Imagine the holiday-shopping customers who show up at your website to buy piles of gifts, only to discover that your online storefront doesn’t have the red sweater/popular new toolset/cute baby toy they’ve been searching for. They’ll quickly leave your site, taking the potential sales with them – and you’ll never know they were there.

That is, you won’t know that they came to your site, searched, and left unless you scan your search data for clues to shoppers’ wants and needs. Your site search information contains a gold mine of information about holiday shoppers’ gift-buying habits, and a little sleuthing can help you determine which products to add or promote, and how to ensure that gift-givers find what they need on your site.

Look for products, or variations on products, that you don’t currently carry. Granted, given the demands of inventory and ordering, it may not be possible this late in the season to add to stock. However, you may discover that customers are searching for a product that you already carry, but in a different size or color – and it may be easy for you to simply order this variation from a supplier. Additionally, they may be using a search term you hadn’t thought of, so they may not be finding something that’s available on your site. Make sure your product descriptions match the search terms of your customers.

Look for spelling variations for products you already carry. If your customers spell it “ifone case” and what you sell is an “iPhone case,” their searches may not yield the desired products. You’ll find these common misspellings by checking your site search data. Make sure to optimize your site search so that misspelled queries still turn up the correct results. (And consider adding Auto Complete to your site search, which will suggest search terms as customers type – this is a big help for hard-to-spell items.)

Look for popular searches that may not result in high sales. If customers repeatedly search for certain items, but your sales figures don’t show a corresponding uptick in sales, you may need to promote these items more aggressively.

Improve SEO campaigns to bring shoppers to your site. Keyword research is critical to any SEO effort, and your customers’ search terms provide one of the best sources of SEO terms. Using data from site search can save time and provide additional targeted keywords – not merely educated guesses about what customers are searching for – in order to drive traffic to your site.

By taking a few minutes to analyze search data, you can uncover valuable information about holiday shoppers’ buying habits. If you have any questions about these tips, please email us at

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