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Get Synonyms in Sync for Black Friday

In Ecommerce Site Search, the Customer is Always Right When it Comes to Product Names (Even When They’re Not)

Jessica Farelly
By Jessica Farrelly

Ready for a spelling quiz? Which of the following is correct:

A.) T shirt

B.) T-shirt

C.) Tee shirt

If you answered, “D) It doesn’t matter,” you are correct!

In ecommerce site search, the customer is always right when it comes to product names (even when they’re not). Ultimately, it’s up to your search bar to understand variations and ambiguities in search queries. The secret behind these interpretive powers? Synonyms.


5 Types of Search Synonyms to Optimize for Black Friday 

Synonyms are an advanced site search feature used to accommodate different naming conventions for similar products. For a hyper-relevant search experience this Black Friday, make sure to configure these 5 types of synonyms. 


1. Product Type Synonyms

Regional differences and personal preferences can all shape the language we use to describe everyday products. What one shopper calls a “bathing suit,” another might call a “one piece.” Maybe the majority of your customers search for “sofas,” while some seek out “couches” or “three-seaters.” Products rarely have one single correct name, which is why you can never rely on exact-match keyword search alone. Review your search data to identify common (and not-so-common) variations in shopper search queries, and ensure your synonyms encompass all the possible names that customers could use for your products.  

2. Descriptive Synonyms

Adjectives can be tricky to accommodate in search queries. Take colors, for example. Does your search bar recognize that teal, turquoise, indigo, and aquamarine are all shades of blue? Patterns, styles, and fabrics are other variables to consider. Will a shopper receive zero results for “diamond pattern blanket” because your store categorizes them as “geometric throws”? The potential descriptors for your products may seem endless, but don’t let this discourage you. Long-tail searches indicate a high intent to purchase, so it’s worth investing in relevant results. Create descriptive synonyms based on shopper language in your search reports, and continue to add new terms as they arise over time. 

3. Thematic Synonyms

Thematic search queries are similar to descriptive searches, but they tend to be slightly more vague and open to interpretation. Say, for example, a shopper searches for “fall outfits.” You and I know this customer is probably interested in jeans, boots, shirts, and transitional hats and scarves. Summer dresses and winter coats? Not so much. Likewise, a search for “balcony decor” should produce compact seating options and space-saving accessories – not large dining sets. However, unless you configure your search bar to recognize these specific synonyms, it’s unlikely to understand the nuances behind the shopper’s intent. 

4. Use Case Synonyms

Sometimes, a shopper will search for the problem they’re trying to solve, rather than a specific product. For example, a customer might search for “back pain” or “running injury” on a sporting goods store. In this scenario, a synonym search could return a selection of heat gels, foam rollers, insoles, and support straps. Beauty retailers also commonly encounter this type of query, where shoppers search for “dry skin” or “split ends” instead of moisturizers or hair masks. As always, review search reports to spot relevant use case searches on your store, and set up synonyms accordingly. 

5. Black Friday Synonyms

As Black Friday approaches, shoppers are on the lookout for your best deals. Rather than browse your homepage or categories, some will head straight to the search bar to look for “sales,” “discounts,” or “Black Friday offers.” Make sure to create synonyms for these types of queries so shoppers instantly discover your sale products. Remember, holiday shoppers are also likely to search for terms like “gift guides,” “gifts for her,” or “gift ideas under $100” at this time of year. Create appropriate synonyms for these queries and supplement search results with helpful filters so shoppers can narrow down the perfect products.


Deliver Hyper-Relevant Search with Synonyms 

With so much variation in the way shoppers search, online retailers can’t afford to rely on exact keyword matches. Implement synonyms to level up your search bar, capture the intent behind every type of query, and boost conversions this Black Friday. 

Ready to Win Black Friday? Check out our Black Friday Content Hub for even more ecommerce resources and best practices!