Over a decade ago Google launched Commerce Search with a fair amount of hype behind it. The premise was that this feature would help consumers find what they wanted faster, and increase conversions for ecommerce businesses. It was deemed a vital tool because as Google pointed out, visitors spend only 8 seconds looking for a product or service before bouncing.
The true bounce rates for visitors to web pages are not completely clear, but it is often estimated to be in the region of 15 seconds. The internet has created a consumer base that expects to find what they want almost instantly, and purchases to be made in a matter of seconds or 2 or 3 clicks of a mouse button.
Indeed, Capterra’s 2022 Online Shopping Survey suggests that 66% of digital shoppers expect to finish their checkout within 4 minutes or less. This can only happen if products are located and added to a virtual shopping basket fast.
Why do consumers like search bars?
Nearly 70% of consumers arriving at an ecommerce site will use a search bar if it is available to them. If these visitors don’t find what they want easily, around 12% of them will head straight to a competitor’s website.
If you are utilizing a SaaS such as Shopify then you will be able to easily integrate a search function. There are benefits and challenges to SaaS and PaaS for ecommerce, but search functionality is definitely an advantage.
Consumers like search bars because they help them find what they want, quickly. Motivated sellers who are in the I-want-to-buy zone will often know exactly what they want, and they aren’t interested in searching through pages of products to find them. A consumer using the search feature is up to 3 times more likely to make a purchase too.
How do you integrate search functionality effectively?
Google’s Commerce Search was launched as an answer to poor search functionality on websites, and now many other solutions are available.
If you are operating your ecommerce through a SaaS such as Shopify, or a PaaS like Magento, then you can choose to add a search bar without the need for coding. A custom-built ecommerce site might need the skills of a coder to write an efficient search function, or you could integrate a ready-made search solution.
Search solutions take away the need to understand code, and should come with a number of built-in features. For instance, LupaSearch includes typo detection and features to recognize the buyer’s intent. 34% of visitors will try to search for non-product content. This means that it is vital your search functionality includes smart features.
What happens if your site ignores search functionality?
Around 21% of visitors will leave a site directly from the search function. This illustrates that if the desired product doesn’t appear on the search results, a consumer will look elsewhere. However, if that site doesn’t even have a search bar then the bounce rate could be far higher.
It costs more to find new customers than to retain them, and search bars play an important part in retention. The cost of customer acquisition can be up to 25 times more than it is to retain existing ones.
One of the more effective ways to retain customers is to provide a personalized shopping experience. Search functionality can incorporate personalized results and recommendations by using data from theri search and shopping history.
Failure to use search technology on any ecommerce website can not only lead to higher bounce rates, but also the loss of existing customers.
Benefits of integrating search boxes into ecommerce platforms
There are many statistics espousing the benefits of search bars, such as that businesses can be boosted by up to 30%. But, one consumer study dealing with factual responses from consumers points out just how quick consumers expect their online shopping to be.
63% of respondents to one consumer trends study said they expected products to be delivered within 3 days from checkout. If consumers expect 3-day delivery as standard, how can you hope for them to waste valuable time searching for products?
The benefits of a smart search solution include:
- Customer retention
- Customer satisfaction
- Improved UX
- Increased conversions
- Drive addition sales with relevant product matches
You will be able to retain search data that lets you see how customers are searching for products, and which items are most popular. You can also drive more sales by showing related products alongside search results. Through data capture and analysis, you can improve search results and add personalization to the shopper’s experience.
Any business operating online that sells a variety of products needs to have search functionality. More importantly, that search functionality needs to be effective. Saas and PaaS for ecommerce will often include search widgets and features, but a smart search solution can offer more.
With so many consumers wishing to use an on-site search bar, it makes sense to expand the functionality to include smart searches and a personalized shopping experience. After all, customer retention is far less costly than attracting new shoppers.