The Importance of eCommerce Search

Discover the importance of eCommerce search and understand why poor search functionality is a conversion killer.

The challenge for modern Ecommerce shops is to understand the behavior of customers during their visit to the website. Is the “search” on your site working well? Do you know if the search results are relevant to your potential customers?
While a lot of your visitors know what they want to buy, you’ll also find some impulsive shoppers among your visitors. Some people got your webshop referred by a friend. Some clicked on a banner, some got a voucher and some are simply comparing products researching your site as well as your competitors. You can support them all on their buyer's journey delivering a good user experience by optimizing your search function and thus increasing sales on your webshop.
30%+ of all visitors use the site search on webshops. These visitors typically convert 1.8x more than those visitors using alternative forms of navigation.

However, visitors who experience negative interactions with search convert significantly less and have a 70% higher abandonment rate on average. 

So, understand what your customers are searching for and easily identify top issues by data mining your customers' behavior on site! To get the behavioral data you need a tracking tool. Our partner, Solteq, has a valuable optimization tool called Deep Vision, which you'll get an introduction to in this webinar.

Read the webinar transcript
The Importance of eCommerce

Thomas: Thank you for joining us today in Solteq on this webinar regarding e-commerce and also the search. We have today with me Steve Coates and Thomas Jefferson. I'm international sales manager here at Dynamic Web. I've been in commerce for almost 20 years but I'm going to speak a little bit about Dynamic Web today and who we are, and then I'm going to hand it over to Steve, who's going to go into what they can offer with that deep vision and in terms of improving both service and all websites in general. So let me just say very briefly what Dynamic Web is. We are one business platform. That means that we have both content management capabilities, we have full e-commerce, we have marketing, and we also have product information management and that is a platform that you can use to develop and build a website or workshop on top of it and we already have done that. So we have a concept called Rápido, which is a production really online solution that is highly configurable to customize. So without doing any coding, it can be customized to function either as a B2B store or B2C store. Its website is ready so you pretty much just have to put in your products and then do all your configurations. So even though that this Rápido is built on the best practice that we can offer, it has this backend with hundreds and hundreds of settings so that you can choose without any coding at all the look and the feel, the scanning of your website, but also to great details, the functionality of the website. So make sure that you can get 80% of the functionality that you want and it's based on our best practices. So we have done many hundreds of implementations, been around for 20 years doing e-commerce. So all that we have learned from customers on how to build a website gives a great user experience. We have put this into Rápido for you to be able to very quickly get up and running, choose how the new site should look and how that it should function. One of the areas that you, of course, can configure is the search. So in this case here, we have several options on how we can lay out the top layout with the search bar, and as you can see on the screenshots with the front end, with the mountain bikes, we have chosen to have the search bar very centered on the top. The search bar is configured so you can find products and pages, this is also configurable in the back end on how you want that to appear. And what we have also done the best practice on the UI. So we have different options but it's all, again, best practice based on our experience. It is, of course a responsive design. So when you use it in your browser, you could get more information in one screen. As soon as you go over to a mobile device, our front end will ultimately sense that and make the UI that is aimed at people not having a mouse button tapping on the screen and also a more narrow screen size. So these best practices, again, makes sure that you can do 80% of the functionality that you like to give your customers a good experience out of the box. Then you can use your energy on 20% to make that unique because, of course, we are not the only platform around that. It has best practices and it's looking around what is going on out there, but having you say all done and highly configurable, you can use your money and your time on doing the 20% to do perfection. And then let's all take a deep vision comes in because you might have some ideas about what you think will make you stand out from the crowd. What would make your customers feel that shopping at your website is a unique and pleasant experience. But Solteq take the deep vision and the guesswork out of that, because you can actually view exactly how that your customers are using your website in your front gate. You can see the problems that they have and are struggling with, and based on that, you can make the changes to those 20% so that it's not just what you think, but it's actually something that you can prove that is working and that is improving the experience that your customers have on the front end. This was very quickly on how that together with Solteq and that deep vision, we can actually improve upon what we already think is a very good platform for the way out of the box capability. So with that, I will hand it over to you, Steve.

