Why are Poor Search Results Killing your Sales?

What is the first thing you do when you are online shopping or looking for a particular product?  If you are like 60% of consumers, you start your research on a search engine before heading to a specific website. On average, those same consumers visit at least 3 online stores before making their purchase. That means that by the time consumers come to your site, they have already done their research and they are ready to make the purchase.  At this point, it becomes increasingly important for the consumer to find what they are looking for, at the right price, with low/no shipping costs, and within an environment they can trust. All of these factors contribute to the success of your business, however, searchability is becoming increasingly important if you are to secure a sale. After all, customers can’t buy what they can’t find. So if you haven’t already thought about it, it is time to look under the hood and find out just how good your site search is. Here are some things to consider:

Time is of the essence

On average, 30% of the visitors on your site will use the search box. Once they arrive at your site, they are in “buying mode”. They have completed their research and all they need is a final view at the product details such as the price, availability, and delivery costs.  You can help customers find what they’re looking for by offering a user-friendly site search experience. Make sure that the search box is visible and results are fast. It is all about encouraging them to make that purchase.

50% higher conversion rate

A user-friendly site search experiences can lead to conversion rates up to 50% higher than the average. When searching for a product, the expected result is a direct link to the product’s detail page. Good search results can yield higher sales because customers who find what they are looking for easily are more likely to buy it on the spot. Customers who can’t find the information they’re looking for leave your site within minutes, only to make a purchase at someone else’s site that can yield the expected results.

Offer Suggestions

Offering related products as part of a search result can encourage visitors to view more products. About one fourth of site visitors will click on a search suggestion. These suggestions can be cross-sell or up-sell items that complement the product they searched for. If several models or options are available they can also be displayed as suggestions.

Allow flexibility of display results

Allow for results to be displayed in grid or list views. Consumers enjoy having the flexibility to decide in how results are displayed. Having these options can improve their experience on your site and potentially increase the chances of customer retention and loyalty.

Auto-complete can boost conversion rates

Using an auto-complete tool that begins to search as the customer is typing, offers a number of advantages: it speeds up the search process for users, it helps to avoid misspellings, and it can also ensure searches return a product result. If it is well implemented, auto-complete can save customers a lot of effort, in addition to speeding up the search process. More intuitive search and navigation means higher conversion rates.

Zero results page

If customers have searched for a product that you don’t stock, it doesn’t have to end with a ‘no results found’ page. You can provide a list of alternate products that may be related to the searched item. In addition, zero results pages can be a valuable source of information for you as an online retailer. Use the zero results page to discover new trends and then stock what is needed. Keep an eye on your site’s keyword search results. Tracking this data can inform you of products customers are looking for that you don’t currently stock.

Too many search results

Another definition of a poor  search result is returning hundreds or even thousands of results. Too many results coupled with poor filtered navigation options is detrimental to your sales. Any decent site search tool will cater for synonyms, such as with synonym lists. By mining older search data to understand the specific terms the audience are using to find products, adjustments can be made to drive better results.

With that said, how can you improve searchability on your site?

If your store is built on Magento 2.x Enterprise Edition, you get ElasticSearch for searching your catalog. ElasticSearch performs quick and advanced searches on products in the catalog, supports multiple languages, supports synonyms, and returns results based on the last generated index. ElasticSearch is accurate and scalable and it allows you to customize reuslts by tracking terms that consumers type into the search box to direct customers toward a particular product or result. By improving the site search results, you can directly impact the experience for users and increase conversions.

Even with all of the features mentioned above, the native Magento search functionality can be lacking. To bridge the gap, we recommend to our clients that they invest in a third party search solution. We recommend using Klevu, which is a market-leading search solution that uses natural langauge processing (NLP) and machine learning to provide more accurate results and allows for far more complex merchandising. Klevu is a very robust and cost effective solution and in our experience has yielded very positive results.  Some of the features we (as well as our customers) like:

  • Advanced product boosting (either at SKU level or based on attribute rules)
  • Comprehensive reporting (which products are performing best)
  • Natural language processing (deeper understanding around queries)
  • Machine learned results (self-learning based on what users are searching)
  • Ability to index more content
  • Quick search (fast search results
  • Awesome UX (results in a user-friendly layout)

We have seen improved search results and increased conversions with the implementations we have completed for our customers. If you are interested to find out more, stay tuned as we dig deeper into the topic of site/product searching in our March series of social posts, blog posts and our new upcoming newsletter. We will be exploring features around Klevu and a client success story later this month.

In the mean time, please add your comments below and let’s get social!  Like us on Facebookfollow us on TwitterInstagram and on Linked In.

Thanks for stopping by!

Crimson Agility Team