Did you know that 74% of all consumers feel frustrated by irrelevant content? While it may sound like common sense, delivering information that your site visitors actually want to find is vital to the success of your business. And yet, 63% of visitors note that they would think more highly of a company that delivered interesting, valuable, or relevant information.
This disconnect presents a great opportunity in our fast-paced, digital world. Effective onsite search can increase visit duration, boost your total number of website visitors, and improve website conversions by over 30% — if you have the right technology.
There are some commonly overlooked advantages of onsite search that have a direct impact on visitor satisfaction, and conversion rates alike. Ignoring ways to optimize your search experience is just as bad as leaving money on the table. Here are 5 things you may not know about site search and why they matter:
1. Site Search and User Experience Need to Work Together
Amazon’s onsite search is central to the platform’s user experience
The thinking goes something like this: if my website’s navigation is “good enough,” why would my visitors need site search? Using your UX design as a crutch for bad search isn’t a good strategy. The reasons for this are fairly simple: as Forrester Research points out, 43% of all ecommerce shoppers navigate directly to the search box. If your search box doesn’t work, or if it is entirely absent, you risk losing those customers entirely.
These stats all point to the fact that we live in a search-first world. Consumers are used to the idea that the user experience begins with the search box. Amazon, for instance, has mastered the art of search — when was the last time you used Amazon’s product navigation? It’s there if you need it, but it’s very much optional.
It’s important to consider search a vital part of the user experience on your website. Businesses that want to connect their customers with their products as quickly as possible in order to improve their conversion rates, or increase customer engagement, need to consider search the center of web usability.
2. Onsite Search Directly Affects Your Conversion Rates
Etsy makes use of extensive filters and facets in order to improve findability
ConversionXL has found that site visitors who use onsite search are 5 to 6 times more likely to convert than those who don’t search for anything at all. Making sure that your customers find what they’re looking for, the moment they need it, is even more important for online storefronts.
Furthermore, your search should be proactively recommending products — using technology like smart query suggestions, intelligent product recommendation, and effective filters and facets — directly to your customers. Being able to effectively cross-sell and upsell directly in your website is a great way to boost conversions and enlarge your average customer cart size.
There is plenty of content out there about the ways in which site search can help improve your conversion rates. Connecting your customers to the most relevant result in your inventory is a foolproof way of boosting your conversions by improving the organic findability of your content.
3. Your Customers Want More than Simple Keyword-Matching
Looking up “focus” in Spotify provides me with an AI-driven “top result”
The bar for good search keeps being set higher and higher. Customers are no longer satisfied with mediocre, irrelevant results. If you want your business to stay relevant in the age of AI, you need to deliver rich, personal, and captivating search results that go above and beyond simple keyword-matching.
Smart query suggestions and intelligent product recommendations have become the vehicle that companies like Spotify and Netflix have used to go above and beyond their competition. Netflix’s machine learning model, for instance, breaks its viewers up into 2000 different taste groups using a top-secret algorithm. Catering to over 100 million viewers worldwide, Netflix’s recommendation system is a big part of their success.
4. Good Search Unifies Your Digital Properties
Coveo search brings together your business’s various services
Delivering relevant information to your customers is the future of business. By unifying all of your digital properties, you stand to improve the findability of your content and build upon the analytics of all your customers, whether they’re browsing your website, using your app, or engaging with your YouTube videos.
Onsite search should go above and beyond simple results pages. If you unify your results (and their ensuing usage analytics) across all of your digital experiences, you get a much more unified view of your customer and their expectations. Finding out where your customers use your product, and what they’re looking for when they do, and how you can improve their experience, is an invaluable asset for a marketer. Happy customers, after all, are more likely to buy your products.
With a Google-like approach, digital leaders have come to understand that search is no longer about getting results, it’s about relevant end-to-end experiences. Delivering these experiences requires you to unify your company knowledge, know your visitors context and intent, put the best content at their fingertips, and proactively recommend information that they’ll need next.
5. Usage Analytics Are Your Secret Weapon
Coveo’s search analytics provide valuable insight into your customers’ behavior
Knowing what works and what doesn’t means tracking how your visitors behave when they encounter your content or products. Surveys and site feedback simply aren’t enough — you can’t rely on a few volunteers to direct your whole strategy. Instead, you should be looking at the “big picture”: what are your customers looking for? What are they finding or not finding?
AI-powered search technology feeds your website’s usage analytics with the raw data that your team needs to be able to answer these important questions. The Coveo insight engine, which uses machine learning to make sense of your website’s usage analytics, can detect trends and behaviors that help optimize your website to connect your content with your audience. When your customers find the content that they want to see, expect to see better engagement, higher conversions, and more upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
For instance, an insight engine can help you investigate queries that return no results or have low clickthrough rates. This is just one of the many effective ways that you can use your website’s analytics to tighten up your content and make sure that your customers don’t abandon you for a competitor.
In short, good onsite search can provide your business with a large variety of tangible benefits: higher engagement, better conversions, and more satisfied customers. It is time to stop overlooking onsite search because it is essential to the satisfaction of your customers and your business’s bottom line.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how you can improve your search experience to reap some of these hidden benefits, get in touch with us!
Fedor Karmanov is a Content Writer at Coveo, currently working from Montreal, Quebec. With an M.A. in English from McGill University and a research background in machine learning and natural language processing, Fedor has combined his writing skills and technical experience in order to write lucid and readable content for the high tech industry.