SalesTech Star

New Research: Us Ecommerce Brands Risk Losing $13.8 Billion in Sales This Black Friday/Cyber Monday Due to Poor-Performing Search


Nosto’s survey of US consumers identifies 4 key ecommerce site search failures that are likely to cause shoppers to ‘bounce’ from online retail sites this holiday shopping season. 84% of all consumers admit they’ve left an ecommerce site because of search issues, including irrelevant results, too many/too few products being displayed or being directed to out-of-stock items.

NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Research with US consumers suggests that basic failings in site search could cost ecommerce retailers an estimated $13.8 billion in lost sales this coming Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM). It also finds that shoppers want retailers’ site search to provide content—including authentic user-generated content (UGC)—alongside product listings to help them make better-informed buying decisions. And it highlights the need to personalize search results while revealing that younger millennials aged between 25-34 are most reliant on site search.

The survey of 1,000 US consumers from Nosto, the Commerce Experience Platform (CXP), finds that the majority (77%) (2) of shoppers head straight to the search bar when they land on an ecommerce site. However, 84% of all consumers admit they’ve left an ecommerce site because of search issues, including irrelevant results, too many/too few products being displayed or being directed to out-of-stock items.

Based on these findings, and on projected ecommerce sales revenue/average order values, Nosto estimates that US online retailers could be leaving $13.8 billion in online sales on the table during Black Friday and Cyber Monday by not addressing basic search errors.

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Key site search failings that cause shoppers to bounce

The research outlines four big site search issues that cause shoppers to bounce (immediately leave an ecommerce website):

  • 42% leave after not seeing any relevant results at all
  • 31% after being shown out-of-stock products
  • 31% after results take too long to load
  • 31% after results return too many options without enabling any narrowing of the search results

Many of these are resolvable according to Nosto. For example, even if a merchant has no relevant products to display, 60% (2) of shoppers in its survey say they would continue shopping if alternative products are suggested upon receiving zero search results. 42% of shoppers agree that one of the ways retailers can improve site search is to provide contextual filters based on their search queries to help narrow down results when there are too many products (e.g. having a ‘cut’ filter for users searching for jeans, having a ‘finish’ filter for users searching for lipsticks). And to avoid listing out-of-stock items in searches, merchants can integrate site search with their inventory systems to ensure it is dynamically updated with product stock levels.

“Our research highlights the importance of site search to ecommerce success this holiday season. Especially as 75% (3) of shoppers reveal that, given the current macroeconomic outlook, they are more likely to browse multiple online stores. Ensuring you have great site search means you’re more likely to capture their attention and have them spend, rather than letting them bounce to rivals. Yet the research finds that many ecommerce sites are simply not getting the basics right,” said Jan Soerensen, General Manager North America, Nosto.

Shoppers want content as well as products listed in search results

As well as fixing basic errors ahead of peak season, the research suggests that ecommerce brands need to go beyond showing relevant products by also including content that helps shoppers make buying decisions.

For example, two-thirds (66%) (2) of consumers engage with relevant content in site search results (such as articles, FAQs, and collection pages) with 65%2 saying they have made purchases after consuming such content.

In addition to this, 58% (2) have engaged with relevant influencer/user-generated content (UGC) specifically in site search—with 64% (2) buying after seeing it. This demonstrates the growing importance of UGC to consumers, who respond positively to this authentic endorsement of particular products by other shoppers.

Personalization drives shoppers’ purchasing behavior

Another way retailers can get an edge during peak is by delivering a personalized site search experience. Over three-quarters (77%) (2) of shoppers say they are more likely to purchase if search results are personalized to things like their purchase history, or specific brands, colors, or sizes they like. And two-thirds (66%) (3) want retailers to use their search queries to personalize their wider site experience from there, such as by only showing relevant products or ranges to them based on their search intent data.

Young millennials (25–34-year-olds) demand most from on-site search

Research indicates that millennials are becoming the biggest spenders during the holiday season. And Nosto’s data shows that site search is especially important to younger millennials (US men and women in the 25-34 age group). 83% (2) go straight to the search bar while 90% agree (3) that a good, fast, accurate site search makes online shopping easier (higher than any other age group). The same percentage (90%) (2) say they are likely to buy a product in the search results that they directly searched for.

Tech-savvy but time-poor and cost-conscious, these younger millennials are likely to be juggling multiple commitments, such as building a career, saving for a home, and potentially starting a family. This means they want site search to be fast, helpful, and tailored to their needs—but 90% (4) say they often come across irrelevant results from search (against 69% (4) on average).

They also want to engage with content, including UGC, in search results—and it directly leads them to make a purchase. 83% (2) will buy a product having consumed related content in the search results (against an average of 65%(2)), while 82% (2) purchase after engaging with UGC specifically.

Demonstrating a desire to save time and money, 81%(3) of 25–34-year-olds believe that site search should be quicker (against an overall average of 62%(3) and just 52%(3) of those who are 55+). 87%(3) agree that, as the cost-of-living increases, they want to compare products from different online stores and good ecommerce search makes this easier (higher than any other age group).

“The indications are that this holiday season, shoppers will be relying on ecommerce site search more than ever to help them get their purchasing right,” said Jan Soerensen of Nosto.

“Retailers know that search results have to be relevant and quick. But, they’ve also got to tackle the other big search frustrations that drive customers to bounce. Make sure your search isn’t listing out-of-stock products and include filters so shoppers can narrow down results when there are too many products to choose from. Adding personalization to search results can help you elevate the overall search experience by making it more relevant. And if you can display helpful content, especially UGC from other customers, shoppers will be more confident in making purchases.”

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