Ecommerce has been one of the earliest identified benefit of the Internet along with email, web pages, and few other early features that engendered large investments in the late 90s. Tobi Lütke, CEO of the now famous ecommerce platform Shopify, puts it this way:
…my theory of what happened in the ecommerce industry is that Netscape is to blame. (…)
When Netscape filed for the first big Internet IPO (mid-1990s) they needed to convince Wall Street and the rest of the world that the Internet would be successful. (…) People understood commerce, everyone sees it around them every day, so Netscape convinced the world that the Internet would be big because of ecommerce. They did such a good job of convincing everyone that a lot of companies were created to supply the software for this imminent gold rush.
This meant that most software in the ecommerce space was written in the 90s, long before we figured out how to make a good web application. (…)
The net result is that you have two things: a lot of merchants with post traumatic ecommerce stress syndrome, and a lot of software that is stagnant because of lack of growth. This nuclear winter existed until well into the last decade.
Toby might be right or wrong but a quick look around the online retail industry in search of great search software does lead one to wonder how neglected this key feature of online stores and shopping platforms seems to be. Amazon and eBay had decent search infrastructures and UIs but as one who worked with some of these large ecommerce organizations to better their search, I can tell you two things:
- I can count on one hand the companies that can afford the massive investments they have chosen to make in this area
- The results are not necessarily impressive. In many cases the search experience is not optimized, leading to dead ends, zero results searches, useless suggestions, and rarely capable of locating rare products without some unusual persistence.
That’s one of the several reasons why we are so excited about exorbyte Commerce Search and Autocomplete:
- There are not many choices for advanced product catalog search features like what we offer with our SaaS ecommerce search add-ons for existing online stores.
- It works with many ecommerce platforms (hosted or installed).
- It’s affordable because we mutualized the resources across many customers.
- It’s installed in minutes.
- It comes with amazing performance: searching millions of products with sub-10 milliseconds response times.
- Error-tolerance: ability to automatically correct spelling mistakes and entry errors, in any language, based on on actual products available in your catalog.
- Autocomplete feature: allows to install on top of your existing search engine and helps people find what they are searching for.
- Advanced reporting allows you to see what people are looking for, what they find, whith what keywords, what’s missing from your stores, etc.
It’s simple to understand the business goal here: visitors who find products are more likely to buy them, thus enhancing conversion rates and growing revenues. Additionally, it’s easy to understand how, with 10s of thousands of small and medium online stores in the US, there is a huge market for these improved search features. Users have been educated by Google to be used to great search software and they now expect it everywhere. So, boost your store’s revenue with exorbyte Commerce Search and Autocomplete.
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