Steve: Thank you very much, Thomas. Firstly, I am very glad to be here in conjunction with Dynamic Web and welcome everybody to the webinar. A quick introduction for myself. My name is Steve Coates and I'm the director of Expat Services at Solteq with just a rough background. I've got seven years plus as a global customer experience consultant. I manage deliveries across the Nordics, Europe, UK and actually globally. I have had the benefit of working with enterprise customers large, medium and small in the web field. So the format of today's webinar, the remainder of this really is as follows. So I'm going to go into a deep dive into e-commerce search, what that means for your business, how customers interact and what true customer experience means. I think Thomas really kind of hit the nail on the head there on how you can really kind of stand out from the crowd. Then we're going to have a five to 10 minute just demonstration of the product, how you can use KPI's to identify struggles and most importantly, how you can act upon facts with data in mind. And then we'll have a five to 10 minute Q&A session this time remaining. And I would ask everybody, if you do have pertinent questions throughout the presentation, please do put that into chat and we'll try and pick that up at the end. We'll get into the topic. Very quickly, I represent Solteq. We are a Nordic IT service provider. We deliver across the whole of the Nordics and obviously we are also located in the United Kingdom. Our mission is to simplify the digital world to make a better tomorrow and hopefully with what we're going to discuss today, you'll see how that's not just a statement. That's really what we kind of we live up to. So getting into the depths of what we want to discuss today, I think everybody who is attending this call really understands that search is an expected and critical function of nearly all e-commerce websites, and as Thomas just let into us there, that's why Dynamic Web has options for lay out options to be able to have a responsive design, et cetera within the setup, and often one of the things that's not commonly understood is that surge can actually be very difficult to implement and it's an ongoing asset to Choom, which requires time and effort on behalf of your team. And actually, it can be quite considerable time and effort, but what I'm going to take you through today is actually demonstrating with that time and effort and being able to really understand the problems, have them prioritized for you so you can address them quickly and accurately and it's really important and actually can give you quite a boost. So what I mean by that is a well performing search engine, we have seen across our customer base and there are many blogs and white papers on the Internet actually boosts average basket values and improves conversion. Now, that's an interesting statement because boosting average basket volume is actually an improving conversion on its own. If we can get customers to purchase more in one particular search journey, then that really does allow us to kind of optimize our customer experience. And also the bottom line for your site. However, this is the flip side of the coin, if you integrate search incorrectly, it really does have the capability to lead to some significant customer frustration. We are all compared to Google. Unfortunately, this is just the state of play of the world and really importantly, we must ensure that we do our very best to at least give an equivalent experience, and that has multiple factors from both UI layout to what search actually returns and importantly, how quickly search returns. And finally, one thing I want us to all consider on this session today is that digital platforms are definitely a critical revenue generator. We all have targets for growth. We all have targets to really increase our customer conversion cetera. But remember, the side profile to this is that the website also reflects your brand and your values. So making sure that customers can easily find what you are selling is not just a benefit to your organization, but it's a benefit to the customer. So I want everybody to keep that in the forefront of your mind. So diving into the facts, I think it's important if we look at the numbers here, just to give us some statistical relevance and what we have in these statistics are available online and blogs but we've also kind of looked at our customer base to give an aggregated view of the data. Globally, In 2019, average global conversion was two point 86 percent. That's everything from marketing campaigns, organic customer acquirement and all of those elements in between. Now, out of those journeys, what we say that there may be many banks rates, that may be multiple things that customers actually happen within the conversion. However, one of the things we definitely see, and this is a growing trend, is that 30% plus of all of your customers journeys will interact with search. So lots of really important statistics, 30% of people using search and actually I see this as a really increasing trend year on year. I'm actually going to state that in 2020, certainly we are moving up to the [inaudible] and it could be anywhere near [inaudible]. What we see, though, and this takes us back to my original statement, if we have a problem with search, once we've actually got someone onto our site and they are interacting, if a customer calls one failed or negative search within that journey, that conversion rate is 6.87%. So these are customers who have not bound. So it's really important to note that. But what we see conversely is that if we see a customer who has one successful search in that journey immediately, that percentage of conversion increases to 15 point five percent. So that's really interesting to understand. Successful searches lead us to eight point seven two percent on average, higher conversion. So immediately we can see the benefit of making sure that search when possible, when is used, we can make that work. We automatically have a significant jump in conversion rate. Now, facts and figures are across the Internet. Regardless these days, but what I thought, I demonstrate one of our customers, which we are extremely privileged to work with, is a B2B