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Architecture, keywords and shops

by admin

Cracking title that. A good filter which says “this is going to be a bit technical and so may not be for me”. Anyway I want to address something which some of you have raised in the last couple of months, namely the keywords on item pages, those words which describe your item, but when ‘clicked’ bring back *everything* on folksy with that keyword or tag. These things:

A few people have emailed to say how they don’t like it that shoppers can easily click away from their item to other things. I want to address this by arguing how the design and the architecture of the site supports buyers *and* sellers and that a collective solution is one that will benefit individual sellers too.

So, this is a typical example of the ‘complaint’:

Seller

Those random keywords distract buyers and encourage them to leave my shop! when people are in my shop i want them to stay there. My keywords should be in my shop only.

Folksy

The keywords are actually generated by the items you use to describe your item and are designed to help the buyer navigate across items they are interested in across the whole site. So, if you produce handbags the keywords would help them find handbags from your shop too and navigate across the site. Now, you might not think this is good but actually it *does* support you because it means users can easily get to your item from someone else’s item. It makes the site easy to use and if the site is easy to use then people will use it and buy things. Our research has shown that it benefits everyone to have the site architected in this way – buyers and sellers.

Seller

But why not provide the keywords after check-out? That would keep people interested to have a look at something else.

Folksy

We do a *lot* of research for many clients looking at exactly this issue and what we currently have supports the buyer. In the “research” phase of the buying process people filter a “product set”, a set of products they like (there are very few ‘spontaneous’ point-of-sale type purchases on a site like Folksy). This ‘filtering’ is done within categories or in keyword browsing and to do this effectively people need to be able to get around the keyword or category easily – that is through “horizontal browsing”. Now, you might not think that this strategy supports *you* but if we design the service to support buyers then they will buy. People only buy what they like and making it harder for them to find things will not make them buy your things – it will just make them leave the site altogether. So, you may see it as a distraction, we believe buyers see it as helpful and that site sales will benefit as a result.

A good analogy is with the supermarket shelf. Things are organised by brand but they are all put together – baked beans for example. By allowing customers to see all of the same things in one place and find them easily you increase the likelihood of a sale across all of those items.

So, does this make sense? I appreciate it may seem counterintuitive to give people links away from your page but Google have been doing well out of telling people to go away for a while now :D What do you think? One of the things we may be able to do going forward is prioritise the shop’s items amongst *all* the other items when clicking on a keyword. But it would be good to have your thoughts on this issue first. Leave comments here or on the forum – thanks :)

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14 comments

spugmeistress September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

I agree wholeheartedly that we should we supporting each other and treat this website like a collective rather than our own little shop that just happens to be hosted on/uses the technology of a larger domain. The more people use Folksy, the more we all benefit.

The only bit that I’m slightly concerned about is that the ‘Explore’ categories are in exactly the same place as the ‘Shop keywords’ links are on the main shop page (and look quite similar), which could lead to customer confusion, and makes it hard for people to browse the different ranges in our shops once they are on a product page (not to mention that the keywords aren’t as helpful as proper categories anyway) but apart from that, I’m all for it. The keywords at the bottom of our product listings do exactly the same thing anyway.

jamesb September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

Hi spug, yes, you’re right the interaction design needs some work especially on shop pages and we’re working on that in the next two weeks together with international sales…

francesca September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

ok james, i give in! but that is a good point. i also think the keywords there are confusing. as a buyer, i would assume all these keywords belonged to the shop i was in.

jamesb September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

hey francesca – :D so, it seems the concept is good but the way it is currently implemented is a bit sucky. Am on it!

Helen September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

I don’t have a problem with the keywords bringing up items from across the site. I do have a problem with the fact that at the moment they bear no relation to the item I am looking at, they are just a selection of categories as far as I can see.

So if I am looking at cards, I would like the keywords to list, say, birthday, christmas, print, gocco, and so on – all things to enable me to navigate around all the cards on Folksy. Does that make sense to you?

And is architected really a word??? ;)

rachelcreative September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

I agree with Folksy that making the site easy for buyers to buy is very important and keywords certainly are a huge asset to this.

But. My observation would be that the way these keywords are currently displayed do make it look like keywords associated with that seller rather than folksy as a whole. The line of keywords is sandwiched between the item/description and the sellers info/ratings with the seller header above.

Also that the list of keywords I am seeing looking at 3 different kinds of items appear to all be the same keywords. So the list next to the item are not related to the item – I am looking at a piece of furniture and seeing keywords for candles, bath and body and so on.

As a seller if I direct buyers to folksy and then they get a list of unrelated tags which look like tags the seller has added to the item it sort of makes my item (and thus me) look a bit muddled.

Veronika September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

This was quite a useful explanation, but I do think it is important to, at the very least, give the shop’s own items priority over others with this tag.

robl September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

@veronika – what makes you say that ?

francesca September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

sticking my oar in again… i think it’s out of respect for that shop, if that doesn’t sound too silly. otherwise it’s a bit like taking your own food to a cafe and eating it there.

goldy September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

As newbie to folksy I find the site very confusing, The keywords in the position they are in clutters the listing. I also thought they were connected to the item I was looking at.
If they have to be on the page could they not be on the left or along the bottom. Also titled “Explore Folksy” to make it clear that it will take you away from the shop you are looking at.

JamesB September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

Hi @goldy – we’re working on ways to make the keywords less confusing but obviously still support the buyer.

@francesca – not sure I see that analogy. If you want a tote bag don’t you want to see all the tote bags? That’s the benefit to the shopper over a traditional “bricks and mortar” shop.

francesca again... September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

yes but i am thinking primarily as a seller james. if you’re in my shop, looking at my tote bags and i’m hoping to sell you a tote bag, i’d rather not have another saleswoman walk into my shop offering my customers tote bags! do you see what i mean? i’ve accepted this is how you’re going to do it but it is confusing. i think ‘explore folksy’ is a good idea, moving the key words to the side or something…

heather September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

To me this is a repetition of the issue (well, it’s an issue for me!) about other people’s stuff showing when a buyer clicks on a seller name. Instead of seeing items from that seller, you see items she has favourited.

jamesb September 28, 2008 - 2:19 pm

Hi Heather – I’ve responded in the forums to this query… as whilst in principle I think it’s important to supoprt the buyer and what *they* want I know that we could do that better…

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