In 2004 we discovered that half of all onsite searches returned no results, despite the fact that products were actually available and could be found by clicking navigation links.

What did this tell us? Well firstly, it made us shudder. Half of all onsite queries returned NO results! Why was this happening? The main problem seemed to be related to poor quality metadata, but we also realised that some of the big retailers had site search tools that were perhaps not up to scratch.

Roll forward to 2006 and we figured that it was about time to investigate the site search market. What tools are available? What are the trends and issues in the marketplace? Why should site search be a priority if you’re selling online?

These questions are answered in our Site Search Buyer’s Guide, which contains profiles of the leading technology providers (with the exception of Google, which missed the submission deadline).

One of the key areas E-consultancy looks at in its buyer’s guides is how to build a business case for investment into a particular internet strategy. In this case, we’ve created a section devoted to return on investment (ROI) for site search.

So, here are five reasons why you need to consider an investment in site search:

1. Improved Sales
   -   Improved usability means users can find things
   -   Higher conversion rates
   -   Reduced abandonment
   -   Increase average order/basket size
   -   Search-based site merchandising capabilities  

2. Higher conversion rates
   -   More intuitive search and navigation
   -   Return visitors who like experience and will convert better

3. Increased site usage
   -   Better user experience.
   -   Increased registrations and content downloads.

4. Improved customer retention and loyalty
   -   More loyalty because information is more likely to be accessible 

5. Improved branding
   -   Better user experience means more customer satisfaction
   -   Smooth customer journey compared to competitor websites

Related reports:

Site Search Buyer’s Guide 2006

Online User Experience Benchmarks 2004

Online User Experience Benchmarks 2006