3 Must-Have Product Discovery Strategies for Shopify Plus Stores

If you’re looking to optimize your product discovery strategies, you’ve come to the right place. The more quickly your shoppers can find exactly what they are looking for, the more likely they will buy from your store. This is especially important with growing competition in the eCommerce space. 

Sounds easy enough, but your product range, merchandising tasks, and competition are likely even more immense when you have a Shopify Plus store. And the cost of not optimizing your product discovery could be immense. 

Whether you are an eCommerce marketer, merchandising manager, or Shopify Plus brand owner, we’ve got you covered with leading strategies. But first, we will go over the basics — answering these key questions: 

Let’s jump in.

Why Do Optimized Product Search and Discovery Strategies Matter? 

In today’s market, if potential customers face too much friction when searching for the product they need, they will lose interest pretty fast. A robust search and discovery strategy ensures you can: 

  • Increase your sales volume and AOVs 
  • Improve customer satisfaction and, as a result, long-term retention 
  • Amplify conversions of first-time shoppers 
  • Control which products you want shoppers to see, and when (advanced merchandising

Which Is More Critical — Search or Discovery? 

We know that both product search and product discovery are essential. However, while they are similar, they actually require very different approaches or strategies.  

While product search refers to the action of shopping and looking for a product, discovery is more about showing a customer the right product at the right time. Ultimately, it is designed to persuade them of something they perhaps didn’t intend to buy but would be highly interested in. 

The bottom line is you need both working together to convert while improving revenue potential from each sale and long-term retention. 

Let’s say a shopper is browsing your fashion Shopify Plus brand and looking for something very specific, like a pair of black leggings. They would purposely search in the search bar for what they are looking for. It’s vital that what they see first is what they are looking for and that the search process is as fast and seamless as possible. 

If they also see a product recommendation for a matching crop top in their search or on the product page, that would be a well-optimized discovery.  

While the search function is more transactional and targeted, product discovery (in this case, the top) is more exploratory and unexpected — but on point for that shopper. Both mechanisms are important for different types of user intent in the context of product interaction.

What Are the Key Elements of Offsite Product Discovery?

  1. PPC and digital ads. Targeted online advertising through platforms like Google Ads can capture potential customers' attention and direct them to your product.
  1. Email marketing. Newsletters and targeted email campaigns, especially when combined with personalized product collections, bring browsers back to your store. 
  1. USG/word of mouth. Personal product recommendations that occur online and offline can be a powerful, yet inexpensive discovery tool. 
  1. Social commerce. Platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, etc., help users discover products they might be interested in, even if they're not actively searching for them.  
  1. Review sites. Websites that compare and review products can influence potential buyers and guide them to your product.
  1. Content marketing. Third-party guest posts, webinars, and other types of content can introduce potential customers to your product in an educational context.
  1. Affiliate marketing. Publishers or affiliates that promote your product on their platforms will drive shoppers to your product page in exchange for a commission.
  1. Influencer/brand partnerships. Collaborating with influencers can expand product reach to new audiences.
  1. Marketplaces. Platforms like Amazon or eBay serve as an additional discovery channel, especially for products that have good reviews and visibility.
  1. PR. PR, articles, or product mentions in industry publications can significantly boost product discovery.

What Are the Key Elements of Onsite Product Discovery?

  1. Search functionality. A robust search engine with autocomplete, filters, and sorting options helps users quickly find what they're looking for.
  1. Navigation and UX. Intuitive menus, categorization, and a user-friendly interface guide visitors toward products they might be interested in.
  1. Product recommendations. Personalized suggestions based on browsing history, cart contents, or other users' behavior can drive additional discovery.
  1. Featured product. Highlighting new arrivals, bestsellers, or discounted items on the homepage or relevant sections can entice users to explore more.
  1. Landing pages. Specialized pages for promotions, seasons, or types of products can funnel users toward specific items.
  1. Reviews and ratings. Reviews and ratings give users more confidence in the product and can influence their decision to purchase.
  1. Quick views. Pop-up or hover-over previews that give more information without needing to leave the current page can improve user engagement.
  1. Chat support. Live or automated chat can assist in guiding the customer to the products they are looking for, providing real-time assistance.
  1. CTAs and banners. Clear and compelling calls to action, such as "Learn More" or "Add to Cart," can help guide users through the discovery process.

Now, let’s look at advanced strategies for Shopify Plus Stores. 

