How to Master Personalized Search: A Step-by-Step Guide
Written by
Rishi Malhotra

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How to Master Personalized Search: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published : June 20, 2023


Imagine finding a needle in a haystack while being blindfolded. Unlikely, right? Searching for things online can feel similar, if not done right.  We’ve all experienced the frustration of being bombarded with irrelevant search results or navigating through a clunky search experience. But what if I told you there’s a way to turn this scenario around and provide your customers with personalized search results that genuinely understand their preferences and needs?

Almost three-fourths of businesses worldwide have an online presence through a website,  and get this, a quarter of all business activities happen entirely online! Moreover, Google reports a staggering $300 billion lost to search abandonment each year in the U.S. alone. So, in this digital age, helping your shoppers find the right products is absolutely vital and can either make or break a brand.

Now, imagine a search engine that goes above and beyond the ordinary. We’re talking about a search engine that doesn’t just stop at delivering results. No, no! It’s a search engine that evolves and gets smarter with every interaction your users have. Pretty amazing, right?

With this advanced search engine, you have the power to take the search experience to a whole new level. It becomes intuitive, accurate, and perfectly tailored to each individual’s unique preferences. Your customers will feel like you’re understanding their mindset and presenting them with exactly what they need.

Apple's unbeatable search autosuggest on their online store - Netcore Cloud

The unmatched search experience on Apple’s website consisting of search autosuggest  links and suggested searches

So, if you want to stand out from the competition and create an unbeatable search experience, this is where it’s at. Let’s dive deeper into the world of personalized and dynamic search. It’s time to make your customers say, “Wow, they really get me!”

How to Personalize Search Results?

Imagine this scenario: your shopper is on the hunt for the “Yves Saint Laurent Candy Glaze Lipgloss Stick.” Now, they could go ahead and type the entire product name into the search query, but let’s face it, that would make for a really cumbersome search experience. On the other hand, if they rely on a website with subpar search capabilities, they might end up with generic offerings and find themselves manually scrolling through an endless list of thousands of SKUs, desperately searching for the right product. That’s not exactly convenient, right?

But wait, let me paint a much better picture for you. Imagine this: they simply type “Candy Glaze” into the search bar, and voila! The exact product they’re looking for pops up, accompanied by some helpful suggestions for similar items.

Personalized search experiences: a glimpse - Netcore Cloud

Well, that’s exactly what we bring to the table! Netcore UNBXD’s AI-powered models go beyond the basics of search. We dive deep into the nitty-gritty details, analyzing over 200 real-time signals to understand your shopper’s preferences, behavior, and even demographic information.

Moreover, Netcore UNBXD’s search solution incorporates advanced algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing, and data analytics to deliver highly relevant and personalized search results. It leverages intelligent search features, auto-suggestions, faceted navigation, and real-time indexing. It enables seamless and efficient search experiences on ecommerce platforms. What does all of this mean for you? It means an enhanced user experience like no other. Your shoppers will discover products that resonate with their personality, affinity, and style, making browsing a breeze.

1. 1:1 Experiences

Some people like apples, while others prefer oranges. Can we target oranges to apple enthusiasts? Absolutely not. So, how can brands determine what to present to each individual? Thankfully, we have the capability to provide personalized shopping experiences for every customer. Using Netcore UNBXD’s advanced AI algorithms, we can analyze different facets of a shopper’s behavior, including browsing history, recent purchases, and interests. We can now grasp their intentions more comprehensively.

With this valuable insight, we can dynamically tailor the search results and product recommendations to align with each shopper’s preferences and increase the likelihood of purchasing.

Dynamic 1:1 search result curation powered by Netcore UNBXD

How Netcore UNBXD can dynamically curate 1:1 search results

Did you know? Personalized search results can increase the average order value by up to 50%. (Source: SmarterHQ)

2. Personalization Based on Demographics and Affinities

It can be challenging, when we don’t have enough behavioral data, to personalize search results for shoppers. Netcore UNBXD’s advanced personalization technology can tap into valuable insights, including demographic, device-specific, location, and affinity data. By leveraging this wealth of information, we can customize the search results based on how similar shoppers browse and purchase.

