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How to increase conversion rate on your eCommerce site by improving your site search

Luigi's Blog | April 17, 2019

Why is site search so important for eCommerce 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 eCommerce 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 eCommerce sites. Moreover, it contributes multiple times more to overall turnover from all visitors. Why is that? The reason is very simple. Visitors using site search aren’t looking for inspiration. They know what product they want, and they 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. Are you sure that what’s on your eCommerce site is what visitors are actually searching for? Do you follow news, trends and seasonality? The information that you can get from site search is, indeed, an important and trustworthy source that comes to you, courtesy of your visitors and customers. And it’s this information that will tell you absolutely everything.

The information that you can get from site search is, indeed, an important and trustworthy source that comes to you, courtesy of your visitors and customers.

However, what’s much 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 they search for a certain product using its features. When you create online campaigns, your marketing managers will surely appreciate these unique terms. 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 eCommerce 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 are unable to 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 themselves. Remember that when a visitor can’t find what they are searching for, they cannot buy it.

What’s much more interesting than WHAT visitors searched is to see HOW they searched.

How do eCommerce sites benefit from an optimized site search?

The official statistics, unfortunately, show that approximately 30% of all searches on eCommerce sites are unsuccessful. That is, the site search either offers something that the visitor is not interested in or doesn’t give them any product suggestions at all. This is simply a lost opportunity that results in the visitor going shopping somewhere else.

You will feel the direct impact of a well-tuned site search via increasing conversions and thus, a bigger turnover. On average, you’ll see a conversion increase of 20%, but there have also cases when the improvement was several hundred percent. However, by analyzing site search data, you will also improve the overall shopping experience of visitors on your eCommerce site. And as you know, customers who are satisfied are loyal – they will come back to buy repeatedly in the future.

How is my eCommerce 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 go forth and answer this question: how is your site search doing?