If you’re a marketer and managed to steer someone to your landing page, congratulations! The hard part should be over. However, if that interested party can’t easily find what they’re looking for, all your hard work (and money spent) was for naught. Frustrating site search/UX not only sours a potential sale, it irreparably ruins all further retargeting of this consumer. Confusing website UX is essentially self-sabotage. Upgrades to your site experience through custom search are proven to increase ROI, conversions, and loyalty.
Great site search is in reality the last step of any successful marketing campaign, and yet it is often overlooked. Great site search closes the deal, and creates an environment that customers want to explore and come back to. Lineate’s Custom Site Search Solutions gives top-flight, personalized site UX solutions that customers want to explore and come back to. Read our eBook and see how!
Example of a Bad Search Experience
What does a bad search experience look like? Imagine this — a consumer, through solid marketing, heard that your site has a sale on a blue leather couch she is interested in. The consumer goes on the landing page and doesn't see it listed anywhere. She looks around for the search bar, and after too many moments looking, finally finds it. She remembers that the brand name for the couch is French and started with a ‘Th’, but the name isn’t coming to her. Is it Theroux? Thibodeau? She guesses in the search bar.
“Exact match not found.”
Undeterred, she changes tactics. She types “blue leather couch from France.”
Another “Exact match not found.”
Frustrated, she tries one more time, and just types in “couch.” 2,245 matches are found, and shown in a list, 224 pages long. Each search result has a description of a couch, but this description is cut off a few words in, and the picture that’s provided is a thumbnail, where she can’t get a good look. She would have to individually open each search to see if it’s the right couch. Screw that!
She looks for ways to shorten her search. All that’s available is sorting by price, name, or how recent the items have been added to the site. None of these are helpful to her search. She gives up, closing the tab and mentally files your site under “Ugh-Never Return.”
Why Good Site Search UX Matters
That example of a bad search experience above? It’s not totally accurate. This hypothetical customer is actually much more patient than your average customer. Most consumers are willing to spend 2 to 3 tries on a search bar to find what they are looking for. And after that — they are gone! And probably never to return… According to Forrester, nearly 70% of customers won’t return to a site that provided an inadequate search experience. That means not only did you lose a sale, but whatever efforts you spend on retargeting will most likely not work. Essentially, good site search helps you close the deal.
Ways Custom Search Helps
Custom search can help in the following ways:
- Enhanced Autocomplete - Enhanced autocomplete provides search suggestions as a user types, allowing them to find what they’re looking for in as little as a single keystroke.
- Enhanced Product Finders - With enhanced product finders, customers can filter their search by whatever parameters a company thinks will help a customer find what they are looking for faster. Examples include make, model, color, size, materials used, country of origin, popularity, and price—and can be categorized however a business sees fit.
- Multi-Category Searches - Related to enhanced product finders, multi-category searches allow for users to choose multiple groups to search in, which fine-tunes their questions to give them exactly the result they were looking for.
- Type-Ahead Suggestions - Type-ahead suggestions offer words and phrases searchers are most likely to use, saving them time as they type.
- Typo-Tolerance - Typo-tolerance gives your search the ability to account for typos, saving for time and ensuring the dreaded “exact match not found” never pops up.
- Highlighting - Highlighting allows a user to easily scan the webpage, bringing the most relevant content front and center.
- Custom Ranking - Data collected from enhanced searches not only helps customers find what they are looking for faster, it gives businesses important metrics to optimally rank search results.
A Real-World Custom Search Success Story:
Here is a quick example of custom search working in the real world: A premier NYC medical center was losing customers because of poor site experience. To help, Lineate built a custom search engine capable of understanding the connections between synonyms to ensure site users — no matter their background — can find relevant results. Lineate also helped index their content to provide more relevant results. For the medical center, this meant organizing doctors’ names, specialties, and open hours to ensure patients could, for example, search for podiatrists available next Tuesday at 3 and book the appointment they need. As a result, the medical center has noted a 12% improvement of their time-on-site metrics, and an impressive 26% increase in overall booked appointments.
Custom searches improve your customers’ site experiences, anticipates needs, finds products faster, and increases retention, conversions and ROI. To see how it can work for your business, contact us for a free site evaluation today.