Coupon Codes Page

Shari’s Berries ( knows shoppers are trained to hunt for coupon codes.  Instead of having shoppers visit sites like or Shari’s Berries wants to keep coupon searchers on their site.  So they’ve created a page that lists their current coupons.  This is a win-win for both the shopper (convenience) and retailer (saving on affiliate fees, plus preventing a site like from showing a better discount code from competitors.)

Candle Burning Times

Saw a great video interview on Dr. Ralph Wilson’s site with Brad Geddes.  Brad talks about using search queries to discern user intent and provides a fantastic example:

A search for “candle burning times” indicates a person who needs more infomation before making a purchase. Instead of sending them to a product page, provide the information they need, then send them to the appropriate product. Take time to provide needed information before asking for the sale.

The specific suggestion not included in this quote is to create a landing page with a table that shows different burn times for different types of candles in your inventory.  This content can then be linked to your various product pages.

What People Want

The oddest thing happened today. I was looking up traffic data for on and happened to notice the top 5 keywords that drive traffic to the site (look under Search Analytics in the image below).


I did a double take on noticing two of the most popular terms were chocolate + “hacker safe” and boxed chocolate + “hacker safe”. Though initially shocked I quickly realized people really are smart, this search term speaks volumes about factors people consider when searching online. Just a gentle reminder to never assume anything.

What Do Customers Want?

In his book Meatball Sundae Seth Godin lists a list:

Army wife
Costume alternatives

These (in alphabetical order) are the top 10 searches on, the 284th most popular website in the world.

No tee shirt retailer could have predicted this is what customers wanted.

What cafe press has done is flip the product development model. Instead of guessing what customers want and then promoting it like crazy can sit back and listen to their customers long before sending orders to their printing shop.

So what lesson does this list have for retailers?

Retailers that just want to use their online store to sell more of what they sell offline are completely missing out on the new paradigm of commerce. They need to look at the web as an opportunity because this is the first time they can listen to their customers, not just focus groups and survey respondents, but their entire customer base. Those who make sense of their customer chatter will be the giants of tomorrow.

Related post: Discovering New Categories

Re-pointing Bad Results

Marketers review searches on their eCommerce sites fairly regularly. The modus operandi is to redirect ‘0 results found’ terms to appropriate pages. While this is a good strategy it does not leverage on the wisdom of crowds. To really get a sense of what the query intended I would take that search term and paste it on Google to see what pops up.

I bought convertible mittens (this is how I describe them) from my local Macy’s but when I performed that search on their site got no results. Click on the images below to see the ‘live’ pages:

convertible mittens macy’s search.png

I certainly cannot expect to know the meaning of my made up term convertible mittens but I knew some smart online marketer would understand it so I performed the same search on Google and instantaneously found multiple exact results:

convertible mittens - Google searches.png

Retailers could greatly improve sites search results if they ran ‘0 results found’ on Google before pointing them to specific product pages.

PS: Just in case you were wondering what convertible mittens are here is an image: Convertible Gloves/Mittens

Other articles about in-site search: Top sellers, Top seller lists

Return Policy

Fact 1: 40% of all visitors use in-site search

Fact 2: Shoppers are concerned about return policy of retailers

Therefore, at least a few shoppers use in-site search to review a retailers return policy.

Lets see how most eTailers performed…….

Bed Bath and Beyond
Barnes and Noble