Smarten Up Your (Search) Act

By Mark Brixton | 06 Jul 2011

Optimising search and navigation is key to attracting customers and making sure they come back. Mark Brixton shows you how to take the guesswork out of search.

In the competitive e-commerce world, online retailers are acutely conscious of their need to attract shoppers to their sites and retain them. The challenge retailers face is to work out which of their site features are improving conversions in different visitor groups and subgroups. For many retailers this challenge conjures up nightmare visions of late nights in the office trying to make sense of convoluted test results that took hours, days or even weeks to gather. Ultimately, conducting testing and interpreting results to try and figure out what works on your site—and what doesn’t—can be too costly and time-consuming for most retailers. However, there are some tools out there that can really help, and the way they work is by focusing on two key aspects of your website—site search and site navigation.

Implementing a packaged site search and navigation testing solution removes the guesswork out of site feature analysis for e-commerce retailers. The data you can gather from testing site search alone can help you dramatically improve your site’s design, display, functionality and format.

The biggest reason why it’s a great idea to focus testing on search and navigation is that search has become the most popular way for shoppers to find what they want online. Testing how your customers use your site’s search and navigation is a great way to find out what your customers are shopping for, and the way they use your site to shop. Recognising this back in 2008, the Jelly Belly Candy Company decided to get smarter about how they used and tested site search on their website. The results were impressive—the company’s site conversions increased by 33% and the value of each order went up by 10%.

The path to achieving such results is focused, near-real-time testing with a dedicated testing solution. With focused testing, retailers can clearly see how to optimise site search and navigation to improve the search experience for their customers. What’s more, they can also get invaluable data about which of their site features are leading to the most conversions. From this point it’s much easier to make the right adjustments that will deliver measurable results.

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