With more and more people relying on online retailers for their shopping needs, site search is an increasingly important element of an eCommerce website, and can act as a highly useful tool to help customers get exactly what they want. However, if it doesn’t work correctly, it can deter customers from shopping through your site out of frustration. In fact, a whopping 95% of UK shoppers will leave a retail site if they receive bad search results.
A recent survey carried out by RichRelevance has found that a fifth of UK online shoppers are not satisfied with the search results they get on retailers’ websites, which could mean a potentially huge loss in customers. Consumers also revealed their main frustrations with website search functions, which we reveal below.
Irrelevant Product Results
This was a bugbear for 31% of shoppers, and the biggest problem people experienced with search results. Site search should make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for, not the other way around.
Inability To Find The Right Product
A problem for 22% of users, meaning they instead need to try different search terms or look through the categories. The products they are seeking are often there but are incorrectly labelled for search, with the strictness of search functions also adding to the problem.
Not Recognising Popular Terminology Or Phrases
The average consumer may think differently to a copywriter or product manufacturer when labelling or describing the product, with this translating into a problem for 19% of people when it comes to search. There’s an easy way to solve this, however, by looking into the site search data to determine the language that people do use while searching for products, and marking the journey from homepage to checkout via their search terminology.
Poor Search Interface
Usability is important when it comes to web design and this shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to the search function. A confusing functionality or alternatively a lack of options to filter down a search can deter users from shopping on your site, according to 15% of the people surveyed.
Slow Loading Results
This generally isn’t a problem that comes solely with site search, but rather with your website as a whole. In an age where fibre optic broadband is becoming the norm, people expect web pages to load quickly, and will soon run out of patience if your results take too long to appear. 9% of people cited this as an issue for them when using site search.
Lack Of Product Images
4% of people surveyed said that a lack of images in the search results encouraged them to go elsewhere with their online shopping. Product images help consumers to identify the products they are searching for, and are helpful for letting people make quick decisions while they scan through a big batch of search results.
Mobile sites for retailers are also becoming increasingly common – however, the site search on these sites are also not without their problems. 36% of the people surveyed said they were dissatisfied with mobile site search, with 34% of people saying mobile search results were worse than those received from a desktop site. These results show that you cannot simply apply the same parameters, design and interface to a mobile site for its site search; rather, that it needs to be optimised to better suit the mobile shopping experience.