October 25, 2020

Why Onsite Search Is More Important Than Ever This Holiday Season

For more than a decade, eCommerce has played an increasingly significant role in how people are shopping for gifts during the Holiday season. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic gravely affecting nearly every part of the world, including the closure of many brick and mortar stores, the amount of people turning to the internet to do their 2020 Holiday shopping will be unprecedented.

Let’s look at some recent 2020 statistics.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Q2 online spending reached over $210 billion dollars, resulting in a 44.5% increase over last year. According to Adobe Analytics, online sales in September alone reached over $60 billion dollars, an increase of 43% year after year. Data research firm Deloitte predicts that up to $196 billion dollars in sales will be generated online from November of this year to January of 2021. This year more than ever, eCommerce buyers need their shopping experiences to be easy, enjoyable, and above all, able to meet their needs. While on-site search capabilities have always been extremely important to eCommerce websites, it will have an unparalleled influence on how well online merchants will be able to optimize the revenue opportunities available this year.

In the current COVID-19 world, millions of people are short on both time and patience. It will not be enough this year to deliver merely acceptable or middle-of-the-road search experiences to eCommerce shoppers. As you evaluate how well your on-site search tool will help buyers easily accomplish their goals this year, here are some key elements to consider on how to deliver “knock your socks off” search experiences.

 Let The Search Bar Do All Of The Hard Work

Statistics show that eCommerce shoppers use the search bar more than any other available method when trying to find what they want to buy. Be sure that your search bar is upfront and can be easily found. Making it larger than other content on your homepage will naturally draw people’s attention to it. Make it accessible on every page of the website.

Take advantage of autocomplete technology, where the search bar predicts what a shopper is looking for and completes the search phrasing for them. The bar should lead shoppers on a search refinement journey, such that once initial results are provided, they can be narrowed down even further through filters and facets.

The Power Of Mobile Search

Recent statistics from the National Retail Federation indicate that 7/10 eCommerce shoppers will use their mobile device to make purchases this Holiday season.

Make sure that your search tools are mobile friendly and easy to access from a small screen. Having difficulty using search while on mobile is one of the biggest reasons shoppers will abandon a website and go elsewhere. Speed is critical for creating satisfying search experiences, especially on mobile devices. Ensure that your on-site search tool can deliver super-fast results to prevent shopping frustration.

A mobile platform is another great way to optimize autocomplete functionality. For many people, searching on mobile is more difficult due to the smaller keyboard. Autocomplete makes searching much easier by helping to finish phrases for shoppers.

Why Personalization Is So Important Today

Personalized eCommerce shopping experiences have been a key area of focus in recent years. COVID-19 has interrupted many people’s lives and taken from them the enjoyment of going to the movies, concerts, restaurants, and other important social events. In light of this, many shoppers this Holiday season want to buy gifts that have a more personal touch.

A highly effective search tool should have the ability to help buyers step up the personalization process through the use of tools that can refine search results down to the smallest details. Personalized search will increasingly become more important to shoppers as they seek ways to maximize the enjoyment that their gift recipients experience.

Take Advantage Of Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

There have been many advancements made in the field of on-site search with regard to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Through this technology, an enormous amount of consumer data can be evaluated. From this, buying patterns can be recognized. This information helps on-site search tools learn with every inquiry, continually increasing their ability to deliver meaningful and relevant search results.

eCommerce sites can leverage their search data to provide recommendations to shoppers based on their specific preferences or what other people have bought.

Suggestive selling strategies such as “You may also like” or “Others have bought” are a great way to increase sales and provide Holiday buyers with gift ideas that they might not have thought of themselves.

Many eCommerce Opportunities In Challenging Times

The sales opportunities for eCommerce websites during the 2020 Holiday season will be at an all-time high. Whether it be Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or gift buying for the traditional Holidays, shoppers will be turning to the internet for nearly all of their purchases. It is critical, more than ever, that your on-site search tool delivers what you need to turn visitors into happy and loyal customers.

If you would like to learn more about how HawkSearch can help you achieve your eCommerce goals, schedule a demo with one of our search experts today!


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