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Could You Use Site Search To Improve Your Bottom Line?

23 February 2015 by Steve Lewis


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(Image: Si1very under CC BY 2.0)

If your eCommerce store has a complex database and you’ve not invested in quality internal search, it’s time to get on board.

Poor internal search is a nightmare. From irrelevant results to the dreaded ‘none found’ page, it’s the online equivalent of approaching a shopkeeper in Macy’s and being told to figure it out for yourself. Apart from being pretty irritated, chances are you’d wander aimlessly for a while before giving up and going elsewhere.

Obviously, that’s the last thing you want.

The benefits of effective site search extend far beyond the navigational. The terms that your customers type into your site search can give you a huge insight into their behavior, giving you valuable data that could help you increase conversions and improve retention.

That’s if the function works. If it doesn’t your site could be in for a world of pain.

So, back to the over-arching question posed by this post – could you use site search to improve your bottom line? Chances are, you could. Read on to find out how.

(Image: 401(K) 2012 under CC BY 2.0)

How Site Search can Improve Your Bottom Line

People Who Use Search Are Further Down the Sales Funnel

Conversion rates through a site search can be up to 50% higher than of browsing customers, according to recent stats shared by Econsultancy.

Think about it, there are people who like to browse and then there are those out to find a specific item. The first group are ‘just looking’ and the second group are shopping with intent to purchase.

People using site search facilities are already in late-stage buying mode. They know what they want and just need to satisfy other buying motivators such as price, availability and delivery charges. If they can do this quickly and easily, then it’s time to start counting your chickens.

User-Friendly Experiences Lead to Higher Conversions

The ease with which customers interact with your site defines how long they stay there. In fact, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator according to the Customers 2020 Report.

By offering a user-friendly site search experience, you can help your customers find what they’re looking for in a streamlined way. So, if you’ve got all of your other ducks in a row (check out our recent blog post to make sure you do) then conversion is simply the next step in a frictionless process.

Autocomplete and Search Suggestions Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Autocomplete is a great way to help your shoppers find what they want, especially now that it’s getting smarter. It speeds up the search process, helps customers avoid misspellings, and ensures that they’ll definitely find something – even if it’s not exactly what they’re looking for – so that they stay on-page.

Suggested items are also a pretty nifty feature that can be added to a search results page. A form of cross-selling, they offer your customer alternatives and supplementary items to their original search query enabling them to ‘complete the package’.

Site Search Data Can Enhance Your Marketing Efforts

Targeted marketing boosts customer conversion rates significantly – up to 20 percent according to a recent study by McKinsey.

However, according to this infographic from Marketing Profs, 6 out of 10 retailers aren’t using their site search data effectively. Madness, considering this kind of data can be integrated into display ads, targeted email campaigns, and even (if you have the time and inclination) customized card-based design in the vein of Pinterest and Firebox.

If you’re unsure about where to start with your search data, this great blog post will get you started.

(Pixabay might not be eCommerce, but you’ve got to wonder, how?)

When Site Search Hurts

If, after reading this, you’re inspired to incorporate site search into your eCommerce store, then that’s great news.

But before you go rushing off to make big changes, it’s important to remember that a poor site search facility can harm your website rather than help it. Poor site search can cause your customers not only to believe that you don’t stock what they’re looking for, but to lose confidence in your whole operation. The repercussions of this could be worse than just losing a sale, you could be losing a customer.

To ensure that your site search is up to scratch make sure it’s:

  • Prominent (don’t make searchers search for the search!) 
  • Fast
  • Data-driven 
  • Tested and refined
  • Semantic based (able to ‘understand’ intent)

The results it brings up should also be refinable, and if possible, contain image thumbnails to encourage your customers to click.

TheGenieLab

Incorporating quality site search into your website can be a big task, and we understand that sometimes, capacity can be an issue.

Here at TheGenieLab, we love delivering highly-functional, beautifully designed ecommerce projects. We’ve got years of experience designing and building to a high standard, and can help your business build on or completely revamp what you’ve already got in place.

If your ecommerce store is in need of an overhaul, then get in touch for a no-obligation consultation. We can get to know you, your business and what you’re trying to achieve, so that we’re able to help you achieve more online.


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