Site Search Can Make – or Break – the Omnichannel Experience

My team at Rio SEO exhibited at the recent in Dallas. During the event RichRelevance released some interesting research from their  survey of 1,006 U.S. shoppers showing that site search is a key factor in driving customer purchase success followed by the importance of having ratings & reviews readily available.

The new research that drills into how U.S. consumers search for and find products online. While site search is critically important to shoppers, the study suggests that many retailers have not evolved site search to meet the demands of an omnichannel world. The result is that frustrated web and mobile shoppers are likely to go elsewhere when retailers don’t get it right.

Diane Kegley,  the CMO of RichRelevance said about the findings that “this is an important wake-up call for the retail industry,” and  “Site search is tremendously important to shoppers, but under-delivers when it comes to all the channels where consumers shop today. The reality is that there hasn’t been major advances in site search in a decade, and it’s hurting retailers’ bottom lines.”

The study of more than 1,000 American shoppers finds that:

Search Is Critical to Shoppers

  • 8 in 10 Americans (83%) say that the search box is extremely important or important when shopping on a retailer’s web or mobile site.
  • Less than 1 in 10 (5%) say site search is not at all important. Comparatively, 6 out of 10 (56%) say that the search box is extremely important.
  • 3 out of 4 shoppers (76%) always or often use the search box when shopping on a retailer’s site.
  • In contrast, a mere 7% say they rarely or never use the search box.
  • 3 in 4 Americans (73%) are likely to leave a retail site that doesn’t provide good search results – and 37% say they are not at all likely to return.

Gift Giving Raises The Stakes

  • Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans (37%) state site search is ‘more important’ when shopping for gifts than it is otherwise.
  • Half of all shoppers (48%) rank the ability to ‘easily search and find products’ as the single most important thing when shopping for gifts on a retailer’s site.
  • In contrast, product ratings and reviews (the second most popular features) received 26% of the vote.
  • Curated gift ideas, a traditional holiday staple, are far less important to shoppers with only 5% of respondents ranking these as most important when gift shopping.

Room for Omnichannel Improvement

  • More than a third of U.S. shoppers (35%) are generally unsatisfied with the search results they receive on a mobile device.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) say they get worse search results when shopping on their mobile device than laptop or desktop.
  • Consumers cite ‘irrelevant product results’ (28%) as the #1 frustration with site search.
  • More than 1 in 3 (36%) would like to see search results personalized to them based on their previous shopping behavior.

As marketers it’s time to update and optimize site search and if your not already including ratings and reviews it is time to consider this as well. Besides the great use enhancement of ratings and reviews you could also receive a significant boost in your search engine traffic rankings as ratings and reviews add up to 1000 or more user generated content to your pages which the search engines love.






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