Zara’s intelligent use of search data is transforming it’s online store and putting the customer back at the centre opened its doors to a selection of media titles earlier this year for the first time ever, and the resulting articles generated a lot of attention within the fashion industry.

I personally found it very interesting to see the role that search now plays within their digital agenda. In particular, the way search data is being used for a number of diverse purposes and within different departments beyond purely helping users to find products.

  1. Search data for real-time Detection of Sales Opportunities

Search is a very powerful sales tool; people who use the search box feature have a well-defined intent and, what’s more, a higher probability of purchasing. Therefore, being able to analyse search in real-time allows product teams and merchandisers to quickly react to sales opportunities, often generated with keywords previously used by influencers and other 3rd party media channels.

“What we write in the search box is very important. In fact, yesterday during my visit (Tuesday, March 13 at 11:25) there were 41,143 people interacting with the search, almost all from Spain, looking for dresses, kimonos and blazers.” Elle- Pasé un día en la central de Zara y descubrí cosas de su tienda online que me dejaron impactada
“During our visit, Google Analytics showed that some 41,000 people from 5,213 cities were browsing the online store and several tag clouds highlighted the words that were being the most typed in the search engine (at that moment sale, top and perfume).” El Pais- Así logra Inditex despachar 249.000 pedidos ‘online’ en solo una hora
“Another screen showed the searches that were being made on the web along with the results — positive and negative — that these searches showed.” Vogue- Un día en las entrañas de Zara

2. Search data as Insights for new Product Development

Product design teams traditionally rely on physical store management reporting as part of the process to generate insights for new products and to anticipate consumer needs.

Nowadays however, one of the richest sources for trend detection is the online store’s search box. Being able to see new colour and product trends and quickly react to them is critical for design teams.

“The team is able to produce a new line in three weeks. A process that goes through several phases: Selecting a certain type of garment or collection — agreed between the design and sales teams, using the analysis of what online clients have been previously looking for and buying, make it, photograph it in the studio and then upload it to the web. “ El Pais- Así logra Inditex despachar 249.000 pedidos ‘online’ en solo una hora

3. Search data as Guidance for Product Naming

Search helps product and content teams to be able to rename their products using the language of the customer to make them more “findable” both on site and in 3rd party marketplaces.

“They see how people search, and using that information, they rename the product references so they can be found more quickly.” As an example, they saw that people instead of searching for “Americans” were looking for “Blazers” and renamed the subsection accordingly. And they also take a look at those searched that lead to an error. For example, people who enter words or look for things that are not in the store, “Ascot” was the most prominent. As it helps them to understand the needs of the users.” Elle- Pasé un día en la central de Zara y descubrí cosas de su tienda online que me dejaron impactada

Search data is today the voice of the consumer, the unique place where a customer types their real intent in their own words, whether there’s a product available or not.

Tapping into the rich data layer obtained from the search box and acting on all the insights generated is today a massive differentiator among brands, both those in the fashion business and beyond.

The search box has been transformed from a powerful sales tool into the most knowledgeable and insightful shop assistant.

Does your brand use search data for other purposes? I’d love to learn more about it or visit to learn more about how you can fully leverage this data.