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How Important is Good Site Search? Let’’s do the Numbers

Customer experience is the new battleground for competitive advantage. According to one analyst, 89% of businesses plan to compete primarily on customer experience. How can online customer experience get better than visiting a site, and finding exactly what you’’re looking for?

Despite the fact that many people’’s first port of call for anything is Google, site search remains a neglected part of the customer journey. Search provides an easy way to connect the user’s intent with the right content.

Search queries, results clicks, and user feedback are used to drive a more personalized experience in the future. According to Jupiter Media Matrix, 80% of visitors will abandon a site if the search experience is poor.

Yet despite this, search often remains a neglected, misunderstood, and under-invested part of the customer journey. Let’’s do a little thought experiment to try to work out the cost that poor search might incur on a business.

First, here’’s a few figures:

  • According to market research firm Harris Interactive, when customers make online purchases, 90% of them report using site search to access self-service content
  • IDC tells us that 22% of site searches return no results whatsoever
  • Average global website conversion rates fall into the 2-3% range – let’’s say 2.5% for the sake of argument?

So let’’s imagine we have a website that gets 1,000 visitors a day, with a conversion rate of 2.5% and an average order value of $100. The site would make 25 sales. That leaves 975 visitors who didn’’t buy.

We can assume from the above that 90% of those are the types of people who are influenced by search when making a purchase. That’’s 878 people. Of those, 22% of them would have received no result for their search –- that’’s 193.

So, if we could take the simple step of eliminating those zero-results searches, we could expect them to convert at the normal rate -– 2.5% or 5 additional sales a day, and $182,500 in incremental revenue annually. That’’s a 20% uplift in sales.

Frankly, even half that improvement would be impressive. Of course, we could make lots of other improvements to search, beyond simply eliminating the “zero results” issue that should drive conversion up even further.

The numbers speak for themselves – you need to invest in good site search technology. Discover more here.

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Will Cook

Will is responsible for providing expertise in omnichannel customer engagement and digital customer experience. He works with leading companies to help them better understand customer interactions across multiple channels and deliver compelling, personalized and targeted customer experiences that deliver the right business outcomes and measurable ROI.

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