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2019 Holiday Readiness: Make the Most of Site Search

Illustration of Astro performing a site search

This article focuses on site search and is the latest installment in a tutorial series that breaks down everything retailers need to do for a successful 2019 holiday shopping season.

This is the latest installment in a tutorial series that breaks down everything retailers need to do for a successful 2019 holiday shopping season.

Your most powerful tool this holiday season is your search bar.

The search bar has been a necessity in every website architecture since the beginning — but to many, it’s always been, well, just there. But it’s true power has been right under our noses the whole time. Shoppers who use the search bar are telling retailers exactly what they want to buy. So why not surface exactly what shoppers are looking for, every time?

We’ve found that shoppers who use site search convert at higher rates, have larger basket sizes, and ultimately spend more. In 2018, revenue from shoppers who used site search during the holiday shopping season rose to 24%, pointing to the fact that consumers use it more than ever to research products.

Ready to turn site browsers into holiday shoppers? Read on to learn how to make the most of site search across every device, including:

  • Where to position your search functionality
  • How to capture all spellings (and misspellings)
  • What search innovations to watch for

1. Make your search bar persistent and prominent

A search bar instead of a search icon keeps search visible and accessible for shoppers on any device. In fact, we analyzed several retail benchmarks in Ecommerce and the Quest for Growth to find that mobile shoppers who use a search bar are 2.6x more likely to make a purchase. Persistent search bars at the top of a page capture 15% of usage and 29% of revenue from search compared to search icons, which capture 7% and 19% respectively. 

If you keep it sticky at the top of the page, shoppers can add items with ease. 

2. Make search smarter

A key challenge for retailers is to improve relevance in search results using artificial intelligence (AI). Retailers can personalize search and category pages for every shopper, whether anonymous or logged-in. Leverage the browsing and purchasing behavior of your consumers to serve up recommended products at the top of the page. By serving up products consumers are most likely to buy, you are able to increase conversions.

3. Let shoppers “snap and search”

Sixty-two percent of millennials prefer visual search over any other search technology. Brands can leverage AI-powered technology like Einstein Visual Search to capitalize on micro-moments whenever shoppers see products. Shoppers simply upload an image or screenshot of the product from their phones into your search field. Einstein then looks through your product catalog, recommends, and displays images or other products based on the image, making it even easier to find and buy.

4. Don’t miss out on conversion because of spelling mistakes

Add the most common spelling variations as well as misspellings of products to search dictionaries so that you always surface the right results. Make sure the correct terms display results by reviewing them weekly leading up to and during your peak season. If you see low-converting terms, adjust your dictionaries. 

What’s next

If you’re new around here, catch up on earlier articles in our holiday readiness tutorial series on how to:

For a full picture on everything there is to do, download our 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide and visit the Holiday Readiness Headquarters for a month-by-month look at the tools and strategies marketing, commerce, service, and tech teams should put in place.

Maria Humphrey

Maria Humphrey is a retail and technology industry veteran with more than 20 years of strategy, consulting, and marketing experience. She leads Retail GoToMarket, strategic customer engagement, and global enablement initiatives at Salesforce. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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