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Bring Social to Search, and Search to Social

June 28, 2011


Recently, I was listening to APM’s Marketplace Tech Report which highlighted how Google and Bing are now including social content such as Twitter and Facebook postings in natural search results. The report left me wondering how retailers can leverage social search to drive traffic to their sites.

So … I decided to contact eCommerce search partner, SLI Systems, to learn more about how this new trend has impacted their site search and navigation solutions. During our conversation, we talked about ways retailers can combine social and search to enhance the customer’s shopping experience. Here are some of them:

    Yarn.com - Click to enlarge
  • Index social media content in site search results: If you have blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook wall posts, videos on YouTube or photos on Flickr, all of this content should appear in your site search results – possibly in a separate tab, as Yarn.com handles it.











  • Cables Unlimited - Click to enlarge

  • Place Facebook “like” buttons on product pages: This will encourage site visitors to share your products with their friends. In addition, Facebook “likes” can improve the page’s ranking on Internet search engines, like Bing or Google. You can also import the number of likes that each product has into your site search index and allow your site visitors to reorder site search results so the products with the most “likes” are ranked highest.








  • Chaparral on Facebook - Click to Enlarge

  • Add site search to your Facebook page: You can add a search box to your company Facebook page, and results will appear within Facebook. This is a good way to build stronger relationships with shoppers who like to combine shopping with social networking. Here is Chaparral Motorsports’ Facebook search.










  • TripAdvisor - Click to Enlarge

  • Implement Facebook Sign-In for your store: A more advanced integration between Facebook and your commerce site is allowing visitors to use their Facebook profile as their account on your store. This reduces the amount of information visitors need to provide to create an account with your site. This functionality can also trigger personalized content for the user based on their friend’s activity on the site. TripAdvisor does a good job of encouraging Facebook Sign-In and using friends’ activity to promote certain destinations or trips.





  • TOMS How We Wear Them - Click to Enlarge

  • Encourage user generated content and tie to social networks: When Guidance designed TOMS Shoes website, our User Experience and Design team looked for ways to combine the customer’s passion for the brand’s canvas shoe and the popularity of social networks. They came up with How We Wear Them, a section on TOMS’ site that allows users to upload a photo of themselves wearing their favorite pair of TOMS. The user associates the shoe in the photo to a SKU in the catalog, linking directly to that product detail page (PDP) and is then prompted to share the photo on Facebook. These images are then represented as thumbnails on the PDP, adding a social touch to the buying experience.




Got any tips of your own? Share them with me via Twitter, @EdwardPKennedy, or via @guidance.