Why is site search so important for e-commerce sites? Because approximately one-third of visitors use this function while looking for a product on a website! Of course, the number can differ for various segments. For example, it’s roughly 10 percent for clothes e-commerce sites, but for consumer electronics, books, drugstores, and price comparison sites, it can be up to 50 percent.
The important fact to keep in mind is that the conversion rate of visitors who use site search is several times higher than of those who only use navigation (menu) on e-commerce sites. Moreover, it contributes multiple times more to overall turnover from all visitors. Why is that? The reason is straightforward. Visitors using site search aren’t looking for inspiration. They know what product they want and want to find it quickly and buy it.
What can site search data tell us?
There is an increasing number of products on the market. But, are you sure that what’s on your e-commerce site is what visitors are searching for? Do you follow news, trends, and seasonality? The information you can get from site searches is an essential and trustworthy source that comes to you, courtesy of your visitors and customers. And it’s this information that will tell you absolutely everything.
However, what’s more interesting than WHAT visitors searched for is to see HOW they searched. What keywords did they use? While searching, people often use slang and non-standard expressions or search for a specific product using its features. Your marketing managers will surely appreciate these unique terms when you create online campaigns. Consider automatically “pouring” the keywords you glean from site search to the software that handles your campaigns, and your performance marketing will become even more powerful.
If, while analyzing the most commonly searched terms on your e-commerce site, you encounter terms such as “shopping cart,” “terms and conditions,” or names of product categories, you’ve got a problem. This shows that visitors cannot easily navigate your site and are trying to find these key terms through site search. Analyzing terms will help you create a more user-friendly web structure (menu, filters, etc.) and give more comprehensible names to product categories or products. Remember that when visitors can’t find what they are searching for, they cannot buy it.
How do e-commerce sites benefit from an optimized site search?
The official statistics, unfortunately, show that approximately 30% of all searches on e-commerce sites are unsuccessful. That is, the site search either offers something the visitor is not interested in or doesn’t give them any product suggestions. This is simply a lost opportunity that leads the visitor to go shopping elsewhere.
You will feel the direct impact of a well-tuned site search via increasing conversions and, thus, a more significant turnover. On average, you’ll see a conversion increase of 20%, but there have also been cases when the improvement was several hundred percent. However, by analyzing site search data, you will also improve the overall shopping experience of visitors to your e-commerce site. And as you know, satisfied customers are loyal – they will return to buy repeatedly in the future.
How is my e-commerce site performing?
To find out how your site search is doing, you will need to start measuring and evaluating it. Don’t worry; it’s not as difficult as you think, and often you will only need to insert one line of code. It’s best when the measurement process is directly connected to a subsequent action; that is if you use a tool that not only discovers problems but can also resolve them and thus improve the conversion rate.
Now answer this question: how is your site search doing?
Gejza is a CEO and Co-Founder of Luigi's Box. He has been working on user experience and conversion rate optimization in e-commerce for over a decade. His primary focus is the company's management, strategy, finance, and helping their biggest clients to get the most out of search and product recommendations.More blog posts from this author