In John Battelle’s best-selling book about Google, he describes how a search box reveals a lot about the “intent” of the user. For example, if someone searches for the nearest Starbucks, there’s likely a Mocha Frappuccino in their future! Google has built a business on mining search intent to generate billions of dollars in advertising revenue.
Intent works the same way in ecommerce search. When a shopper uses the search box on your web site, they’re telling you exactly what they want. Gone are the days when a brick and mortar customer would be “just looking”, and hold their cards close to their vest. Now, if you just examine your search logs, you can know exactly what your customers want.
But most big retailers don’t even look at how their customers are searching. Sure, they might look in the search logs to see what the most popular items are. The truth is, most retailers DON’T analyze their query logs, and so they don’t even know what shoppers are searching for. This means most big retailers are losing millions of dollars on broken site search every year. Shoppers can’t find the products they want to buy, and retailers don’t know what they’re missing… literally!
A few big retailers are finally beginning to embrace relevance testing and “Best Hit” site search optimization. A deep analysis of your query logs will reveal broad areas of opportunity to increase revenue by making your site search better. This means analyzing N (e.g. millions) of queries to identify the patterns and behaviors that will lead to more conversions, bigger cart size, and higher lifetime customer value.
The good news is that there is a rapid return on optimizing site search revenue. Broad systemic issues are readily identified and fixed, yielding immediate results. More importantly, establishing ongoing search quality processes delivers enhanced revenue on an ongoing basis.
So, are you listening?
About The Author: John Holland is a founding partner of Search Strategy Solutions, the only company for large online retailers that specializes in growing revenue and engagement by improving search and findability.