The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now. While optimizing search may have been difficult twenty years ago, the basic message of the tree proverb still applies. Should you have done it already? Yes. Is it too late to start now? Not at all.
Forty-three percent of site visitors use a search box immediately when they enter a site, and visitors who use search are twice as likely to convert. Put simply, site search is necessary—especially for e-commerce, where there may be many products to sift through and plenty of competitors.
So how can you be certain you haven’t missed the boat? Take a look at these numbers:
- 42% of companies don’t do any site search optimization. If a site’s search box is hard to find, hard to use, slow to return results, or returns irrelevant/too many/no results, a user will leave the site quickly. Why would they waste their time when the other 58% of companies will make their research and buying process easier? With no optimization at all, that 42% of businesses could also see substantial issues with mobile search, where speed and ease-of-use are even more critical.
- 70% of sites require that a user search for a product/topic exactly as it’s used by the company.Synonyms, alternative spellings, long-tail conversational search terms for voice search, newly-trending terms, or common typos may not return the proper results. This can lead to obvious and devastating problems as users fail to find the items that they need and leave the site.
- 60% of e-Commerce sites don’t support searches that use abbreviations or characters that aren’t alpha-numerical.One of the benefits of modern site search is that it allows users to find what they are looking for on their own terms and in their own terms.Any site that doesn’t allow for this will lose customers.
- Nearly two-thirds of business buyers still want better search functionality.Even as B2B e-commerce evolves to include more powerful tools and functionality, buyers still want more. B2B customers bring expectations from B2C online shopping with them, and need a user experience that is just as intuitive as when buying from a B2C retailer.
If you haven’t taken advantage of site search optimization yet, there’s good news – plenty of your competitors haven’t either. Now is the time to set your company ahead of the competition by offering more accessible information and a better user experience. Your users will thank you, and so will your conversion rate.