WEB EDGE: GUIDED SEARCH
The problem with many search products, the sort you have on a retail site, is that they are too picky. If a customer types in a query with a misspelling or inexact wording, the search results will read, “We’re sorry...no items match that listing.”
Enter “guided search,” a group of online products that operate more like a wizard, walking customers through a variety of different options. So, if a customer searches for HDTV, an assisted search mechanism will ask questions about what size, brand, and price the customer might prefer and then present a range of possibilities.
Phil Quinn, president of Quinn Interactive, a Web design and development firm in San Francisco, likes the hosted products of a company called Webside Story. “With guided search, I’m going to get the best match to what I’m really looking for, not an exact match of my words. Conversion rates can sometimes double because people are finding appropriate products. It pays for itself very quickly.” —AG