What is AI-powered search?

Your guide to Attraqt’s AI-powered Search capabilities

Discovering new products is a crucial part of the digital shopping experience. Search plays an instrumental role in this. It helps shoppers who know their intentions to discover, convert and buy the products they already know they want. But there’s a problem...

Search engines, historically, have only been strong at presenting results that exactly match the query used by the shopper. This meant searching for a ‘cap’ wouldn’t serve results for ‘hat’. Without stuffing a load of extra keywords into every single product page (and making product detail pages considerably worse), these searches would likely serve irrelevant results, if there are any results at all.

This is where AI comes in. It has the power to solve those problems, all while optimising your platforms for conversion. In this guide, you’ll learn how AI-powered search recovers lost revenue, increases conversion and boosts merchandising productivity, all while bettering the search experience for your shoppers.

 

AI isn’t just for the retail giants

Our data shows that users who search are 5 times more likely to convert and spend 3 times more than those who don’t. A poor performing search capability is therefore likely to be detracting from the experience of your most valuable customers. But without AI, creating a great search experience for shoppers can be nigh-on impossible.

Problem 1: Searches can be complex and unstructured

The search bar is where shoppers use their own words to discover and find relevant products. Search is second nature to the consumer, where they frequently use complex, unstructured searches that are written in natural language. But machines and shoppers haven't always seen eye-to-eye.

Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, Attraqt makes the search experience relevant. It can cope with synonyms, stop words, incorrect spellings and complexity.

It can also offer suggestions, to guide shoppers to relevant results. These can be more specific and guide users to the best merchandising experience based on their intent.

Problem 2: Creating aligned merchandising x search experiences at scale

Merchandising strategies are often at odds with search results. There are an infinite number of possible searches, which always makes it a battle to match and rank products and remain relevant.

Searches can be long, they can be complex, but they can use different terminology, or even vaguer terms to describe product features. It could be a search for ‘floral print’, ‘leopard print’, there could be spelling errors, there could be differences in syntax. Racing to optimise product rankings for each of these manually is a race a small merchandising team is always going to lose.

With AI, similar searches containing synonyms or similar search intents can be grouped together. Plus, with sorting rules, AI can figure out when these should be applied.

Products can be ranked based on ratings, sustainability attributes, inventory turnover, popularity or stocking rates. It puts merchandising teams in control over hundreds of thousands of search possibilities at scale, without the need to manually intervene – unless, of course, they want to.

Problem 3: Being relevant and personalised

Artificial intelligence transforms the search experience. For shoppers, that means they’re served more relevant and personalised results that are more inspiring and engaging.

Personalisation can be a gamechanger for producing relevant search results. Customer signals and data can be used to determine product rankings. It can, for instance, be used to serve relevant results for a male shopper, who is shopping for a female partner. Or, if they are shopping for themselves, only show relevant results.

AI can also interpret language nuances, even across different languages. Attraqt’s AI-powered search engine can deal with multilingual searches – where multiple languages are used in a single search query and produce relevant, accurate results. For example, it could produce relevant results for terms like ‘pantalon blue navy’ or ‘food para fiesta’.

Problem 4: Upsell, cross-sell and offer alternatives

AI can also offer relevant substitute products in the event that a shopper is looking for a product that is not available.

Search technology learns what shoppers are using – not what brands are using. AI can produce semantically similar alternatives to consider alternatives. For example, a search for ‘Nike shoes’ would be appropriately substituted for ‘adidas shoes’. You can even display a copy that advises shoppers that this is the case.

By displaying substitutes, rather than zero results, you can prompt shoppers to consider alternatives – helping you further optimise for conversions.

How does it work?

Artificial intelligence (AI) allows you to deliver fast, highly relevant search results from the first search query. The search bar is the closest digital equivalent to having a conversation with your prospective customer. And, like a conversation, these are often unstructured and complex. The role of AI is to interpret search queries, then present a curated merchandising experience that matches their intent, with your best merchandising experiences.

AI is also capable of understanding synonyms, understanding spelling and grammatical errors, and stopping words (like articles, pronouns and prepositions).

The techniques

Attraqt’s advanced, AI-powered Search, utilising natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning, delivers more complete and accurate experiences for even the most complex and unstructured search requests. Our self-learning algorithms constantly tweak and optimise themselves on your behalf based on customer information, queries and real-time shopper behaviours and interactions.

Technique Explanation Why it matters
Deep learning The logical structure that derives meaning from terms It makes search more human, understanding meaning from more searches.
Neural networks That understand the underlying relationships between ‘nodes’, i.e. search terms and your products Build frameworks of understanding that connect searches to better, more relevant products.
Natural language processing (NLP) The algorithms that enable an algorithm to understand language. Understand the intent behind more customer searches to serve relevant products.
Computer vision Deriving detail and meaning from images, for example, ‘graphic t-shirts’ This allows AI-powered search to infer patterns, colours or even whether an item is formal or casual.
Self-learning algorithms Algorithms that score outcomes to adapt and become better optimised The search experience continually improves, with always-on optimisation.

 

Unlike other search engines, artificial intelligence is built into the core of Attraqt’s AI-powered search. Competitors ‘wrap’ AI into the pre-processing and post-processing of search results, which makes their search results less intelligent, less engaging and less personalised.

The benefits of AI search

Increase conversion

By providing a better, more relevant search experience, the most prevalent benefit is an uplift in conversion rates.

With a more powerful search engine, you will also be able to eradicate zero results searches, enabling you to recover sales that would’ve lost you revenue.

Then, more relevant results produce higher click-through rates through to your product detail pages (PDPs), where you can focus on conversion.

Enhance the shopping experience

Serve results that are highly relevant to your customers’ queries. AI enables your platform to better understand customer queries, allowing you to engage with them on a personal level. They can use their own words, language and phrases to discover new products.

Better, more relevant suggestions and/or substitute offerings will allow you to increase your average order value.

Boost merchandising productivity

AI saves merchandising teams time, enabling them to focus on configuring meaningful rules that scale. No longer do merchandisers need to spend time configuring rules on a search term-by-search term basis.

By putting the levers of control to your merchandisers, it allows them to control and override the AI to deploy their creative at scale and meet strategic goals.

Uncover the power of AI search

La Redoute

  • +40% in CTR directly from recommendations.

Read the case study

PrettyLittleThing

  • 97% reduction in zero-result searches 
  • 20% increase in conversion

Read the case study

See AI-powered search in action