By understanding shoppers on a deeper level and delivering recommendations that truly resonate with their preferences and interests, we can create meaningful connections and foster brand loyalty.

Personalized experiences offered via demographic and affinity data - Netcore Cloud

Display of Web Personalization via demographic, device-specific, location, and affinity data

3. In-Session Personalization

Most of the use cases we have discussed are reactive in nature. But what if we take it a step further and become proactive? Imagine if we could adapt to a shopper’s preferences in real time. Well, guess what? Netcore Unbxd’s cutting-edge AI technology can analyze your shopper’s actions as they browse and shop, and provide personalized recommendations and tailored experiences on the fly.

As the shopper interacts with the website, the AI is constantly learning and understanding their goals in the context of their current session. It pays attention to what they are clicking on, what they are searching for, and even the products they are adding to their cart. All of this helps the AI figure out what they’re really looking for at that very moment.

And here’s the best part: based on its understanding of their intent and preferences in real-time, the AI dynamically reorganizes and re-ranks the search results. So, as their session progresses, the products that are most relevant to them will surface.

How does it work?

An end-to-end implementation of in session personalization - Netcore Cloud
  1. Sophie decides to buy a new phone. She searches for it on an ecommerce site.
  2. She is presented with numerous options from various phone manufacturers.
  3. She chooses the iPhone 12 after carefully weighing her options. She adds it to her shopping cart.
  4. Sophie now wants to buy phone cases, but instead of typing the manufacturer’s name into the search bar, she types “phone cases.”  Netcore’s advanced in-session personalization, powered by AI, analyzes her previous interactions with the ecommerce store, and voila! the search results automatically display phone cases for the iPhone 12. 
  5. Sophie selects the case she wants from the options without correcting the query manually.

To learn more about in-session personalization, visit Netcore UNBXD.  It will transform your search capabilities.

Did you know? With Netcore UNBXD, Jerome’s Furniture, a leading furniture retailer from the US, was able to showcase personalized search recommendations to their site visitors and increase conversions.

They leveraged 50+ self-optimizing AI/ML models, such as Query Category Predictor (QCP), Intelligent fallback mechanism, Autocorrect, and Catalog auto enrichment, to power industry-leading search relevance across search, browse, and recommendations. Watch this video to learn how Jerome’s Furniture dove into a personalized shopping experience with Netcore Unbxd AI-powered retail marketing strategies and solutions.

Jerome's furniture, a case study powered by Netcore UNBXD

You can read the entire case study here. To learn more about achieving search personalization mastery, download our solutions guide today.

4. Testing and Finetuning Personalization Models

At Netcore UNBXD, we have fine-tuned our system to adapt to your business goals easily. You can create, test, deploy, and modify personalization strategies with zero development effort.

How, you ask? Well, with our visual UI workbench, you can create customized experiences based on different shopper segments. And here’s the kicker – you can even change your AI models to align more with the weightages of clickstream data. That means you can consider clicks, carts, orders, and other metrics that matter to you. But wait, there’s more! You can also include custom attributes like profit margin and so much more.
With our visual UI workbench, the power is in your hands. You can tailor the experience to match your exact requirements without any hassle. No coding, no complicated processes – just a user-friendly interface that allows you to make personalized adjustments and optimizations effortlessly.

AI console demonstration - Netcore Cloud

Leverage Netcore UNBXD’s console to deploy AI models with confidence

5. Dynamic Facets and Filters

Amazon's array of facets and filters on ecommerce store - Netcore Cloud

Amazon’s extensive array of Facets and Filters

So, imagine you’re browsing through a massive catalog of products. It can feel overwhelming, right? Well, dynamic facets are here to save the day! They display all these nifty attributes and characteristics of products that you can use to narrow down your search results. These include color, size, brand, price, and more. It’s like having your own personal shopper who knows your preferences and can show you exactly what you’re looking for.

