Revolutionize the e-commerce experience with intelligent unified search

man looking at a camera on an e-commerce site - iTalent Digital blog

There was a time when search engines were the latest and greatest thing. They were considered revolutionary because they let you go to any site, enter a few words, and get exactly what you were looking for. 

However, that time is now decades in the past. Today’s customers are too busy and dealing with too much information overload to be satisfied with simple search. They no longer want to go searching for needles in haystacks; they want companies to search those haystacks automatically and deliver the needles to them.

Website users today don’t just want any old information provided, either—they want the right information based on the search intent they have expressed. And if you had some way to read their minds—even better!

It is for this reason that search has evolved from plain search boxes, through federated search, to unified search and finally to intelligent unified searchIntelligent unified search organizes and indexes data from multiple repositories in a unified index, and uses machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to provided the right data as long as it is indexed. 

As we show in this article, it can also go beyond responsive search to predicting what a user will want based on previous input or initial keystrokes (predictive search) and provide many other capabilities, as well.

Understanding unified search conceptually is very important, but to really grasp what it can do for you, it’s essential to look at actual real-world use cases. In this article, we look at how unified search can powerfully benefit e-commerce platforms. 

Our exploration is broken down into five areas that are critically important for modern e-commerce: product search, product recommendations, personalization, merchandising, and product badging/social proofing.

1. Product search

E-commerce is probably the most obvious place where unified search is able to flex its muscles. Potential customers come to your site to buy your goods and services, but they can leave with just a click or a tap, so you want them to both stay interested in your offerings and quickly find what they are looking for.

Unified search enables better user engagement, reduces frustration, and helps strike the word “potential” from the phrase “potential customer.”

Intelligent unified search tools use advanced machine learning algorithms to dramatically simplify and accelerate product discovery. They become smarter as they observe user interactions and can assist shoppers with real-time suggestions, increasing the chance of making a sale.

These smart tools can also guide shoppers to the product categories most likely to be of interest to them and deliver intent-aware search results. All of the above can be done using a variety of rich media to make products “come to life” to enhance their marketability.

2. Product recommendations

Many users come to your site not knowing what they want. The better your platform is at helping them find the exact match that will delight them, the better the chances are that you will convert them into customers. 

A unified search function not only makes it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, but its understanding of your product base allows it to provide intelligent suggestions for users to consider. These recommendations may be based on the user’s past browsing behavior, expressed search intent, the search history of the broader body of users, and other factors, all weighted and analyzed by powerful AI algorithms. 

Smart prediction systems can go beyond what’s most popular, suggesting niche products that may be relevant to a specific individual. And since you maintain control of how the recommendation engine works, you can tweak it based on what works best for your business.

The end result? Happy shoppers, memorable experiences, and a healthier bottom line.

3. Personalization

All the users of your site want to be treated like the unique individuals they are—not like numbers. Unified search platforms intelligently analyze users and tailor the e-commerce experience based on their needs and wants, whether they are first-time shoppers, returning customers, or visitors who are “just browsing.” 

Unified search can use data from a wide variety of sources to tailor the shopping experience. This includes historical customer data, marketing information, search context analysis, and information shared directly by the user.

Intelligent search can also help guide potential customers through the purchasing experience via context-sensitive messaging, highlighting relevant sales and promos, and even following up with customers after they have left the site. These personalized experiences play a vital role in improving your engagement and user retention rates.

4. Merchandising

In the era of intelligent unified search, merchandising has been dramatically transformed. In the past, it tended to be more about guessing customer preferences, but now it’s about leveraging data and AI to make informed decisions that increase the appeal of products and services. Insight-driven merchandising strategies create “must-buy” e-commerce experiences, driving revenue and generating higher profits. 

A unified search engine can help you realize the true potential of your e-commerce site. Use it to experiment and see what works to enhance engagement and conversion. You can test out merchandising strategies quickly without having to wait for IT development cycles or taking unnecessary risks. Analytics dashboards provide the information you need to act quickly and decisively.

5. Product badges and social proofing

In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, AI-enabled unified search also enables powerful product badging and social proofing. Dynamic product badging, powered by real-time data and automation, can help build trust with shoppers and encourage them to take action when considering a purchase.

Intelligent unified search platforms let you set up badging and proofing systems quickly, monitor their use, and make smart adjustments on the fly to maximize engagement via both automatic social proofing and customizable manual merchandising.

These capabilities help your platform in its constant evolution from “a place to buy things” toward a powerful, enjoyable place that customers actually want to come back to and experience over and over.

How iTalent can help

iTalent Digital partners with Coveo to deliver intelligent unified search solutions that transform e-commerce experiences one customer at a time.

By empowering product discovery, providing predictive product recommendations, offering personalized user experiences, enabling strategic merchandising, and utilizing the power of social proofing and product badges, these AI-powered platforms are revolutionizing e-commerce, leading to both happier users and enhanced profitability. 

Our enterprise search team has all the Coveo certifications required for e-commerce applications. Contact us at to speak about how to revolutionize the e-commerce experience for your customers. Or, visit our Enterprise Search and Personalization Practice web page to learn more about our intelligent search services.

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