customer and they provide electrical equipment and multiple other products. And I thought this was a really great slide and showing how important searches and also Web search is located and really giving you an idea of how customers actually interact. And what we can see just from a very simple visual representation is that in a very small space of time, we can see the share volume of clicks that actually occur within the search facility. Now, there are obviously other areas of publication, but I think what we can see is certainly from a prioritization perspective, the search bar being in the middle is no coincidence and actually this would be the same throughout multiple products and multiple pages within the website. Now, just having a quick view of the evidence and some facts are very interesting, but I thought what to do is I'll give you an insight into the behavior that we actually see when search happens. So when we're focusing on negative aspects and deep vision a product which allows us to actually weight negativity. We look at negative bias. When we see negative searches, what we typically see, our customers are then immediately performing another search. OK, so we can say that seems very logical, but what we want to do is really make that customer search work first time. Now, if they do see and if they search and they don't just immediately search, other customers, well, then choose another form of navigation. That's fine. Development of your site has things like [inaudible], menus down the side, filters, et cetera, but do we want to be forcing them into that journey again? And then the final negative, which is obviously all of our worst case scenario, is that the customer experience, a failed search and they abandon and we see this very highly. And actually we deliberately developed our product in a way in which we can measure these KPIs and see what that actually looks like. So facts, figures and some evidence. What does it actually mean to you? Well, I thought what we do here is we just talk about the search and the importance of search and really give it some background so you can kind of understand a little bit more of how we see things. So when we have a look at search usage, it's important again, when I talked about brand, but 81% of customers who search online typically do that before they make a purchase in a physical store. So we've got a lot of articles around the back of this. But what we can see it's not just the websites that needs to perform well, it's the fact that if the website can perform well, it can actually improve your customer footfall into physical stores. So that really enables customer engagement and cross-sell opportunities where negative searches may also impact your footfall. So something to consider. Also, if customers kind of do see site search issues, those issues will impact, as I said before, about 30% of your most important visitors. Why? Because we know that searches convert around about one point eight percent higher than other visitors. So we really need to make sure that the search is working because they are the important customers. So what we can say is making sure that search works is important, because if your most important customers experience an issue, they could very easily turn into detractors, which is not what we want. So we want to make sure that we're absolutely accurately making sure that search is optimized to its fullest capability. So what does actually impact search? I want this to really to be useful for everybody. I want you to be able to take things away. And what we typically see are a few customer behaviors and then actual issues that we see from the deployments of our customers websites, which we can work on. So as I said at the start of this session, customers will always compare your site to Google. So that's a factor you have to consider. We are making sure that we get results are important. Customers are not patient. We spend a lot of time doing wire frames. We spend a lot of time being able to kind of prove that search is working but we really need to consider that those edge cases that are out there, actually a customer may trigger that edge case and they are an important visitor. Competition is always one click away. Working with many companies, this becomes a mantra. Unlike being out in a physical world where you may have to walk between the shop when it's raining, when you're online a customer, your competitor is a click away and that's something to be very aware of. And finally, the UI layout search, which is why the dynamic web design allows us to quickly and easily move between different designs for search. Very important if a customer cannot find searches easily, if it's squashed in the corner of the site or it's not easily available, then we can have issues. So it's very important to make sure the customer can easily navigate to search. What actually impact the quality of search is a very long and long list indeed. But I thought what we would do was group them so that everybody would understand kind of the key areas that we see where search has a problem. Now, the first thing we really see going from the top right all the way around is product data quality. Actually making sure that the data that you're feeding your search engine is a good quality is vastly important. Then we have the feared failed search zero results. Now, this could be for very genuine reasons, but as I'll go on to describe, sending no results is actually a really an unusual way of navigating the customer to nothing. And it's something we should really consider in our design. We've got things like product or overly complex product waiting, things like we may want to be and prioritizing campaign products or we may want to be looking at specific categories that can actually cause problems across the whole search functionality. Inefficient order suggest this is things like pseudonyms, which I'll move on in a moment. They are not quite correct and typing ahead causes unwanted or blank, all of the suggests to be provided with synonyms. This is one of the ones which potentially has a lot of effort behind it, but can bring back a significant return on investment. If these poor search terms or spelling mistakes, for example, are actually accounted