In many ways, implementing good site search technology is the technology gift that keeps on giving.
Sure, they’re the benefits you expect to realize. (After all, that’s likely why you’ll sign up). Obvious site search benefits include seeing the accuracy of your search results improve, and your site conversion and sales revenue accordingly rise. But there are less obvious benefits, perhaps unperceived immediately because you as a retailer are busy juggling any number of tasks.
This distinction came to mind following a long conversation last week with one of our newer customers, a perennial member of the Internet Retailer Top 500. This client switched to Nextopia earlier this year from another site search vendor.
Having grown into a dominant presence in its primary industry, it had started to branch out a couple of years ago to offer more products that it knew its core customers had been buying from other vendors. The big problem was that its then site search technology was very inaccurate and unable to search the entire product catalog, which exceeds 100,000 SKUs. Existing customers that were prospects for its new product categories couldn’t find many of the items they might have otherwise purchased.
Cue the search for replacement site search. Four months later, the company picked Nextopia. Implementation on the production servers took a couple of weeks to finetune. Five months later, the new search functionality was deployed on the site. Customers almost immediately began buying more. And several months after the switch, a data analysis revealed that metrics that may not have been initial priorities for improvement had also jumped.
Here are several metrics that improved for this retailer. You may not think of them at first when considering the benefits of site search but as they increase, so too, will your bottom line.
- Number of Searches
The number of searches rose because the search box was more visible and useful.Average Time on Site
Good site search makes a site sticky. Site search is like a tour guide through your product catalog. Give visitors an easy way to look around and the curious will reward you with purchases.
Diversity of Items Per Orders
Customers ended up purchasing increasingly diverse products because they could easily find them. They found (and purchased) disparate items that they may have previously purchased from multiple sources.
Number of Items Per Order
More accurate and filterable search results (along with the availability of more disparate items) generated larger orders in both number of items and dollar value per order.
Best Selling items as a Percentage of Total Sales
The best selling items as a percentage of total sales increased. Because they appeared more often and higher up in search results, best selling items became even more popular.
These may not be the results you’re explicitly targeting when considering implementing site search but you’d have to agree that they’re a pretty good collection of bonus rewards, aren’t they? The ROI of implementing site search will certainly surprise you.