As previously discussed, site usability is a huge factor when it comes to building online loyalty and increasing customer retention. This is especially true in the case of ecommerce sites facing stiff competition both on and offline. One particular usability feature which has been shown to increase conversion rates, average order value, and online loyalty is a site’s search and advanced search options.
This is especially true if you have a large inventory of 500 or more products. Having such a large inventory with no way for users to search can make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for and when users get frustrated with a site, they move on quickly and often never return.
Implementing a site search for your products also provides more quality for your customers, in addition to opportunities to further promote your products and sell more goods. If a person is able to find exactly what they want after running a single search, the chances a purchase will be made increases, along with the probability they’ll be back for future purchases. Furthermore, additional sales tools such as including recommendations and other ‘top selling items’ can be incorporated in search results leading to an increase in conversion rates, which in turn raises the average rates of orders; all while building customer loyalty and encouraging customer retention. Some site owners have reported an increase of 50-100% in conversion rates, and up to 300% in site search use just by adding an advanced site search.
It’s common for online stores to have a basic search feature tied with their shopping cart, however, it’s important to make sure it isn’t just a basic search. For instance, some search tools aren’t able to account for misspelled words or hazy matching criteria; all of which defeat the purpose of a search tool.
A good exercise would be to search for your own products in your online store as if you were the customer. If you find it difficult to find your own products, you can imagine the difficulties your customers have faced.