Can vehicle searches on dealer sites stand to be improved?

Ryan Gerardi

Was doing some research today about Natural Language Search and got to wondering if any dealer sites are utilizing this?

NLS understands user intent and matches the same with attributes in your product catalog (vehicle inventory) and can provide high relevance.

Search filters are common on some platforms, I know, where users can turn dials and slide levers and input filtering criteria. NLS would accomplish the same thing through the search bar, via voice and text.

I did some test searches on Amazon and as expected, the more info you place into the search bar, the less likely you are to receive a result. 

For instance, searching 'jaybird x3 sparta noise cancelling wireless' returns 0 results when in fact they do have such a product

NLS is known to improve search results. Which got me wondering, could searches on dealer sites stand to be improved, or is it a non-issue?

Thoughts...

Chris K Leslie

I think it’s a non issue really. Most makes only have a handful of Sku’s. I suppose it could help for Parts sales though. 

Derrick Woolfson

While it is not what the thread is pertaining to - there are dealers that need to improve their inventory menus on their dealer websites. There are so many dealers whose sites do not work well on mobile, and it is very difficult to search for inventory. Or worse, their search field on the site is limited. But as for web searches, it is very rare that a customer would search a very specific search. 

Ryan Gerardi

So Chris you think it's a non-issue, but Derek you think search on mobile could be improved.

Good point about Parts search, Chris. 

Phil Johnston

Personally, I don't think the end user would understand what to put into a generic NLS search field. It is awkward because you'd end up with searches like, "I just want a car" and the NLS system without any context wouldn't know what to do with it. Amazon has some context based on your search & purchase & viewing & listening histories. When you engage with Amazon they listen so they can present you with things that will convert.

For a dealer IMHO the better use of NLS would be to prompt a user with a question, "describe how you use your vehicle on the weekends and we'll try to find you a car" or "describe how you used your car last Tuesday and we'll see what we can do to find you the right car".  

I've spent a lot of time optimizing searching for vehicles and have found that if you can get into the mind of your "highest-potential-to-convert" user. Then provide that person with a search interface they are expecting, you will do well.

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