E-commerce Link: Enhance Your On-site Search
According to Internet Retailer (Feb. 5, 2004), Batteries.com attributes a 30-percent improvement in sales conversion to its deployment of a more intuitive on-site search tool powered by technology from Endeca Technologies Inc. (www.endeca.com).
You may not even have to use an entirely new technology to get better results. Barewalls.com modified its own in-house search tool to sort search results according to popularity. This was a major contributor to a 19-percent year-over-year increase in sales (Internet Retailer, Feb. 13, 2004).
Do the Simple Things
If you do nothing else to improve on-site search, follow these two pieces of advice.
First, make sure your search box is readily available on every page of your site. The Nielsen Norman study found that many shoppers never find the search feature in the first place, even though they are looking for it. Second, plan for the future. Take a look at your Web site statistics and start tracking some basic numbers:
• What percentage of your customers currently use your search feature?
• What percentage purchase an item they find using your search feature?
• How many times does “no results found” come up as a search result?
These will give you some insight into the effectiveness of your current search tool and will be very important when evaluating the benefit of advanced search technology.
Although the improvement in immediate sales can be considerable, perhaps the greatest benefit of adding an intuitive search feature is the increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Imagine how grateful your customers will be when their lost couch shows up on your Web site.
Ken Burke is president and CEO of Multimedia Live, an e-commerce technology and development company based in Petaluma, CA. He can be reached at (707) 773-3434 or by e-mail at email@example.com.