Site Search, The Secret Ingredient for Ecommerce Success

By Rory Carlyle of SearchSpring

It’s no secret: everyone has secrets. People and corporations alike have to keep them in order to hold a differentiator from those around them. Soda companies keep their mixtures hidden, professional sports teams keep their plays out of sight, and sneaky old grandma had her recipes locked-down like Alcatraz.

It’s secrets like these that make a difference in the eyes of others and make the result special – cherished even.

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To that same effect, site search is the secret ingredient in creating a successful online storefront. Most merchants currently utilize shopping carts that don’t provide advanced functionality around site search. Even worse, most site search functionality is underutilized in regard to placement within the website design, providing helpful ‘no results’ information and understanding the ever-changing needs of the customer.

It’s like watching grandma look at the recipe box only to pull out a tube of Toll House batter. The results are not the same, the experience wasn’t as fun to participate in, and there’s nothing special about the product. There’s a lot to be appreciative for when she’s using years of experience to make homemade cookies with her special grandma ingredients, not just any old store brand.

Site search can put the secret zing back into an ecommerce storefront.

Site search should be a main ingredient in ecommerce recipes. Here are a few reasons why:

 

1. Shoppers using the site search are typically 3 times more apt to purchase, this is due to the nature of the medium. Search allows for focused buyers to find and complete purchases quickly. Without a search tool, these shoppers have to hunt and peck for possible purchases.

A bad site search experience alienates the most interested shoppers visiting a website.

2. Properly configured site search can bridge language and literacy barriers between the shopper and the merchant using synonym libraries and keyword redirects. Shoppers, who mistype, use regional vocabulary or are searching for related items are less likely to leave when search results aren’t a “search not found” page. Seven out of ten shoppers leave a website within two minutes if they can’t find what they want.

Site search not only increases sales reach, it’s collecting your most valuable customer data for increased optimization and product relevancy in real-time.

3. Site search data is absolute gold. It’s collecting direct intent from the people who businesses should care for the most, the customer. Each word typed into that search bar can be assessed for better optimization. Or, for that matter, leveraged across all marketing channels.

Site search data can be used for:

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  • Optimizing pay-per-click campaigns, creating new ones
  • Customer-driven search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing and merchandising
  • Onsite merchandising campaigns
  • New inventory research/acquisition
  • Expanding existing product offerings
  • Optimizing onsite navigation
  • Content generation

 

Secret Ingredients Make Things Special

As shoppers use the site search, the data gets collected in real-time, allowing for merchants to creatively develop product offerings around shoppers, quickly. The secret now isn’t the site search tool, but what comes from that data. How that data gets used to benefit the shopper is unique to every merchant, thus becoming a secret ingredient.

How this data is fed back to the customer is the key to succeeding.

Shoppers are leaving hints to what they want, every time they visit. Site search gives the ability to serve those needs effectively, building revenue, customer loyalty and energizing intelligent marketing efforts. Grandma never had this much information about her cookies; we’re especially lucky to get this much valuable insight in today’s digital world. Makes you wonder, what would Grandma have changed if she knew the real conversion rate on her cookies…

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SearchSpring® boosts sales by unleashing findability with advanced site search and navigation for your e-commerce store. Providing faceted navigation, smart search results and IntelliSuggest® technology to lift conversions and increase speed, scalability, and intelligence. SearchSpring propels merchants to new levels of e-commerce performance by turning your website into a fire breathing, high conversion monster! Follow SearchSpring on Twitter and Facebook.

1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Posted July 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the article. For the most part I agree with the article. A great site search engine can be a competitive advantage for an e-commerce merchant. However, the author’s reason for good search allows for focused shoppers to find and complete purchases quickly without having a shopper hunt and peck for possible purchases is not entirely true. A shopper may be still be in the initial buying stage and looking at a number of possible choices. Recommendations and reviews help the customer narrow down the choices and validate their ideal choices. Many site searches do not have the ability to scan the powerful information locked in user reviews. Inferlytics.com helps unlock those user reviews and gives e-commerce sites a competitive advantage.

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