Whether you want to provide your customers with an online catalog of all the products offered by your medtech company, or you actually want to offer the ability to order products online, a robust search tool can be really helpful.
Often, a medtech company might have several similar products or components, and it can be difficult for customers to find what they need at a glance. Individually looking through each product listing to find the right item can be a time-consuming task. Medtech companies can take cues from search features used by other industries like e-commerce to make it easier for customers to find what they need and place their orders. People are used to using these robust types of searches in their everyday lives when ordering products from retailers, so this kind of feature can be a real value-add.
In the past, we’ve helped a medtech company build this type of ecommerce-style search feature for their Online Product Catalog. Here are some of the options we included in a significant update to the catalog, based on user feedback.
Advanced Search & Filtering Options
The search feature for the catalog includes the traditional search bar, but also has advanced filtering options to filter the results by kit, part, product number, procedure type, etc. This makes it easier for the customer to find what they need based on the criteria they have.
Options to Search for Product Kits
Some products could be sold in kits, but sometimes the customer wouldn’t know the name of the kit–they would only know its components. So, we included an option that would allow customers to search for the full kit based on its components.
Better Product Matching for Searches
One common issue with a lot of search features is that they can be very literal. If a customer doesn’t type in the product name, item number, etc. exactly as it is listed in the system, it may not turn up any results. To fix this, we updated the system to parse sequences of search terms, so that close matches would turn up the right results more often. For example, product code searches for “CV-12123-F”, “CV12123F”, and “CV 12123 F” would be treated as equivalent and produce the same results.
Direct Product-Code Search
When a user enters a product code in the search bar and only a single product is returned, we set it up so that the user would be brought directly to the product page rather than a search result page displaying only that product. This helps customers who already know exactly what they need get to the product page more quickly.
When they get to a search results page, customers are able to select the products they want to view, then click a link to go to the product comparison view. There, they can compare the features and specifications of the products they selected to see which is the right option. All of the products are linked in the comparison, so users can go right to the product they ended up selecting. The comparison page can also be downloaded, printed, or emailed if it needs to be shared with others in the organization.
Several of this medtech company’s products require additional components that are sold separately. We updated the product pages to include hyperlinks for each of the product’s components. These links would take the customer to a search results page that would list out all of the products that contain that component so that the customer doesn’t have to search for them.
Back Button Preserves Search Data
We took steps to override the browser back button behavior on the Product Search/Filtration page so that when users click “back,” they are taken to their previous search selection. The standard functionality on clicking the back button was to take the user to the page they were previously on prior to the search (frequently be the Home Page). That can be a frustrating experience for users who want to reference a previous search, as the standard functionality would require them to re-enter all of their search parameters to do so. Overriding this makes for a much better experience in this regard.
While your medtech company may have different needs for a search feature than this client, it’s helpful to consider that you can take cues from other industries to create more useful applications for your customers. With more aspects of everyday life moving to digital formats, there could be more that you could do to make product purchasing easier on your customers, and a robust search feature is one way to do that.