The role of search and browse when building a commerce product

The role of search and browse when building a commerce product

A guest post by Angel Maldonado, Founder at EmpathyBroker

Think of Buying as a dance; a fun movement of attempted balance between emotion and reason, between desire and need.

I love this jacket…mmm, wait…it’s a bit pricy.

Beautiful…Do they have returns?

So unique…Let’s check the reviews.

Of course it is, a dance that needs music, ambient and momentum that dissolves these apparent contradictions into agreement.

“Some Like It Hot” (1959 – Billy Wilder) Tango moment between Jack Lemmon and Joe E. Brown

This is the duality, and behind it is where the success of a Commerce Product lies: Connecting with both the emotional and the rational.

When we enter a store, whether digital or not, there are two possible intentions:

  1. We know what we want
  2. We look for inspiration

And there are also two possible things we can do:

  1. Search
  2. Browse

As with the physical shopping experience, we tend to Search when there is higher commitment and Browse when there isn’t. We either start with Search or with Browse, and if these are the only two ways forward, why shouldn’t these be the centre of a Commerce product?

Nowadays, Commerce products tend to be designed, architected and built driven by features, logic and reason, looking to solve the Shopping Process as an information system as opposed to a communication system. As a set of steps, inputs and outputs, that need to function rather than dealing with People.

When these steps are finally resolved, only then is when a Commerce product is extended to incorporate Search and Browse, therefore considering Search as an add-on, as an afterthought, as something to append rather than something to pivot around.

As a result, many stores have struggled, inherently and by design, to dissolve with the essence and nature of the Search and Browse pathways.

But it needn’t be this way. Commerce products and tools are now starting to change by shifting from what they have been; Functioning tools, to what they aspire to be; Experience tools, a radically different vision to which Search (and Browse) finally becomes the connecting tissue, an association between the Buyer’s intentions and the Store’s offerings.

If you’d like to hear more about this or our thoughts on digital empathy and placing people and experiences at the centre of your products, we´d love to talk to you so please come and see us on our stand at INDUSTRY Europe 2018.

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. He's a co-founder of Product Collective, a 10,000+ strong worldwide community of product people. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.

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