to a new product, this usually indicates an emerging need. You can then adapt your strategy accordingly: search for suppliers and add this new reference to your site before your competitors do, to gain a leading position!

By analyzing the searches performed, the filters used and the products consulted, the engine can detect signals indicating a change in user preferences. Once again, if more and more users start looking for eco-friendly products, it will be easier for you toadjust your offer as quickly as possible. You could continue to offer the same type of products, but perhaps add an organic range, for example?

It may also be a good idea to couple your internal search engine with a PIM(Product Information Management) tool. Since you'll be able to develop your catalog in line with your customers' needs, you'll need a system that enables you toefficiently update your product data (descriptions, characteristics, packaging, prices, etc.). Your online store will be updated more quickly, strengthening your competitive edge.   

By taking into account the terms used in your site's search bar, you have a wealth of valuable information at your disposal. With an intelligent tool, you can leverage the power of the internal search engine and use this data strategically. This will help you stay in tune with customers' needs and offer them personalized experiences. In other words, don't think of the e-commerce search engine as a mere gadget! It's an invaluable ally in boosting your sales and revenue.


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Creator of the website, and Doofinder tech evangelist, Olivier is a recognized expert in e-commerce and SEO. He has been advising e-tailers for over 15 years, and develops Prestashop modules to help them manage their online stores.