Sunday, 15 November 2015

Search and searches

Plumen Drop Top Pendant Lamps, Bitossi Lucca Wine Glass Amber, Korres Colour Guava Lipstick, H&M Conscious Coat

A conversation at work got me thinking about the (semantic) difference between singulars and plurals when entered into a search bar. It seems to me that customers who type, say, lamp instead of lamps, are closer to the point of purchase - they 'want to buy a lamp'. Customers who search for coats rather than coat, on the other hand, 'want to see all your coats', they're only beginning to consider buying something.

So I tried to find out if any retailers were treating singular and plural search terms differently. I looked at six retailers of both lamps and coats. On the whole, I found that search results for singulars and plurals were identical. In a few cases, bad listings were returned for the singular and/or plural. And I found only one instance of different, good results for coat and coats - here the singular brought up more statement, more expensive pieces.

 There are some products that you would be more inclined to purchase in multiples - say wine glasses - and some products that are generally referred to collectively - lipstick, for instance. For these items, I found one retailer with different search results for the singular and the plural. For wine glasses, more expensive results were returned than for wine glass, and some beer glasses were shown.

Then I tried to decrypt some Google results for lamp/lamps, coat/coats, wine glass/wine glasses and lipstick/lipsticks. I also looked at some more specific search terms - metallic lamp(s), duster coat(s), nude lipstick(s), stemless wine glass(es).

The results varied a lot - in terms of how many retailers were returned (and if any news stories or google images, for example, were displayed), in terms of which retailers were returned, regarding whether there were Google Ads, regarding whether there was Google Shopping... But I couldn't really draw out any distinguishing characteristics of singular/plural searches. It was just too vast.

This is just something I have been pondering though. I'm by no means knowledgeable about this area!

Anyway, I have been meaning to post for a while. My role at work is changing at the moment. While it's changing, I might not post for a bit, and when I do start writing again, the topics of my posts might be different. Just to let you know.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.