Filters are like magic wands that allow you to apply those facets to your search results. You can easily check off the boxes for the specific attributes you want, and voila! The results magically transform to show you only what you’re interested in. No more wasting time scrolling through irrelevant stuff. It’s like a shopping shortcut to finding exactly what you want in no time at all.

Leading ecommerce giants like Amazon have nailed it with dynamic facets and filters. They use it to narrow down your search by brand, price, size, color, and more.

Read this blog by Netcore UNBXD to learn more about facets, filters, and their implementation. You can also download our comprehensive solutions guide for free today!

Now that we have understood the importance of dynamic filters and facets, it’s time for us to explore a retail marketing technique consisting of personalization that no marketer can ignore – it’s called ‘autosuggest recommendations.’

6. Autosuggest Recommendations

Apple's search autosuggest demonstration on website - Netcore Cloud

Apple’s robust ‘Search Autosuggest’ runs across their online store

What are ‘Autosuggest recommendations’ exactly? You may have also heard them referred to as ‘autocomplete’ or ‘type-ahead’ suggestions. Whenever a user begins typing a query, these search predictions pop up in a dropdown list or similar format. These suggestions are generated based on the user’s search history, popular queries, and trending topics.

For ecommerce retailers, autosuggest recommendations play a crucial role in enhancing the customer search experience, boosting conversion rates, and reducing search time. They are a game-changer in the web/search landscape, delivering impactful results.

To fully understand their significance, let’s look at their benefits.

Can be used to increase conversion rates – Like Dynamic facets, autosuggest recommendations increase conversion rates. They leverage the customers’ search history to entice them to make a purchase they may not have otherwise considered. That increases revenues.

Can reduce the search time taken by customers –  They simply eliminate the need for the customer to type out a complete query by presenting a list of suggestions as soon as the customer starts typing. This saves customers time. It also reduces the frustration and effort to find precisely what they want.

Autosuggest recommendations can be used in several ways to improve the web search experience. One everyday use case is to suggest recent searches to customers. Customers can quickly access previous searches they may want to repeat. It saves time and reduces the frustration of starting a search right from scratch.

Recent Searches powered by Netcore

Use case – Recent Searches powered by Netcore

Marketers can also use trending queries to provide autosuggest recommendations. Monitor what other customers are searching for and suggest popular queries relevant to the customer’s current search. This can provide social reinforcement. The customer is now aware that others are searching for similar items.

Explore Netcore UNBXD’s  Search Autosuggest functionality by clicking the following link – Rethink Search Autosuggest for your business today.

Now that we have understood the importance and impact of Autosuggest recommendations, let’s now conclude this blog by going through what the future holds for us.

Future of Search Experiences in Retail

As technology advances and AI algorithms become more sophisticated, the future of search personalization holds tremendous potential. We are already seeing a seamless integration of user preferences, behavior, and context into search results that become hyper-personalized experiences that truly cater to individual needs. Still, the future of search personalization will go beyond simply recommending relevant products or content. It will encompass a deeper understanding of user intent, allow for proactive suggestions and anticipate users’ needs before it articulates them. With advancements in natural language processing and machine learning, search engines will become more conversational, understand context, nuances, and user preferences and provide more accurate and tailored results.

Moreover, the future of search personalization will extend beyond traditional search engines. We will witness personalized recommendations embedded in various platforms, applications, and devices. These recommendations will seamlessly guide users throughout their digital journeys. As we move ahead into the future, search personalization will continue to evolve. It will enhance user experiences, foster customer loyalty, and transform how we interact with information in an increasingly connected world. The future is personalized, and search is at the forefront of this exciting transformation.

Read more on Netcore’s Web and Search Personalization capabilities today. Download our comprehensive solutions guide for marketers in 2023. It walks you through all the capabilities mentioned earlier and use cases. 

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