4 Signs You Need to Invest in eCommerce Site Search

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When the clouds converge and the sky turns a monotonous shade of grey, we grab an umbrella before heading out the door. When disappointment flashes across your opponents face as the last card is dealt in a hand of poker, we use this reaction to raise the bet higher. In almost everything we do, we make decisions based on signs or cues from our surroundings.

These signs affect all of our decisions—from what food to order or what shoes to buy, to which hotels we stay at and which companies we should invest in. But, we don’t always recognize these signs right away. Does, “Oh, how could I miss that!” sound familiar?

When we speak to eCommerce retailers at trade shows or for case studies, they are often shocked at how powerful site search has been for their business. As we learn more about these companies, it’s apparent that many companies experience the common frustrations of poor search, but fail to recognize these as signs to invest in and upgrade their on-site search.

In order to avoid the same frustrations, keep these four key signs in mind:

1. A High Search-To-Exit Rate

The first sign that your search needs an upgrade is a high search-to-exit rate. Slightly different than a bounce rate, the search-to-exit rate shows how many people are leaving your site right after performing a search. This means that you lost the visitors’ attention on the search results page, and thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to correct that.


They might leave because of irrelevant search results because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Or, it could be that their search didn’t return any results at all. Maybe the results just need a better call to action in the results. Perhaps using search refinements will allow your visitors to drill down their results to increase their time spent on your site.

Whatever the reason is, investing in on-site search can provide a seamless solution and reduce your search-to-exit rate overnight.

2. A Disappointing Conversion Rate

It takes more than driving traffic to your website to maintain cash flow, and converting that traffic into paying customers is just as essential as the traffic itself. If you already have a handle on bringing new visitors to your site, why doesn’t your conversion rate increase over time?

It’s because traffic does not guarantee conversions. Although someone may stumble across your webpage, it’s a new battle to turn them into a paying customer. An example of this is a visitor looking for a specific product that was brought to your site through a pay-per-click (PPC) ad, and once on your website, they weren’t able to find the product they were looking for, and didn’t convert as a result.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Improving the functionality of your on-site search not only helps to increase your conversion rate, but users of site search have a higher conversion rate in general. Better site search means more people use it. Therefore, investing in site search becomes an investment in your conversion rate.

3. A Large Volume of Current Search Users

The average percentage of visitors using on-site search varies by industry. A company like Staples might have 60%+ of their visits using search, while a niche clothing retailer may only have 2%.

A steady growth of site search visits is a good sign to consider investing in search. It drastically improves the experience for the user, and helps your bottom line with a greater average order value, more time on site, and a higher conversion rate.


It’s easy to determine the amount of visitors using site search in your Google Analytics dashboard. Navigate to the ‘Behaviour’ section of the Reporting panel, and click on ‘Site Search.’ You will see a pie chart highlighting the breakdown between search and non-search visits. In general, if your percentage of visitors using site search is around 10%, investing in site search can add a lot to your user experience and your bottom line.

4. An Overwhelmed Support Department

Do you notice that your customer service reps are inundated with calls about shipping information, inventory levels, and whether or not you carry a specific product? These are legitimate questions, but they could easily be answered by customers themselves if they had more robust tools at their disposal.

Investing in site search reduces questions stemming from poor search results, helps your customers get their questions answered faster (by having your customer service reps utilize your revamped site search), and allows your employees to do their jobs better. Helping reduce your customer service workload saves valuable time and money for your firm, which can be invested back into other value-adding areas of the company.

When we were discussing the unknown benefits of site search, we mentioned a report from Google that beautifully portrays the tangible benefits you can realize with fewer calls coming into your customer service department.


The tell-tale signs to invest in site search are important by themselves, but they evolve into necessities when combined. For example, if you have a high search-to-exit rate and an overwhelmed customer support department, you should consider how site search can alleviate both of these issues at once. Additionally, if you have a low conversion rate and a large number of visitors using site search, upgrading your search and the tools at your disposal will fix these setbacks. The trickle-down effect of enhanced site search affects many different aspects of your business—all in one fell swoop.

Every business is unique. Some will need search tools more than others, but all companies can benefit from better site search. Keep these common signs in your mind, and when a lackluster conversion rate confronts you, think about what site search can do for your organization.

Are you wondering if search is right for your organization? Want to discuss some of the signs that you’re ready to invest? Even if you just want to talk about conversion rates, our team of Search Experts are always interested in continuing the conversation online at @Nextopia or over the phone at 800-360-2191. Or, to receive a free demo of Nextopia’s powerful search and analytics suite, book a time today.

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