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How the search bar can help your e-commerce startup

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Nilay Oza, CEO and co-founder of Klevu, discusses why e-commerce startups should get their search bar right.

The world of e-commerce is a notoriously competitive one and using all of the tools at your disposal to help ensure you’re a step ahead of your competitors is a must in 2016 and there is one tool in particular that you might not be fully capitalising upon with your e-commerce store – namely that of your site search box.

With so many factors to take into consideration when building an online retail store, site search isn’t something which most companies will immediately view as a priority but, in actuality, it can be one of the most instrumental tools in helping increase sales and enhance the quality of the interactions that you have with your customers.

How e-commerce software can help startups to scale

Needless to say, not all customers are going to be the same and understanding this right off the bat is crucial in terms of making sure your ongoing engagement and interaction with them is as profitable as possible.

Though you might not think it, your site search functionality online – i.e. the search bar that every retailer should have – will be one of your biggest assets when interacting with your customers and making sure you leverage it as such will be crucial for retailers this year.

Due to technological advancements and various software, the site search box on your website can now be considered one of the fundamental tools for interacting and engaging with consumers.

Outlined below are some of the key points to bear in mind when thinking about how best to implement your site search strategy on an e-commerce store:

  • Monitor consumer behaviour – The online shopping experience today needs to be as customised and personalised as possible and your online search box is a treasure trove of data that can be mined using analytical tools to see exactly what consumers are after and, consequently, making it easier for them to find will help to improve conversion and decrease dissatisfied customers who are unable to locate the product they’re seeking.

  • Understand your consumer – Thanks to technological improvements in the algorithmic nature of software relating to site search, it has now become possible to understand much more of the context when consumers are using your site search function and this can then be leveraged to make sure that you’re providing the perfect results for their search and thereby increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

  • Learn and adapt to consumers – The ability to learn about your consumers will be a key objective for online stores and the site search area is the perfect opportunity to achieve this goal. For example, site search software is now becoming increasingly intuitive and the more it is used by a consumer, the more optimised and relevant the search results it provides will become.

Site search is an element of online sales which is only going to become more important and relevant for e-commerce stores over the next twelve months and it will come as a surprise to many just how much data can be extricated from it and used as a means of better understanding consumers, their habits and how best to serve up results that are going to convert.

Any tools that can be deployed to help improve how online retailers improve the customer journey will inevitably have a knock-on effect on the chances of conversion and the site search bar is prime example of an underused by highly valuable resource at the disposal of e-commerce stores.

Using the site search bar on an e-commerce site is generally accepted to signal an intent to make a purchase and, as such, can be considered a “warm lead”.

With this in mind, it is imperative that your own site search functionality is properly implemented and delivers the right results that will help drive conversions.

There are few things more frustrating to a consumer than using the site search and being delivered irrelevant results or, worse still, no results at all (site search is the perfect platform for cross-selling after all).

It might seem a daunting prospect to rely on site search to help drive improved customer interactions and conversions in 2016 but there are various software solutions that can be used across the many different elements of an e-commerce store to improve and manage these areas simply and effectively and all you need to do is ensure that you have them in place.

With as many as 30% of online shoppers using the online site search bar, it’s important not to see yours as something that is just there and, rather, actually embrace it and harness the impressive amount of power it can yield in improving your sales conversions and understanding of your business customers.

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