Native Search is Starting to Step on Google’s Toes

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walmart-logo-300x225Benjamin Spiegel of Marketing Land reports, “Historically, consumers have used Google for research in every step of the purchasing process, all the way up the sales funnel… In recent years, however, we have observed some interesting changes in customer behavior — one of the main ones being that consumers are starting to favor native search over Google search for lower-funnel terms. This is something retailers can take advantage of during the upcoming holiday shopping season — and, indeed, year-round.So what exactly is native search? Native search is the search functionality inside the different platforms or websites. Simply put, it’s the search box on e-retail sites like Amazon, Walmart and CVS, or in category sites like Edmunds and Newegg.”

Spiegel continues, “Based on our research, consumers are still starting their search for lifestyle and general interest terms like [best laundry detergent for grass stains] or [best off-road car] within Google; but, once they identify a product or category, they now move more often into the e-retail and category sites to delve further and refine their search there. Why is this happening? While there is no concrete survey data, I believe it’s due in part to these four factors.”

The first factor Spiegel identifies is better results filtering: “With ever-evolving technology in the search sector, the search engines that power sites like Amazon (A9) are now more advanced when it comes to category-level product research. They provide the ability to filter by very specific features like size, weight, and many more. Although Amazon is clearly leading from a technology perspective, other retailers are following suit. In recent years, companies like Walmart have invested heavily in their search technology, as demonstrated by the 2012 release of Walmart’s semantic engine. By leveraging the Social Genome project, Walmart was able to get a semantic understanding of queries and understand that when someone searches for denim, they are also interested in results matching jeans.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy Walmart

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