May 16, 2007, 12:00 AM

Most new e-commerce platforms designed with ‘faceted’ search, Venda says

90% of the e-commerce platforms provided by Venda in the past year have been designed with “faceted” site search and navigation, which helps shoppers more quickly find that black, cashmere, size large sweater, CEO Jeff Max says.

90% of the e-commerce platforms provided by Venda Inc. in the past year have been designed with “faceted” site search and navigation, which helps shoppers more quickly find that black, cashmere, size large sweater, CEO Jeff Max says. “Faceted” is a term used among developers of site search to describe the ability of a search function to produce search results based on multiple attributes of a searched-for item.

“As soon as this faceted navigation became available on our platform last year, nine out of 10 clients requested it,” Max says.

The site search-and-navigation technology, which is being offered by a number of site search technology providers, relies on internal data mapping that ties an initial term entered into a search window to all of the attributes tied to the searched-for product. If a shopper enters the term “sweater,” for example, the search feature would show links to several attributes such as multiple colors, materials and styles taken from products that are currently in stock. To drill down to a preferred type of sweater, the shopper would either follow the attribute links or enter new search terms.

Making these systems effective, however, also requires strong data integration with back-end inventory systems. “These systems are only as good as the data that drive them,” Max says. “If a platform’s data structure is not mapped with this faceted search and navigation in mind, it might not pull out the fact that ‘black’ or ‘cashmere’ are attributes of a sweater to provide the shopper with a useful search experience.”

The search and navigation feature on Venda’s platform, he adds, also supports natural search. A shopper could enter a term like “pinkish golf pants,” for instance, to produce related attribute links, he adds.

 

 

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