eCommerce Customer Experience Kills or Drives Sales
When consumers can easily and quickly find what they’re looking to buy, brands dramatically increase the likelihood of converting these searches into sales.
Considering that 94% of consumers abandon their shopping sessions because of choice overload, irrelevant products, or even coming up with zero search results, this is a clear sign that there’s room for improvement in retailers’ execution of practical onsite search experiences. This metric certainly begs the question of how poor the average ecommerce customer experience is and the importance of modernizing how they function.
First, let’s dive into the reasons that search results often fail so miserably and the barriers to purchase customers have to overcome.
Buying Barrier 1 – Too Many Choices
Overwhelming site visitors with choices leads to shopping paralysis. With too many products and options, it’s impossible to narrow down what you want to buy. Scrolling through unending screens of products is overwhelming and doesn’t lend to an efficient user experience. People will bounce before they even put something in their carts, due to having too many product choices. Nowadays, consumers have high expectations for a seamless ecommerce customer experience.
I spent time looking for a metal shelving unit on the Lowes site, and here are my search queries in order with the results.
Search queries performed:
- Shelving unit – 495 results
- Metal shelving unit – 453 results
- Metal indoor shelving unit 95 results
- Black metal indoor shelving unit 64 results
Searching for products via search terms doesn’t have to be a problem if brands add functions to their search bar, such as autocomplete and product suggestions to guide shoppers in the right direction.
Buying Barrier 2 – Irrelevant Results
When shoppers know what they want to buy and unrelated results appear, it’s dishearting, and they’re likely to abandon their search and head on over to a competitor’s site. When a shopper searches for a “yellow girls bike” and receives “boys bikes in black, green, and blue,” those results will diminish the brand’s credibility and have no significance to a shopper.
Buying Barrier 3 – No Results Found
Shoppers start with the search bar at least 30% of the time when they’re looking for a specific product, but when their search queries don’t match the product names, descriptions, or product tags, they’re faced with the soul-crushing message of “no results found” this completely kills the vibe of shopping. A no results found screen is probably the worst outcome for a brand because the shopper is more likely to bounce having gotten nothing in return.
Buying Barrier 4 – Semantics
What’s interesting about language is that your primary target market may speak one way, while your holiday shoppers may use different words and phrases in describing what they’re after.
Let me share an example that might be generational or trend-driven. One shopper may search for ‘ripped jeans’ while others may use ‘distressed’ or ‘vintage’. These are all reasonable descriptions for a pair of well-worn, weathered, or comfy jeans. Although the brand’s primary target market uses the word distressed, retailers must consider gift-givers during their busiest time of the year and add product tags to ensure buyers who think and speak differently can find products that make sense to how they search. There are so many different attributes that can be used for a single item that retailers need to go beyond product names and descriptions and expand their usage of product tags to cover the scope of terms customers may use in helping them find the products they want to purchase.
Sites need to look at their search history data and observe shoppers’ behavior to identify points in the shopping journey where too many choices may be an issue and to limit the problem.
Onsite Search Tip 1 – Analytics
Sometimes a solution is right in front of us. All it requires is shifting your perspective. To identify low-hanging fruit, run the following Behavior Reports to understand how visitors move through your site.
Use these reports to improve and expand your product data efficiently and quickly. These reports help you understand which search terms visitors use to find what they’re looking for in rank order. Armed with this information, review which products relate to the popular keywords and update their product descriptions and tags to ensure these popular search terms help visitors discover these precise items quickly. And most importantly, this minimizes friction and reduces frustration throughout the browsing experience.
Onsite Search Tip 2 – Product Image Attribution Data
Product image attribution automatically detects attributes from images and turns this intelligence into product tags. This technology allows retailers to scale their product data quickly. For example, when intent buyers do a site search for “comfy loose fit jeans” that don’t match a product name or description, they’ll still get search results based on products that have already been analyzed by artificial intelligence to identify what they are.
Digitile’s automated product image tagging identifies attributes within the image and turns those attributes into tags to provide an enhanced site search experience at scale. Brands need to give prospective customers better search methods, with laser-focused product results, getting them to the checkout button even faster.
Onsite Search Tip 3 – Search Bar Enhancements
There are several ways to upgrade your shopper’s onsite search experience by introducing a few basic search bar enhancements.
- Search Box Autocomplete – Autocomplete assists shoppers in finding exactly what they’re looking for quickly, revealing alternatives to what they might be looking for or even additional items they hadn’t previously considered.
- Search Box Displays Related Products – Consumers are visual. Lean on your most valuable sales asset – product images, to enhance your customer’s shopping experience.
- Filters – offer your shoppers broad categories to help them fine-tune their search within a specific category.
According to Spyfu, adding or improving typeahead (auto complete) on a search box will increase the average search length by 1.6 words (from 1.7 to 3.3). Longer, more specific searches lead to higher engagement and higher conversion rates.
Specifically, every word added to a search drives a 15% increase in conversion rate. So, adding autocomplete will increase sales by 24% (1.6 words x 15%)
Onsite Search Tip 4 – Customer-Driven Product Tags
A site with more optimized site search capabilities and better product attribution data built to include customer intent converts anywhere from 15%-35% more intent buyers.
Semantic search aims to emulate how people speak and process search terms accordingly. For example, the Gap carries activewear, and when you search for “gym shorts,” Gap provides suggested categories such as women’s gym shorts, men’s gym shorts, and gym pants. However, when you search for “women’s gym shorts” their search engine has no suggestions, although the results for this search are primarily in the “women’s gym shorts” category with a few closely related items. Gap has added Customer-Driven Product tags on the backend, so when shoppers expand their search terms to include explicit contextual product cues, their search engine provides relevant results.
Digitile affordable automated product tagging solution matches customer search intent data with product image tagging to automatically tag products with relevant attributes that generate relevant search results when customers include explicit contextual cues.
👉 Smarter searches lead to improved ecommerce customer experiences
Without relevant and descriptive meta tags that hit on the search queries visitors make, it’s easy for products to get lost in a scroll of random and unrelated results that do very little in helping out someone purchasing what they’re after. It’s clear that 50% of retailers said that they saw an increase in revenue as a direct result of site search technology.
Through the power of artificial intelligence and Digitile, creating a more precise way of serving search results will help out your brand’s eCommerce customer experience in finding what they’re after and lead to better conversions and loyal customers.