Nosto (Credit image/Pixabay/Arek Socha)New research from Nosto suggests 69% of consumers go straight to the search bar when they visit an online retailer. However, 80% admit leaving because the on-site search experience didn’t meet their expectations. Leading retailers surveyed across North America and the UK accept that their site-search is not up to scratch. This attributes to around 39% of all traffic bouncing (shoppers leaving immediately) to poorly performing searches. This is because shoppers cannot find relevant products.

The research from Nosto, the Commerce Experience Platform (CXP), underlines the crucial role of on-site search in online shopping. The findings are based on a combination of surveys of 2,000 North American and UK consumers, in addition to 308 senior eCommerce professionals at retail brands. The research undertook real-world testing of on-site search experience served by 100 leading eCommerce brands (across fashion, beauty, and home/garden/DIY). The report suggests merchants are losing potential sales and frustrating shoppers with search experiences that fail to meet consumers’ expectations.

A snapshot of retailers’ on-site search failings

Among the key shortcomings is a lack of relevance. Despite 99% of retail brands’ senior eCommerce professionals believing search results are relevant. 69% of consumers complain they often see irrelevant results (real-world site testing reveal 81% of eCommerce websites display irrelevant items when shoppers search even two-word queries).

Similarly, even though 70% of consumers say they are likely to make a purchase if the results are personalised. Sixty-six percent of eCommerce professionals admit that they fail to offer personalised search results. This is despite 82% of them agreeing that personalised search is critical for higher conversions.

Additionally, 60% of brands admit their on-site search doesn’t display content (such as articles or FAQs) that relate to the products people are searching for. 59% of consumers say they are likely to make purchases after consuming this kind of content. Rising living costs makes on-site search a bigger priority.

The report suggests these shortcomings are even more significant in the current economic downturn. 68% of consumers agree that, with living costs rising, they like to compare products from different online stores. As a result, good eCommerce search makes this easier. 81% of merchants agree that increasing inflation makes eCommerce search more important.

According to Guy Little, head of brand marketing, Nosto, “This research highlights just how important search is for eCommerce stores. Shoppers don’t simply want a personalised and relevant experience every time they shop online. They expect it and are frustrated by not having it. Relevancy is critical. It is clearly a huge pitfall of merchants, with 80% of shoppers exiting online stores due to bad search experiences.”

Ecommerce brands held back by their current technology

The report suggests it is wrong to assume eCommerce brands are ignoring the importance of on-site search. Nor that they do not want to improve. 81% of brands questioned in the survey acknowledge that good, fast, accurate site search is essential for successful eCommerce stores. 84% said that they plan to invest in continually improving this area.

The technology many brands are using does not let them easily do all the things they would like. 95% of eCommerce professionals in the survey experience at least one pain-point with their current search solution. The top issue (mentioned by 29%) was a lack of advanced product data processing. This means they are unable to serve complex queries and provide relevant matching.

(Credit image/Pixabay/Antanas Baksys)
Antanas Baksys, head of search product, Nosto

What’s interesting in this research is that 95% of brands are citing pain-points with their current search provider. Eighty-four percent agree that they are planning to continually invest in their search technology. This means they understand the importance of this critical piece of the eCommerce equation,” says Antanas Baksys, head of search product, Nosto.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business

The lessons of this research are clear and simple. Poorly functioning search will simply drive your shoppers away. Customers who cannot find product information fast and easily will simply not return to those sites. Furthermore, with a smart and sensible search product, brands and retailers can enhance the eCommerce store and nail relevancy. Retaining shoppers engaged, happy and spending on your online store.

The headline from the report is that 81% of eCommerce leaders say ‘rising living costs make on-site search more important for online shoppers’. However, retailers are failing consumers with irrelevant search results, unnecessary friction, and a lack of personalisation. Going forward, online merchants expect next-level search solutions. They expect these solutions to be automated and self-learning. Reducing the time to value and the need for constant manual adjustments.


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