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THE SALSIFY SMARTER MERCHANDISING BLOG

These 3 Consumer Search Trends Can Help You Sell Better Online

Posted by Andrew Waber on 9:00 AM on January 24, 2018

Before they can buy your product, shoppers must find it. There’s an endless aisle of competition online and consumers are demanding that the first few results are relevant or you risk losing their attention. Therefore, the key to selling on the digital shelf is understanding what each consumer needs, telling your product story in words consumers actually use, and ensuring that the content they need surfaces at every relevant moment in their shopping experience.

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Keeping up with the level of relevance your consumers demand is complicated. To start with, consumer behavior changes over time and evolves alongside market awareness, current events and other unpredictable trends. Take salt for example. Just a few years ago, most people didn’t know there were more than a few varieties of salt, the most common being: coarse, fine, Kosher, iodized. From 2015 to 2017 the number of mobile device searches for salt increased by 215%, according to Think with Google, with some of the most popular queries including:

  • Where to buy sea salt
  • Red salt
  • Himalayan pink salt benefits
  • Hickory smoked salt

The sheer number of search terms consumers use when researching products is increasing. Unique mobile searches for soft drinks tallies more than 355,000, dolls and accessories is more than 505,000, t-shirts is 1.3 million, and footwear 3.6 million. Despite this volume, there are three trends that you should follow when planning a product experience that meets the new realities of how consumers research what to buy.

1. Shoppers want the “best”

The term “best” in mobile searches has increased over 80% in the past two years. In addition, the other most popular mobile search terms were “reviews” and “where to buy.” This demonstrates that shoppers are looking for opinions they can trust and retailers that can provide an assortment of items to choose from. Fundamentally, this means products that have high ratings and reviews or are available in the same geography of your customer are still going to perform well. It’s up to the ecommerce team to ensure that reviews and location information are included on all of your product pages.

2. Shoppers want to know “How to”

Some popular search terms reveal shoppers’ curiosity and uncertainty for a new situation, project, or skill. For example:

  • How to measure bust size
  • Cool shoes for boys
  • Most comfortable shoes for standing all day
  • How to drink apple cider vinegar
  • How to get super glue off glass

The search bar has become our very own know-it-all best friend. Consumers are using the space to brush up on unfamiliar products and how to use them. Often, they are focused on solving a specific problem, the moment it arises. Your ecommerce team should include common use cases in the product description and provide related tutorials to address these questions.

3. Shoppers want accurate and easy-to-understand answers

Every research session counts towards building trust with your potential buyer. Anticipate and supply the answers to questions consumers might ask and you’ll be adding value.

Consider the common search terms:

  • How big is a half sheet cake
  • Is ketchup bad for you
  • Does soy sauce go bad
  • Calories in ketchup

Whether a third-party clarifies the shelf life of soy sauce or the answer comes from brand itself, the consumer does not care. A shopper simply wants reliable, easy-to-access, and easy-to-understand information that is relevant to their moment of need. 

Your product detail page is often the consumer’s first interaction with your brand. Your content must speak directly to their needs and be ready to evolve as new search queries surface. 

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