Importance of Spelling Mistakes in Search for Ecommerce

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Search plays an important role in an e-commerce store and is responsible for the customer experience and sales. Some stores understand this but some don’t; hence, some do improvements constantly and use different methods to deliver advanced search features but some end up in losses. However, not all stores that understand the importance of search engines and work for improvement can guarantee success.

So, you must be thinking “but why?”. It is because of a major problem which is spelling mistakes in searches. But, you can’t blame the customers for these spelling mistakes; otherwise, your growth will stop and your store will face the consequences. Instead, you have to focus on how you can solve this problem and stand out among other competitors.

Now, let’s understand the importance of spelling mistakes that many e-commerce store owners can’t manage to find a solution for and how you can turn this problem in your favour.

Impact of Spelling Mistakes in Search for E-commerce

Let’s check out two studies. According to the first study, 10% of searches contain spelling mistakes, and 50% of these searches lead to zero results. This means it can cause you a 5%-10% loss in total sales if you fail to deliver the results for searches with spelling mistakes. On the other hand, if you manage to deliver the results to searches with spelling mistakes it will make your e-commerce store look more attractive and optimized to customers of other stores. This way you can increase your sales by 5%-10% or even more.
In the second study when finding out how many ways words were misspelt shocking results were obtained it was seen that –

Customers misspelt “Jumpsuit” in 216 ways, and “bodysuit” in 223 ways.
Hence if you underestimated the impact of spelling mistakes in the first study, the second study must have proven the impact of spelling mistakes. If your e-commerce store manages to serve results to these search texts with spelling errors, you can enhance your sales potential.

Fuzzy and Phonetic Searches

If you analyze these spelling mistakes, you can see the intention of the user. For example, if a person searches “sneeker,” perhaps he is looking for ”sneakers” or if a person searches “pajamas” then perhaps he is looking for “pyjamas”. There are two ways to solve this problem – using a third-party plug-in and manual mapping. Tackling this issue is necessary to stand out from other e-commerce stores. But, if you ignore this issue then your store will probably lose its sales and customers after some time if not suddenly.

Do Manual Mapping Work?

Avoiding the expense of a third-party plug-in will lead to e-commerce stores washing their hands from their customers. But, Instead of using a third-party plug-in, you can do Manual Mapping. This means the e-commerce stores manually analyze the misspelt words and map them to products respectively.

It can work for some time if you own a small catalogue of products. But, you’ll face challenges in scaling the store. It is because Manual Mapping in a big catalogue of products is less efficient than using a third-party plug-in like ExpertRec. The two biggest disadvantages of Manual Mapping are:

  • First, You can’t manually handle misspellings at large scales of traffic and catalogue which will eventually lead to big losses in customers and sales.
  • Second, You will need a large team of people to manually map misspelt words to the right products respectively. But, that’s not enough. Another problem attached to the large team is efficiency according to data. This large team can only map 30%-40% of misspelt searches.

Solution: Optimizing Search for Spelling Mistakes

The one-stop solution for capturing spelling mistakes and giving accurate or relevant results is using a third-party plug-in like Expertrec. Expertrec offers several important features like fuzzy search and phonetic search. Fuzzy search delivers results matching with the nearest correct spelling word – for example, for a search “sneaker”, it will deliver results of sneakers. However, phonetic search delivers results for misspelt terms based on their pronunciation. A combo of these two features offered by Expertrec can kill the spelling mistake problem which will lead to a significant boost in sales and traffic to your e-commerce store.

Another solution is to use a “did you mean” feature that suggests to customers an alternative as you have seen in the Google search engine. This
feature helps a customer to correct his searched text and also suggests him related words to the searched text. It is very helpful in searching uncommon or difficult-to-spell product names. For example, if a customer searches for “philodendron,” this feature could suggest “philodendron” as an alternative term.

Businesses can also analyze common spelling mistakes and can add the same search results for them as for the correct term. For example, if a significant portion of customers is searching for “sneakers,” an e-commerce store may consider adding “sneekers” as a synonym for “sneakers” in their search engine so that people can still find relevant results.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, evidence from the studies has clearly shown the potential of misspelt words. There is no doubt that it is crucial to solve this problem to thrive in the market. Different approaches can be used to solve this, however, the best approach accepted by everyone is to use a third-party plug-in like Expertrec that offers advanced search features like fuzzy search and phonetic search to deliver accurate results.
Many stores try to solve this by other methods like Manual mapping but even with a large team of employees, they can’t reach half of the efficiency of an efficient third-party plug-in. Hence, it is strongly recommended to use a third-party plug-in to serve a better and more comfortable user experience to your customers which is one of the most vital things to keep your e-commerce store running and growing.


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