Shopper Speaks (4 of 5): Burned by Search

Posted by Kassidy Bird at 11:04 am in Content Curation, Merchandising, Research

Last week we shared the third major finding from our newest whitepaper recapping our recent consumer study completed with Lauren Freedman of the e-tailing group. This week we will continue to share the major findings in this “Shopper Speaks” series including videos of the actual study participants and discussion of what these findings mean for retailers.

Burned By Search

One of the most interesting findings of the study was around shopper aversion to on-site search. In fact 70% of shoppers opted for browse-based navigation tools to find the right product even when they had something specific in mind. If search is meant to help shoppers find the right product why are shoppers avoiding using it?

What we found was that many shoppers have just completely given up on the site search bar after being continually presented with too limited or irrelevant result sets. They felt like they were limited by how specific they could get and that they had to use single specific keyword queries rather than more detailed strings of product characteristics. 40% of consumers did not trust that search would get them to a relevant set of results.

So how can retailers improve the site search experience?

  • Most online shops categorize products by attributes that fit better in a manufacturer spreadsheet than on a website. Use merchandising language and product categorization that reflects “shopper speak”, allowing for your shoppers to search for products using the words that reflect how they actually think.
  • A search that comes up empty doesn’t mean you don’t have something that could work, but that’s what your shoppers will assume. Utilize “soft filter” options that retain similar items in the shoppers consideration set, keeping them interested even if you don’t have an exact match.

To view the full report, download the whitepaper here. In the meantime check out what real shoppers had to say about being overwhelmed:



kassidy bird

Kassidy is the Lead Generation Specialist for Edgecase. Prior to joining Edgecase, she was the Marketing Coordinator for Invodo. She is passionate about creating live experiences that drive action in a meaningful and rewarding way.

Follow Kassidy Bird on Twitter @uncagedevents

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