If site search is one of your upcoming high priority projects, then you know that 43% of visitors on a website conduct a search (Marketing Sherpa). If search is not one of your projects, then you should know that you are missing out on that percentage of your visitors who are three times more likely to convert than those who browse by navigation, rather than search.

Here are the top three things we hear from prospects on why search is not something they are currently optimizing:

“Search is not our main concern; we want to grow our brick-and-mortar presence”

That’s great! But as a consumer, how will I know your brick-and-mortar store will carry what I want, if I can’t first search for it online? As shoppers become more informed and more tech-savvy, the search for the perfect dress to wear for that first date usually starts on a laptop or tablet. But there is another reason why site search is important, even if the eCommerce model is not your primary business concern: mobile search. More than 70% of U.S. consumers use their smartphones to make shopping decisions, so it’s important for your shoppers to know whether your brick-and-mortar store carries the nude heels you saw online.

“Only a small percentage of our visitors search”

But how much do they account for your revenue? That’s the first question to ask. The next has to do with how much your visitors actually trust your search, and how willing they are to go through the obstacle course of navigation. Does your search for men’s pants give you women’s dresses? Does the search for a red top actually pull the right color image for your visual shoppers? With an optimized and relevant search experience you are pushing the visitor to the path of purchase, even if they are not ready to buy at the time of search. (Read more in the report: “If you Build it Correctly, They Will Buy,” MCM July 2013).

And my favorite:

“We are busy with other initiatives”

Which begs the question, how much revenue are you losing because of a poor search experience? If you’re trying to keep up with an eCommerce model by trying to balance your marketing initiatives, website redesigns, re-platforming, merchandising, and ultimately having that customer purchase, you’ll want to start with something you can improve right away and that has a great ROI. A SaaS model for site search not only allows you to improve your site search and capitalize on that higher converting market, but also gives you the space to focus on your other projects and keep up with the market’s best practices.

And if you still have some doubts as to whether site search is worth bumping up in priority among your other initiatives, here’s one last point: think about the 73% of your customers who will abandon a site because a poor search experience.

Now, show me that red dress!


(Thanks, Boden!)

Boden is a customer of SLI Systems. Learn how they improved conversions by 177% and increased order values by 215% in their case study.

Laura Santamaria is a Market Development Representative for SLI Systems. For further product insight contact her at laura.santamaria@sli-systems.com.