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4 Ways Site Search Can Increase Conversions

November 27, 2012 By Ofer Alt
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Cart abandonment, or the tendency for shoppers to leave an e-commerce site before completing the purchase process, is a major concern for online retailers. It's estimated that the average cart abandonment rate for a typical e-commerce site is around 65 percent, a figure that skyrockets even more for online retailers’ mobile commerce sites.

As detrimental as cart abandonment can be to site performance, site abandonment presents an even greater threat to online merchants’ ability to convert site visitors into satisfied customers. In a typical site abandonment scenario, the consumer is unable to locate the desired product and quickly exits the site without participating in the retailer's online customer experience or any meaningful shopping activities.

How Search Can Create Conversions
In-site search can significantly reduce site abandonment and turn visitors into paying customers. To truly stem the tide of consumers leaving their sites, online retailers need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the role search can play in improving customer engagement and deincentivizing visitors from abandoning online shopping experiences. Here are four examples:

1. Semantic-based search: Semantic-based search features allow consumers to speak to the search engine using their own unique search queries and still receive highly relevant results. By intuitively understanding the shopper's intent, semantic search dramatically improves visibility to products located deep in a merchant's online product catalog and expands consumers’ ability to leverage long-tail search strings (e.g., "men's white Adidas shoes size 13"). On average, sites with a semantic-based search bar experience a 2 percent abandonment rate compared to the 40 percent abandonment rate reported by sites that feature a text-based search bar.

2. Cross-selling: In brick-and-mortar stores, staff are trained to cross-sell when a shopper requests a product that's unavailable or out of stock. They offer consumers a selection of alternative product options. In the online space, landing pages can serve the same purpose — i.e., cross-selling products when the shopper's searched product is unavailable. Custom algorithms and enhanced landing page content can further improve cross-selling effectiveness, creating opportunities and incentives for consumers to remain on the site.

3. Search intelligence: Intelligence features like autocomplete and search algorithms are valuable tools in using a search-based strategy to reduce site abandonment rates. In addition to automatically completing fragmented search phrases, a robust on-site search platform should be capable of delivering product imagery and other content as part of the autocomplete function. Similarly, the platform's custom algorithms should leverage natural language processing and other features to improve search accuracy and the overall customer experience.



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