Is your business addressing these four critical areas of successful commerce search?

  • Posted on April 24, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 7 minutes

In a modern commerce journey, there are several aspects of search that together, help ensure a compelling customer experience (CX). Let’s look at these four connected search channels.

1. Catalog Search

Catalog search is for customers who are browsing product (categories or subcategories) or browsing a subset of products (that match their search team), and/or finding a very specific product either directly or through facets.  These customers are engaging with this search specifically for browsing and shopping.

The Catalog search targets the Catalog Database. This database may span across channels (i.e. offline and online).

There are several types of Catalog Search:

  • Taxonomy browse – customer is browsing products and product categories on the Category (Top Level) or Sub-Category page(s). These are generated based on product catalog data taxonomy. Using this experience, the customer can also select to look at individual product details on the respective Product Detail Page.
  • Explicit Search– search terms provided in search box or area – these are specific search terms related to the product, and the result renders a results page based on these search terms. This includes implicit search terms entered by methods like barcode readers.
  • Search Engine – organic search terms provided in a search engine leads to the correct catalog (Landing or Product Detail) page being rendered in the search engine results
  • Facets – renders meaningful dimensions based on the products shown during Taxonomy browse or search results page. Commonly used by customer to filter associated products seen on the page.

Sitecore Experience Commerce implements Catalog Search by making methods available to expose Product Catalog Data. SEO configuration can also be done in the Sitecore console or Content Editor by updating item fields such as metadata. So, how can this improve the customer experience?  This search shall be configured to ensure an uninterrupted customer journey (i.e. no “dead ends” when searching). Personalization opportunities exist for Catalog Search with respect to past search terms, predictive search and persona of customer executing these search capabilities.

More details on the Search service with Sitecore Experience Commerce can be found here.

2. Store Search

Store Search supports customers who are looking for information specific to a physical store. These customers are engaging with this search to interact with a physical channel, and shopping may not necessarily be part of that journey. This kind of search implementation normally requires customization and integration with external sources and systems.

The target of this type of search is a Store Database. This database can either be maintained in the commerce implementation or as a third party data source.

Types of Store search:

  • Store Attributes - presented through a “Store Locator” experience and rendering results of individual stores which match the parameters specified by the customer. E.g. find me stores open 24 hours, which have a pharmacy, which are within 10 miles of my current location, etc.
  • Geolocated- the nearest store and its information may be rendered by default to the customer where their location is known.
  • Directions - retrieve directions to a given store, either through static text or based on known location. May include interaction and integration with mobile GPS (i.e. turn by turn directions to store using Google Maps, etc.)
  • Merchandising - look for stores which sell a desired product specified by customer, or through Availability Search.

Sitecore Experience Commerce can be customized to incorporate Store Search through the SXA (Sitecore Experience Accelerator). The platform can also integrate with services such as Google or Bing to provide mapping and store waypoints, and it is recommended that integration with these services is done rather than maintenance of this data in-house. The merchandising search is supported through a query of availability and inventory with respect to store. Sitecore Experience Commerce/Platform also presents opportunities for personalizing the customer experience based on their nearest or selected store, or highlighting stores which have the customer’s favorite product in stock, etc.

3. Order Search

This kind of search is for customers who are looking for specific information about an order (or orders) that they placed. The customer journey is specific to finding this information about the order and may not necessarily involve shopping in the same journey.  A brand’s customer service representative may also have their own journey to locate an order for a customer based on details provided.

The target of this type of search is the Order Management System (OMS) or Order History database.

Types of Order Search:

  • Order Status – authorized user retrieves the status of an order, using order reference/number as input. Status is rendered as a “user friendly” term. Order Status search can be provided by any channel.
  • Order History Search – authorized user retrieves the order(s) matching specific parameters – what product(s) were ordered, customer ID, date of order, etc.
  • Shipping Status – search renders the present shipping or fulfillment status of the order.

    Sitecore Experience Commerce can integrate with Order Management systems, fulfillment providers, ERP, inventory systems and workflows to execute downstream and upstream fulfillment of an order. It also integrates with third party fulfillment services to allow customers to access their shipping status for orders placed. Personalization opportunities exist for the customer’s experience based on the order history of a customer and what attributes of the order specifically are searched. More information on the Orders service in Sitecore Experience Commerce can be found here, and the Fulfillment service here.

4. Site Search

This method supports customers who are looking for specific content on a website channel, or specific assets (e.g. PDFs of product instructions). These customers will not need to browse content, and they know exactly what they are looking for. Shopping may not be part of the journey in this case.

The target of this type of search is specific Content Items and/or Content Assets.

Types of Site Search:

  • Content Search – customer searches (using search box) for specific static content (text, etc.) that is located on the website or other channel
  • User Generated Content search – customer searches (using search box) for specific content in user generated content such as a review of a product
  • Search Engine – organic search through search engine leading to static content
  • Asset Search - customers search for specific assets (PDFs, Excel spreadsheets)

Sitecore Experience Commerce is part of the Sitecore Experience Platform, a world class platform in this space, including content management. Site Search capabilities incorporate the Experience Platform to provide this feature. SEO is configurable using the Experience Platform. Personalization opportunities also exist for the customer experience based on the nature of what was searched on the site. More information on Sitecore Experience Platform can be found here. 


Not sure how to implement an ideal Sitecore Experience Commerce search experience for your brand? Connect with Avanade to get started.

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