The results from our annual eCommerce survey are in. Unfortunately, what our latest survey revealed is that a majority of marketers are not taking advantage of the extra “punch” that site search can give their marketing programs. This represents a huge missed opportunity for eCommerce brands to improve ROI of their marketing campaigns and increase sales.

According to our recent survey of 160 global eCommerce professionals, the majority (57%) indicated that they don’t tap into the wealth of customer information in their site search systems. The reason? Half (50%) said it was because of limited resources. Others (30%) simply don’t know how to use site search data effectively. And 10% said their existing site search solution doesn’t allow for integration with marketing programs.

While I don’t doubt that some site search solutions have limited capabilities in this area, my guess is that most people aren’t using site search to its full advantage because they simply don’t know how, or they think it’s more effort than it really is.

Savvy eCommerce marketers use site search data to deliver more customized offers in their email marketing campaigns. Jelly Belly increased their email open rate by 85%. PartySuppliesDelivered uses site search data to guide its Google AdWords campaigns. Motorcycle Superstore and others use SLI to create special site search and natural search landing pages that generate higher click-throughs and conversions, and even fuel their advertising initiatives.

Looking to 2014, survey respondents clearly identified site search, SEO and eCommerce platform as the top three priorities for the coming year. Mobile initiatives and customer-focused analytics ranked next in priority.

It’s great to see that site search remains a top area of focus in the coming year for retail brands, as it has in years past. Of course this is not surprising to me, as I’ve seen how even small improvements with site search can directly improve a business’ usability and profitability, making it one of the most valuable parts of any eCommerce website. My hope is that with this continued focus on search, marketers will take a closer look at the ways in which their site search activity and reports can improve the effectiveness and increase ROI of their marketing efforts.

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to “think outside the search box” and use your site search to drive greater brand visibility and loyalty. If you need help putting some of these ideas into action, ask us how SLI can work with you to get them implemented quickly.

For more insight into the thoughts and practices of eCommerce retailers, download our full survey report and analysis. Also view the survey results infographic.