• http://cartmetrix.com Cartmetrix

    Some product sites we’ve worked with have had as high as 65% of users using site search during their visit and up to 30% using it on the first pageview. If you don’t show them what the want on the clickthrough, they are either going to search or leave. Most will not take the time to browse down through categories.

    You are right, site owners rarely get this as evidenced by the amount of time given to nailing down a good site search strategy. When we show them a heatmap of their traffic and they see few clicks over the category drilldown sidebars they rely on for navigation and hugh red ‘storms’ over the search bar, they start to see the value we are trying to bring.

    We have had some really good success skewing site search results towards products with a higher profit potential. This can be done by re-developing the search algorithm to give different weights to products based on profitability metrics not just ‘most relevant’ or ‘most recently added’ search sorting mechanisms.

    A quick hack to see this in action is to place two or three related but featured products prominently at the top of the site search results.

    Another quick fix you touched on is site search analytics. Simply logging and auditing site search logs can find many new products that users are searching for that you may not have. A potential paying customer is on your site and searching. Half of the battle is won. Give them what they want before they go elsewhere. Make smart usage of the traffic you do have.

    Bottom line, do everything you can to get products that can make you the most money in front of your customer’s eyes the most often.