We often discuss site search through a quantitative lens – emphasizing a lower bounce rate, increased conversion rates, or a greater average order value. These critical benefits galvanize the importance of quantitative analysis in business. But what about the qualitative aspects? These relatively unknown benefits complete the picture and provide a full understanding of the power site search has.
Fewer Calls to Customer Service
Site search simplifies the discovery process for visitors, and this results in less calls to your customer service team. By providing customers the tools they need to solve problems independently, companies save time and money which can be re-invested later into revenue-generating activities for the firm.
As a note, qualitative benefits can have quantitative results. Google released an excellent whitepaper which demonstrates the time and money that site search saves. You can access the full whitepaper here.
Lower Product Return Rate
In our previous post on search essentials, we mentioned that on-site search involves more than just the search box. This is true with product highlighting and merchandising. These tools communicate additional details about a product, like available colours, compatibility, and how recent it is.
When you promote a product as ‘New!’ or the most recent, you drastically reduce the chance someone will buy an older model, realize their mistake, and return the product. Providing pictures of the product allows customers to know exactly what to expect, and removes any surprise or doubt. These tools also work together to help decrease bounce rates across your pages.
Improved Internal Product Lookup
If a customer asked you if you carried product ‘X’, how would you determine that?
You head to your website and search for the specific product. If the customer is looking for a specific brand or size, a longtail keyword search is necessary. But many default site search tools don’t perform well with detailed search queries, and the employee experiences the same frustration as the customer.
With intelligent search tools, searching for a ‘yellow size 7 Adidas running shoe’ becomes as natural and effective as performing a Google search. It may not seem pressing, but improving employees experiences alongside the customers is a powerful qualitative benefit of site search.
“Customers will frequently say our website search is easy to use and provides excellent results. Our customer service reps use Nextopia Search everyday as a tool to suggest products to customers.”
Michael Elridge, President, SafetyGlassesUSA.com
One our clients, SafetyGlassesUSA.com, instructs their customer service reps to use Nextopia Site Search in order to make better product recommendations to their customers. This is a great example, where site search works to decrease the total number of calls that customer service needs to handle, while increasing the quality of each call through better product recommendations. A win-win!
Streamlined Product Selection
How do you choose which product on sale is featured on your site? Which products are most popular within your target market? Instead of basing your decisions on historical data or intuition, site search data and click-through rates provide detailed reports to reference.
Learning algorithms automatically promote your top-performing products to the top of search results. This lets you spend your time on other valuable projects, while ensuring that you put your best foot (or product!) forward.
Intelligent site search automates key decisions for you.
Focused Marketing Copy
If you want better communication with your audience, speak their language! This is easier said than done, of course. Afterall, that’s the whole idea behind PPC keywords – to use the keywords that potential customers use when searching for your services. But as we’ve seen, there’s a certain skill to keyword selections.
Luckily, the queries and terms that visitors type in your site search bar provide a complete dictionary of terms customers are using to describe your products. Once you know how site visitors search for your products, you can use those newly generated keywords to refine and perfect your marketing copy.
Our example here comes from Search Engine Journal, it serves as a great example to demonstrate how search results can be used to refine marketing copy. For arguments sake, let’s assume that this company likes to describe themselves as an SEO firm. It has a nice ring to it, an SEO firm; but could it be improved?
Let’s look at the word ‘firm.’ As we can see, ‘firm’ isn’t one of their popular search terms, and only 3.02% of website traffic uses this in searches. Is there a better term that they could be using? It’s logical to assume that using ‘company’ would be a better choice – as this is the terminology visitors are using to find their website.
Using the data provided, we should begin marketing this firm as an ‘SEO company.’ How can we tell if this is the right choice? A/B test it!
Quantitative vs. Qualitative: Who Wins?
The beginning of this post brought to light the current dominance of quantitative analysis today. In the following sections we’ve made a case for the role of qualitative analysis and have provided examples of what these benefits can look like. Ultimately, the winner depends on whether you’re focusing on the customer, or on the company.
For the company, quantitative analysis wins. Conversion rates, profit margins, and revenue levels provide necessary data about the performance and future viability of the company, giving managers actionable priorities and next steps.
For the customer, qualitative analysis is key. It focuses on improving the overall user experience, and enables you to relate to customers by speaking their language. Customers don’t care what your bounce rate is, they care about finding what they’re looking for and being content with their purchase.
To truly leverage the data you gain from analysis, combine raw quantitative data with qualitative benefits. You can use bounce and click-through rates to measure the value of these qualitiative benefits, and create prioritized lists on what to continue, discontinue, and improve.
What’s your experience with qualitative benefits? Have you ever leveraged site search data for internal purposes? We’d love to hear some of your success stories, or help you find new opportunities with your data! As always, you can connect with us at @Nextopia, or go further with one of our search experts by calling 800-360-2191.