By offering an insight into the types of content and products your customers are searching for – and what your brand needs to prioritize, site search is a valuable source of customer data and a keystone of personalization. But great site search experiences – intuitive interactions that make users feel like they’ve found exactly what they’re looking for quickly and with little effort, help brands build trust and foster loyalty.

The search bar is often the first interaction a visitor has with your site. However, traditional site search engines only serve results for exact matches to user queries. For example, on an insurance provider’s website that uses a traditional site search engine, a visitor who tries searching for ‘EV cover’ will not be served results for ‘car insurance’.

At best, they’ll see a selection of irrelevant results, but more than likely, no results at all. Poor search experiences like this give visitors a reason not to return – they represent an obstacle to conversion - and ultimately, loss of trust in the brand.

How AI-powered search transforms CX

While poor site search can leave customers feeling frustrated and switching to competitor sites, AI-powered search delivers hyper-relevant results lightning-fast in a seemingly intuitive way.

Leveraging machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), AI-powered search uses clustering and classification techniques to train the search engine to understand different words with the same meaning. By processing and interpreting synonyms, spelling and grammatical errors, plus taking into account the user’s behavior, users are guided to the most relevant content based on their context and intent.

Personalized search results

Driven by AI, personalized search determines a user’s goal and serves up results based on its understanding of that goal. For example, if the same user searches for ‘EV cover’ on an AI-powered search engine, the engine uses behavioral signals such as past visits and queries, combined with NLP to correctly predict that they’re looking for information about car insurance for an electric vehicle. Relevant results are then delivered to the user. Best of all, the entire process takes just milliseconds.

To encourage the user to spend more time on site, additional relevant and personalized content can also be provided via AI-powered recommendations. Based on what has been learned about users’ searches, the search algorithm can be updated to embed personalized keyword-related leads in search results.

Thanks to AI, content discovery becomes a highly tailored experience – search responds to the user’s browsing behavior and then influences how they receive content.

Benefits of AI-powered search

  • Increased conversion: Relevant results mean lower bounce rates and higher click-through rates through to product detail pages (PDPs), where you can focus on conversion.
  • Improved CX: By better understanding your customers’ queries, you can engage with them in a more personalized way – a way in which their own words and phrases deliver the right results.
  • More time to focus on scaling: By removing obstacles to conversion, brands have a clear picture of their customers, what resonates with them, and can focus on scaling the campaigns that align with their latest business goals.
  • Insights into user behavior: By analyzing search behavior, brands can identify trends and optimize pages and campaigns based on reliable data.

Personalized search in a composable world

Once brands reach a certain level of digital maturity, they require a digital experience solution that meets the needs of their customers and allows them to scale. With a composable approach, brands have the freedom and flexibility to implement best-of-breed products as and when their business is ready.

Central to this approach is a composable digital experience platform (DXP). Sitecore’s cloud-native, SaaS-enabled platform allows you to pick and choose what products you want to implement to improve your customer experience, from search to purchase to post-sale marketing. Solutions are tailored to Content, Engagement, and Commerce.

Sitecore DXP + Sitecore Search

When plugged into Sitecore’s composable DXP, Sitecore Search provides a next-level search and content discovery solution which allows brands to deliver intuitive, hyper-relevant search results using context-aware AI-powered rules in real-time.

Features include:

  • Predictive suggestions that appear while visitors are typing
  • AI-based rules that amplify specific content based on business goals
  • The flexibility to create a search experience across multiple digital assets, optimized for your audience
  • The ability to incorporate multiple languages and simplify management of global content
  • Engagement insights based on themes and keywords

Sitecore is revolutionizing content management and strategy with its world-leading solutions. Find out more about Sitecore Search and Sitecore’s suite of composable content lifecycle solutions.

Fiona Hilliard is a Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.