3 Must-Have Product Discovery Strategies for Shopify Plus Stores

It goes without saying that you should already be implementing discovery strategies that harness the power of personalization, customer journey optimization, frictionless navigation, and long-term retention. But that is no longer enough — not if you want to compete in a big way. 

Here are three advanced product discovery strategies Shopify Plus store managers and marketers should focus on in 2024. These are: 

  1. Factoring in retail KPIs into your product discovery strategies
  2. Upgrading to advanced AI and automation
  3. Investing big in eCommerce discovery trends 

Let’s go through them. 

1. Factoring in Retail KPIs into Your Product Discovery Strategies 

When it comes to successful online merchandising, it's all about finding that sweet spot. You want a strategy that not only rakes in the profits but also plays nicely with your marketing and retail KPIs

This strategic balancing act lets you meet your store's needs while catering to what your potential customers are after. 

The result? Better odds of turning visitors into loyal customers and raking in more earnings with every sale. 

Jewelry retailer Swarovski increased profits by 8% in just four weeks by factoring inventory KPIs into their product discovery strategy. They did this by shifting slow-moving inventory without disrupting bestseller revenue and overall conversion rates. 

Here are some steps you can follow: 

  1. Audit your entire customer journey
  2. Introduce inventory optimization analytics 
  3. Review and optimize your store’s shopping experience
  4. Combine retail KPIs with personalization 
  5. Add advanced merchandising automation and AI that tweaks discovery strategies in real-time based these KPIs 
  6. Review and upgrade your product display locations 
  7. Add 1:1 personalization to product recommendations 

You can read more about this strategy here

2. Upgrading to Advanced AI and Automation 

In today's competitive eCommerce landscape, understanding customer behavior and preferences is essential for driving sales and increasing customer satisfaction. However, as we mentioned above, you have to balance that with internal business goals and inventory KPIs if you also want to maintain long-term profitability. 

Here are seven main product discovery areas that you should consider upgrading your automation.

1. Product Sorting 

By using the power of AI, you can sort collections and displays by products that meet both your sales and retail KPIs — and optimize them to real-time changes. The best tool for this is our own Kimonix

Sign up for a free demo here

2. Personalization Recommendations

The right AI algorithms can analyze customer data, such as browsing history, purchase history, and demographic information, to generate highly personalized product recommendations. 

These recommendations can be prominently displayed on your website, in emails, or during the checkout process. By showing customers products they are more likely to be interested in, you can increase conversion rates and average order values.

3. Behavioral Analysis 

AI can analyze customer behavior on your website in real-time. This means it can identify patterns, such as which products are frequently viewed together or the paths customers take before purchasing. This information can inform both your marketing and product placement strategies.

4. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide instant customer support and product recommendations, 24/7. They can answer common customer questions, assist with product inquiries, and even guide customers through the purchase process. This improves the customer experience and frees up your support team for more complex inquiries.

5. Inventory Management

AI-driven forecasting and inventory management can help you optimize stock levels. AI can accurately predict demand by analyzing historical data, seasonality, and market trends, thereby reducing the risk of overstocking or understocking products.

6. Email Marketing Automation

AI can segment your email list and personalize email campaigns based on customer behavior and preferences. This leads to higher open- and click-through rates, ultimately driving more traffic to your store. 

7. Predictive Analytics

Advanced AI can predict future market trends and customer behavior based on historical data. This foresight can help you stay ahead of the competition, enabling you to make informed decisions about product offerings and marketing strategies.

3. Investing Big in eCommerce Discovery Trends 

If you want to stay competitive and keep your brand and products relevant, then you will want to invest in new eCommerce discovery trends. Ideally, you should test a new technology or product discovery element before launching head-on. 

Often, these will involve substantial investment or optimization, so you must do your research first to determine if it will fit in seamlessly with other product discovery strategies, your target audience, and your brand. 

Here are some of the biggest eCommerce product discovery trends right now to consider: 

  1. Interactive product tours. Here, you can create interactive product tours or demos that both engage and educate customers, allowing in-depth exploration of features and benefits.
  1. Augmented reality (AR) shopping. Integrating AR technology into your store enables customers to better visualize products in real-life settings, thereby enhancing the online shopping experience and reducing returns.
  1. Voice search optimization. If you want to capture the growing number of voice-assisted shopping queries, you will need to invest in optimizing your store for voice search.

Wrap Up 

There you have it: three advanced product discovery strategies worth investigating in the coming year. Whichever elements you choose, as with every aspect of your business, you want to test and tweak. 

Still looking for advanced merchandising tips? Try one of these top guides: 

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