for, we can get really good results from the incorrect results where customers take one potential brand name and actually get a significantly higher number of results that they wanted. Customer is using search primarily as a filter these days and one of the final ones, which I'm very passionate around is search performance. How long does it take us to return results? If a customer has to wait one, two, three, four seconds for search results that can often result in very poor experience. And then finally, business processes. What are you doing to actually get those searches into your search engine? What are you looking at? What are you categorizing? Can you group things better? So they are the key things that we see typically when customers make changes to any of these, that we see a good return on investment. So we've talked through the theory of search that is evident to us all here, I'm sure, but hopefully the facts and figures have given you something to really chew on. But what we find is really useful and is absolutely critical to make sure that you optimize your search by measuring your KPIs. And I think staying on this web access is very obvious. But I think search is a definite KPI. Very simple. Do we have successful searches? What are the percentage of failed searches? How many unique customers are performing those searches? And within deep vision, what we've done is we've provided very simple templates. Ballout that are extremely effective from our customers and can actually provide a great return on investment. And I'm going to go in now and just demonstrate how that actually works. So what we have here are division templates, so I'm just going to play a little video and take you through this. So as I've mentioned throughout this process, we really need to be able to measure. And what we've done is we've built a pre defined set of dashboards which look to give us some key KPIs on what's happening. So the number of searches over a particular period, the number of failed searches, the number of unique users that are performing those searches. We are able to segment very easily between desktop mobile traffic tablets and then potentially bots which are maybe scraping. So other areas of traffic. When we see spikes, they are what we want to drill down on there, what we want to really view and see. And obviously struggle, failed searches, all one of those things which change continuously because you're adding and removing products to your product search. What we do is we also capture all of the successful search terms, look and see what is the most top performing search over a period of time. We can see things like the average session time based on, again, simple segmentation. A lot of our customers actually take these in the terms of dynamic web and what we do is we are able to then go down and say, OK, what customizations do you want? Do you want to look at specific campaigns? Do you want to look at particular product categories for this? Successful search terms and capturing those are really useful to allow you to understand what's trending. In the same way we look at failed searches, what are the top failed search terms and really importantly, we identify very quickly what was top failed search terms. Again, that can be done on the date. It can be segmented by the different traffic types and we can see what's going on. Now, this is all come together in demonstrating to you, but those are very much real world scenarios that we see very simple to go down and identify what is happening [inaudible]. And then, of course, we can see individual search terms, and what we can do with our product is we can drill down much deeper than any other analytics tool and really dive down into what's happening. As you would imagine, one of the key things we look at here we will demonstrate it to you in a moment is that we can see immediately the difference between failed search versus conversion. So over this period in time, we can see not only what those failed search terms for are, the top 10 in this instance, but we can see that successful search conversion is 19 point one two percent where the failed search conversion is six point one seven percent. Again, slightly different figures to what we've seen but again, remember, a lot of the figures are provide aggregate data. In this instance, we can see a significant difference between people who have successful search and convert versus those customers who have a poor perception on conversion. It's very critical to understand the difference and how those hard facts in front of you. Again, we can have a look at exceptions for content marketing and simple segmentation that is very easy for us to buy and it's a very very basic context. And again, we can look at the differences between the traffic types. My customers use these dashboards daily to work on identifying what they have to fix within search and as I mentioned before, not only can we see when a failed search happens, but we can also go down to evidence so we can use these links very quickly, not just to go down to statistics, but to look at the actual customer session in which these elements happened so we can go down and see, did it actually happen? And what happened after a failed search. So, again, not just qualifying data, but really we go down to understand. Again, like I showed you in one of our customer cases, we can not only go down there, but we can see the key interaction points. You can measure the difference when people are actually using the search. And what this is very useful for when we look at the options that are available to us and dynamic web where we can move where search is, we can see in the different responsive designs, we can have a look and see by the different traffic types, the different devices that are used, how search is being used. Imagine if you can now take these learnings, understand that and make your search better by simply understanding the critical KPIs, changing search based on evidence that you have and then ensuring potentially by a NB test or simply deploying and then measuring the difference. And you can immediately see the benefit. I challenge everybody to see if you're able to do that within a very short space of time. Some of our customers have made