How Semantic Search Engines Can Help Ecommerce

Semantic search engines have redefined the way enterprises “read” unstructured data. But how are they designed to help ecommerce platforms? This article takes a closer look.

Search has evolved to come a long way and today search engines work in a completely different way than they used to, say even a few years ago. Today, search engines have bid adieu to the age old keyword based approach and instead have embraced new technology like semantic search, artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and more to ensure more relevant, faster, and more accurate results. Today, we have enterprise search engines like 3RDi Search, Coveo, and Commvault that are powered by the same list of technology and these tools are designed to help enterprises create an enhanced search experience.

While the concept of semantics has helped many enterprises across sectors, there are certain industries that have been the highest gainers due to the advent of this technology. The Ecommerce sector is one of them and today every big name in ecommerce uses semantic search.

How it was Before the Advent of Semantic Search Engines

We all know how important it is for an ecommerce website to ensure that it’s search box functions well and makes it easy for users to get the results they want. While this has been made possible with the advent of NLP and AI, it was different before.

Previously, the user had to be extra careful to ensure there were no typos or spell errors in the query. If at all there were any, the website failed to show any results.

For example, if the user typed something in the lines of ‘Sprts Shoes’ instead of ‘Sports Shoes’, missing out on that crucial ‘o’ in ‘Sports’, all that showed up on the screen was ‘Sorry… no products meet your search criteria’.

How Semantic Search Engines Make a Difference

Today, powered by NLP and AI, semantic search engines have the capability to show results even if the query has typos/spell errors in it.

For example, when it comes to the big names in ecommerce, say Amazon, this problem is resolved. So, even if the user types in ‘Sprts Shoes’, he/she will still be presented with a list of Sports Shoes available on the website.

This is just one of the many ways semantics technology makes things different. A good search engine automatically increases the visibility of the products on the site, which in turn leads to a boost in sales. After all, unless users are aware of the products on the site, you cannot expect them to buy, isn’t it? What are they supposed to buy after all?

Here are a few more possibilities that it can add to the capabilities of ecommerce websites:

a] Display of Product Images as a Dropdown from the Search Bar

Today, the user can view a list of relevant products even as he/she types in the query, in the form of a dropdown screen below the search bar. This helps them get an idea of the kind of products to expect even before hitting on the search button.

For example, if the user enters ‘earphones’, he/she can see a list of earphones from different brands on the side panel.

b] More and More Filters Available

With faceted search made possible with modern technology, ecommerce users can apply a wide range of filters to narrow the results. It allows users to apply multiple filters at a time to make it easy for them to find the product they need. This is shown in the screenshot below, where the left panel has a list of filters ranging from size, brand, colour and more.

c] Makes Voice Based Search a Reality

Yes, modern tools offer users the option to look for the products they seek without typing a single word but just by speaking out the query instead. Every big ecommerce website now offers a voice search option. Just look for the Microphone icon at the right hand side of the query box, click on it and get started.

d] Data Analytics Makes it Easy to Understand Customer Behavior

Semantic Search engines today are powered by Analytics that help organizations figure out the user behavior on the website, which products people look for more frequently than the others, and much more information. This information can be used to improve the user experience on the website and also to boost sales.


SoBusiness Management Articles, we see that there are many ways in which semantic search engines can redefine the way users interact with ecommerce websites. And the good news is that this is just the beginning and the future holds endless possibilities.

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