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Search

Search is an important part of any e-commerce site and typically caters for visitors who are looking for something particular. These visitors tend to have a strong purchase intent which makes them a significant part of a site's sales.

The search in eSales Lifestyle is based on sophisticated query analysis together with our product listing relevance capabilities, which includes product life cycle analysis, visitor behavioural insights, and more.

Query analysis

The eSales Lifestyle query analysis is used for both search results and product suggestions, and impacts the phrase suggestions in the Autocomplete query. It combines basic text processing with advanced features such as natural language processing, concept understanding, and multi-level spelling corrections to truly capture the visitors search intent.

Lemmatisation and word scanning

Advanced techniques such as lemmatisation and word scanning are used on all searches and content.

Pluralisation handling

Regardless if a visitor searches for something in singular or plural form the result will be the same. Terms in a search phrase that the query analysis find to be in plural are considered to be equally valid as the singular term, so a visitor searching for dress will see the same products as when searching for dresses.

The pluralisation is treated separately from stemming and includes special handling of words that may seem like a plural version but in reality aren't, such as shorts not being the plural of short.

Multi-level spelling corrections

Spelling corrections of a search phrase are automatically performed during a search. This enables visitors to find what they are looking for even if they misspell it. In addition, the automatic corrections allow visitors to find products where the product data itself is misspelled or have spelling variations. For example, if a visitor searches for adidas and the brand name of a product is misspelled as addidas, the product with the misspelled name will be found.

The level of differentiation between the phrase and the content is furthermore something considered in the ranking, allowing relevant products not to be left out but less likely interpretations to be ranked lowered.

Colour

A search phrase often include the colour of a product thus making colour an important concept to understand. Based on identification of colour terms in the search query and colour analysis of garments, eSales Lifestyle can apply colour closeness as a part of the ranking. Both how well the queried colour matches the precise nuance of a garment, as well as how much of that nuance that is present in the garment.

Colour distance

Colour distance

A visitor searching for a product of a specific colour, such as burgundy, expects to see products of that particular nuance. The definition of burgundy might however vary slightly between different customers and it is important to showcase all relevant products.

Using a colour distant measurement called CIE-distance (Commission internationale de l'éclairage), eSales Lifestyle is able to correctly consider the colour match criteria based on nuance of each product. This allows variations that leans slightly towards purple or lighter red to be incorporated, but lower ranked.

Colour distribution

When searching for a product in a specific colour, a visitor expects to primarily find products in that colour, not products where that colour is one of many. For example, a white and blue striped shirt has two colours. Conventionally a product like this would be tagged with the colours white and blue and appear when a visitor searches for either white shirt or blue shirt as a colour criteria is met.

Colour distribution

The more of the colour in the search phrase that is present in the product, the better the product is considered to match the colour criteria.

Title

The product titles often hold significant information and are thus considered especially important for match ranking.

Product titles are however special in yet another aspect. They often consist of a composition of other values. For example, a title may very well be a combination of both its proper name, the product type and a colour name.

Normally, a full match of an attribute is ranked higher than a partial match. Product titles are an exception to this due to the their special composition. This means that the search query shirt matches the titles shirt and Elana shirt - pink rose equally well.

Product taxonomy

To prevent misleading hits within categories with multiple product types and an & in the title, such as Scarves & Hats, eSales Lifestyle differentiates product taxonomies. For example, products tagged with the category Scarves & Hats do not necessarily match the term hat as it might very well be a scarf.

Size

To avoid prefix matches that a visitor does not expect, an exact match is required when searching for sizes. For example, when searching for one piece a visitor does not expect to get all products that are available in onesize after typing one.

Phrase coverage

If a visitor is searching for a t-shirt, it does not matter if the search phrase used is t-shirt, tshirt, or t shirt. It will all return the same result. The dynamic phrase coverage ensures that not only is the queried data present in the product, but it also provides additional relevant matches.

Synonyms

Synonyms are used to extend searches of a phrase to include similar search phrases. For example, a synonym is used to also search for holidays when using the search phrase christmas. Management of synonyms are made in the Synonyms tab in the Experience app. In addition to the manually added synonyms, the Natural language processing capabilities enables the use of automated conceptual synonyms.

Natural language processing

Natural language processing capabilities are made available though combining intelligent query analysis and making use of deeper knowledge of various concepts and their significance and how they relate. This includes a variety of different concepts such as colours, product types, events, materials and shapes. Read more about how this enriched data is used by eSales Lifestyle brings more relevance to a visitor.

The next generation of Lifestyle Search

Concept differentiation

By being able to differentiate between the concepts and deduce the more likely intent by the visitor, products can be ranked with consideration to the intent. For example, a visitor searching for light blue it is more likely that they are searching for a garment in a light shade of blue, rather than a blue light, or a lightweight blue garment.

With regular prefix search, the visitor always gets an expanded view of the search phrase. For example an executed search for blue sh might result in blue shorts, shirts, shirt dresses and so on. This is great in many cases but can also mean that irrelevant results are mixed with relevant results. With intelligent prefix, prefix results not matching the perceived visitor intent, can be strongly demoted or even omitted.

For example, while a visitor is typing blue shirt in the search field, phrase and product suggestions may include blue shirt dresses. The visitor intent is not known as it isn't clear if the visitor has finished typing. If a visitor executes a search on blue shirt however, eSales Lifestyle understands that blue shirt dresses are a lot less relevant and will be demoted or omitted from the results entirely.

Search result expansion

Sometimes a search result benefits from being expanded with additional products or product types, but all results must still be relevant to the visitor's search intent. Applying data knowledge of concept relations, eSales Lifestyle can be used to expand search results with closely related products.

For example, a search for green cardigans may additionally to green cardigans, display green sweaters at the bottom.

Multi-language search support

For many sites, some visitors use English in their search phrases despite the site being localised in a different language. Searches and completions with known concepts in English are automatically understood and catered, even if product data is provided in the locale of the market. This reduces the need for manually localised synonyms for known concepts.

Multi-language search support is currently available for sites localised to Swedish and Norwegian.

Automated conceptual synonyms

Since concepts are automatically extracted from the data and a concept can be identified through multiple terms, known synonyms automatically works for extracted concepts without any manual work.

The search engine applies knowledge of the fact that a concept can be expressed in multiple terms during both data processing and query analysis. This means that products are automatically made findable using terminology that does not appear in the product data at all. An example of a known synonym concept is lady to woman. Even if lady is not part of a product's data, but woman is, eSales Lifestyle will find the product if lady is used in the search.

Hierarchical concept query analysis

Since eSales Lifestyle understands concept hierarchies, all identified concepts are automatically made findable though known ancestral concepts. For example, a light blue shirt is automatically understood to also be a blue shirt. Another example is that a 'blouse' automatically means that it's a 'top', where as all 'tops' aren't 'blouses'.

Understanding the relation also improves phrase suggestions to facilitate the user journey. An example is by applying the knowledge that a blouse is a top. A visitor typing wrap blouse will not suggest wrap blouse top as it would be redundant and the addition of 'top' insignificant. When typing wrap top however, wrap top blouse could be relevant as this will refine the result.


Last update: June 18, 2021
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