changes in hours and seen results. So very powerful to involve key stakeholders to support this information. We can also look at elements like accessibility testing, so not just looking out if search works, but just search work for some of your most vulnerable users. Can people with the design of the site have a problem with the text? Can we have a look at that? So what this tool does out of the box with no customization is to look and identify what accessibility issues that may be, what terms that can be used. And also, very importantly, what you are seeing here does not have to be used by a technical user but several clicks away and you can get evidence based on what you want and make these changes. So hopefully that gives a little bit of background on what we can do with a solution. So within deep vision, again, just to confirm pre-built templates looking at these key KPIs search being one of those that you see across our entire customer base from evidence being able to go down and quickly quantify what good searches are. What bad searches are, how many customers see both and what the conversion is immediately out of the box and again going down to evidence. So not just having statistics, the statistics sake, but going down to being able to look at those customers and really understanding a little bit further what is then the result of what those customers do next. So, again, taking what we've learned and sharing the experiences that we have, and I think one of the key things is looking at how can actually optimize search. What we did want to do today was just give you a theory to give you some really good places to start. And three top tips that we have do involve effort. But again, what we see is this can give us some significant return on investment, give us some real uplift. So I can't stress enough that measuring and identifying key search terms which are failing is really key to understanding what your customers are searching for, identifying the top failed searches and then applying synonyms or other optimizations to be able to make sure that those search terms no longer fail. It's a key area that we focus on immediately. Secondly, I want to be quite open on this front. This can take some time, but we've absolutely seen the relevance and the worth of this is to review your current pimp or product data sets AND really look at it for quality and accuracy, because what you feed into a search engine is quality will come out as quality. And conversely, if you put rubbish in, as we all say, then you'll get rubbish out. So it's very keen to look at housekeeping, really do audits of your pin and make sure what's kept on top of. And then finally, and this is a design where you've got 80% of the work done for you and 20% customization serves a huge amount of benefit, is looking at instances where search results can't be returned. What do you do with the layout of that page? How do you improve that? Can you return the top trending products rather than zero results? Really something for you and your team to discuss. But I cannot recommend highly enough that this is an option that you should look at. So how do we then apply this to really make sure that not only our customer experience improves, but our underlying business and our bottom line improves? And again, the deep vision product is really built around delivering continuous digital improvement. So what we look to do is a simple five stage process. As I've said to you, using KPIs. This is simple to do. So what we do is we identify, quantify and monetise issues. And this is where we were able to establish across our customer base. That search is one of the key areas that we should focus on. We can use our biometrics analytics to map impact versus KPIs. And again, search is a key KPI and understanding the trends of positive and negative impacts of search is critical. Using KPI and analytics, you are then able to provide prioritization and focus. Is it really worth asking your search team to spend a few hours on Cinnamon's? Well, yes. If we are able to prove that some of the top search terms are failing because of a simple issue, then we can make changes based on that evidence. And this is a really cost effective method of making sure you're attacking the top problems straight away. And then finally, because we are constantly measuring those impacts and the KPIs, we can then prove that our effort has been worth it. We can understand the financial and customer experience benefits around actually [inaudible] change. So I'd like to thank everybody for staying with me for this long, and I really do hope that my explanation around why search is so critical to our e-commerce customers is really very an area where we are very passionate about making sure we optimize highly. And what I would like to put forward is, as this is Solteq division's very first webinar in collaboration with Dynamic Web, we have decided to offer two free proof of concepts on this fact, taking search, looking at search and really seeing how we can optimize your website. This is definitely a limited time offer and it's on a first come, first serve basis. But what the free PIC would include and it would be around one to two weeks of free data capture and analysis of one domain and we will then deliver you the kind of top one to three findings with some recommendations on how you can use industry best practice to identify and fix your problems. It's delivered as an executive report format with data that is completely yours. And obviously, for more information on this, please get in touch with Thomas via this link. We have come to the end, and I think what we'll do is I'll have a look at chat and we'll open up for some questions. But just before we do that, I'd like to say thank you very much for everybody on this. We are doing this as a webinar series, and we are looking next at how we can determine reasons why this is abandoned, your marketing conversion falls and understanding struggle. The real reason why paid visitor quit. So again, along these times, I hope that's going to be something that could interest you and will be on the same basis of this. But Thomas, I think it's probably and that if we can open up for questions, if anybody has questions. So I'll move across.

