2 Big Opportunities to Improve Your Site Search Conversion Rate
Conversion rates. As an ecommerce professional, you probably think about them all day, and maybe they even keep you up at night. How can you get more people to buy? Why are your rates lower than your competitors or industry averages?
Obviously, the psychology of a purchase is complicated and is affected by many different factors. Everything from the words on the page, to the color of a button can all influence a shopper to make a purchase.
Often times, ecommerce professionals become obsessed with their conversion rates, and will work on variations of these seemingly insignificant details day and night in search of that one thing that finally makes the difference they were looking for.
While split testing is certainly a worthwhile pursuit, one aspect of site design is often ignored when it should be prioritized, namely, site search. Various studies have found that visitors that use site search are dramatically more likely to make a purchase, and yet, many stores ignore their search analytics, use designs that make the search feature hard to find, and sometimes actually hide their search in the footer or within a fly-out menu.
Why Should I Even Worry About Search?
Design group ScreenPages did an independent conversion study and found that among their sites, less than 10% of visitors were using search, nearly 40% of revenue was coming from those visitors. Among our customers, we find very similar results. Why is it that search visitors make up for such an inordinate portion of revenue? The answer is really simple. Search visitors are more motivated to buy. Aren’t you more likely to make a purchase at the mall if you go searching for a specific item? Of course you are. Search visitors know what they want, and if they can find it, chances are good they’ll buy it.
It’s also important to recognize the value of site search in general. Even if those visitors don’t convert, they’re giving you valuable input about what products they want, and whether or not they’re finding them.
1. Create Synonyms for Searches with Zero Results
Within our Reports dashboard or within Google Analytics, you can find queries from your shoppers that are resulting in zero results. When this happens, your shoppers will see the dreaded “no results found” page. This page likely has a 0% conversion rate, which isn’t doing you any favors.
Some of these queries will only have happened once or twice, but you may be surprised to find some that are happening several times each day. If there are a few opportunities like this, improving the experience for the people entering these queries can make a big difference to your bottom line.
In the case that these queries are simple misspellings or synonyms for products that you do carry, create a synonym redirect to get these shoppers to the correct product(s).
In other cases, you may find that there’s a lot of demand for a product that you don’t currently carry.
The above image is from a store that sells healthy candy. There were 18 searches in the last 7 days for carob, which they don’t currently sell, but perhaps that’s a good opportunity for them.
2. Merchandise Search Results Pages for Searches with Low Conversion Rates
Relevancy is a problem that many online retailers suffer from when it comes to search and navigation. While a solution like SearchSpring can drastically improve matters, there are opportunities to improve relevancy on your own. One way is to merchandise popular searches. Depending on the number of items you carry, this could take a lot of time, but a good place to start is to look into your reports and find popular searches that have low conversion rates.
When you’ve found a query that has a low conversion rate, go to your search bar and try the query yourself. You may be surprised to find that few, if any of the products on that page are relevant to the query. Next, it would likely be worth your time to find out which of the relevant products have the highest conversion rates, and then manually place those on the top of this page.
SearchSpring’s Visual Merchandising allows you to drag-and-drop items onto the page, but even if you’re not a SearchSpring customer, there’s likely a way for you to accomplish the same task.
Of course, there are many other ways that sites search data can be used to improve your conversion rates, you just have to take a look at your data. It’s a good practice to run site search reports on a monthly basis to get a pulse.
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