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Shoppers know what they want. Does your site’s search understand?

How many times has a shopper searched for a product on a store’s website only to get results that aren’t relevant—or worse, provided no search results at all? While most ecommerce sites have search capabilities, few accomplish their ultimate goal: making it easy for customers to discover the products they want. 

Some 94% of U.S. consumers abandoned a shopping session because they received irrelevant search results, according to a 2021 survey conducted by The Harris Poll and Google Cloud. It’s a phenomenon known as “search abandonment.” Indeed, poor product discovery experiences can stop a purchase in its tracks and leave shoppers frustrated. Retailers miss out on a staggering $300 billion each year due to search abandonment in the U.S. alone.

With the announcement today of our latest discovery solution, Retail Search, now generally available, retailers worldwide can supercharge their websites and mobile apps with Google-quality search. Built on Google’s technologies that understand user intent and context, the solution helps businesses improve the search and overall shopping experience across all of their digital touchpoints. 

Already, early adopters like Lowes, Fnac Darty, and Casas Pernambucanas have been using Google Cloud’s discovery solutions to increase sales conversions, boost basket sizes, and improve customer engagement.

Understanding user intent in search is a hard problem 

While we’ve come a long way from the days when search was largely based on keywords and boolean rules, shoppers still struggle to find what they’re looking for. They often have to come up with a perfectly-worded query that a retailer’s site search engine will understand, sometimes rephrasing several times before getting the results they want—if they find anything relevant at all.

Traditional search technologies don’t work in the modern age of online retail, where tens or even hundreds of thousands of items are available on a single ecommerce site.

Today, people expect search engines to understand their intent more deeply, return relevant results faster, and help them discover new products easily with personalized recommendations. 

Fortunately, product discovery experiences on retail sites can now offer superior, contextual experiences for consumers, combining marketing and data science insights along with advanced search technologies based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Now, through the power of Retail Search, when a shopper searches for a “long black dress with short sleeves and comfortable fit” on an ecommerce site, they should immediately get results for precisely that—rather than refining their search multiple times, or worse, giving up their shopping journey.

Helping retailers solve their search experience woes 

Retail Search transforms the shopping experience and makes it easier for shoppers to find relevant products by surfacing results that are intuitive and contextual. 

This fully managed service is easily customizable, enabling organizations to craft shopper-focused search experiences. Our site search solution builds upon decades of Google’s experience and innovation in search indexing, retrieval, and ranking. Retailers can make product discovery even easier for shoppers, while optimizing for their business goals with advanced capabilities, including:

Advanced query understanding that produces better results from even the broadest queries, including non-product searches. 

Semantic search to effectively match product attributes with website content for fast, relevant product discovery. 

Optimized results that leverage user interaction and ranking models to meet specific business goals.

State-of-the-art security and privacy practices that ensure retailer data is isolated with strong access controls and is only used to deliver relevant search results on their own properties.

Retailers can now shape product discovery into a shopping experience that is timely, relevant, and personalized—all powered by Google Cloud.  

Early adopters seeing immediate impact  

Several leading retailers around the world have been able to quickly create better online shopping experiences for their customers and capture more digital and omnichannel growth using Google Cloud’s product discovery solutions.

“With limited customer signals and no historical data, descriptive long-tail searches are some of the most challenging queries to understand,” said Neelima Sharma, senior vice president, technology, e-commerce, marketing and merchandising at Lowe’s. “We have been partnering with Google Cloud to give our customers relevant results for long-tail searches and have seen an increase in click-through and search conversion and a drop in our ‘No Results Found’ rate since we launched.”

“Making constant improvements to our website search engines has always been a priority for us as we aim to give our customers a simpler, more customized and enhanced online shopping experience,” said Olivier Theulle, Fnac Darty’s chief ecommerce and digital officer. “As we implement Google Cloud’s site search solution on our Fnac Darty websites and are the first French retailer to do so, we expect the solution to deliver increased conversion rates while also offering greater customer satisfaction.”

“Google Cloud has helped improve the indexing and quality of search results on Pernambucanas’ digital platforms, providing a better experience to our customers and improving sales conversions,” said Fabiano Rustice, chief information officer at Pernambucanas. “On Black Friday in November 2021—the largest retail date in Brazil—we saw a 20% reduction in search refinements per user, for which Retail Search was instrumental. We are proud to be an early adopter and to have Google Cloud as a strategic innovation partner.”

In addition to Google Cloud’s efforts working directly with customers, our ecosystem of key partners, including GroupBy, Lucidworks, GridDynamics, SpringML, and others are also leveraging Google Cloud discovery solutions to provide value added services to their customers. 

“In the fast paced and extremely competitive ecommerce environment, we are seeing that forward-looking and innovative retailers are prioritizing product discovery,” said Roland Gossage, CEO of GroupBy. “GroupBy has proudly partnered with Google Cloud to launch its product discovery solutions across several client environments. Already we have seen a more than 10% increase in online revenues, which equates to millions of dollars, and this is just the beginning.”

To learn more, visit Discovery Solutions for Retail or contact your Google Cloud field sales representative.

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