Thomas: Thank you. Steve. And it's only been a few questions, and it was just about some of the details on the conversion rates going with failed service, with no [inaudible] and so on. But do I think that I answered them to Eric and [inaudible] raise your hand. And that also goes for everyone else. If you have questions, either raise your hand and you can write them in the questionnaire in the chat.

Steve: Obviously, if nobody has any questions or wants to air them through this forum, please feel free. You can see my e-mail address or thomas' email address and please feel free to raise any direct questions if you would like to ask those. But I really do hope that this gave you an insight into how we support our customers, support their customers.

Thomas: We have one question from Noah and he's asking, how is this data captured to be efficient, for example, those data that goes into the heat map?

Steve: Very good question. So deep vision is actually a product that uses a JavaScript SDK and this SDK is from a CDN. So the only thing that we need our customers to do is to [inaudible] the SDK into the head of all of your pages that you want to track. But data is then obviously sent securely to an end point, which is a SaaS cloud based solution. So with this, unlike a lot of other tools where there's a lot of manual tagging that needs to happen, deep vision has the benefit of a single deployment of an SDK where we can do all of the tracking on all of your pages for you. One of the questions which may come up subsequently on that is obviously GDPR and the tool is highly GDPR compliant which is one of the benefits of the tool. But yes, I hope that answers the question.

Thomas: You'll find these days that a lot of tools that are essentially JavaScript based.

Steve: Do we have any other questions?

Thomas: I think that was it. Thank you. No more questions. Thank you very much for joining us here today. And as we've told, there'll be another webinar where we go into some other areas. And of course, there's also a lot more webinars. This session has been recorded. So if you had to go away for some minutes and you missed out on it and just want to revisit, you will receive an email with a link to the recording of this session, but with no more questions. Thank you, everyone. Thank you Steve, and hope to see you in another webinar. Thank you. Have a good day.

Steve: Bye.

Thomas: Bye bye.