On-Site Search – Is it working for you?

We’re going through the process of design and user experience for a new customer and the usual site navigation questions come up; what should we do about the search? Is it as important as the category navigation? I have my own opinion, and the analytics of sites I’ve worked with in the past, but I wanted to know what the rest of the eCommerce world was saying, so I did a little searching…

As I expected, you’ve got people in both camps. Some say that we’re living in the age of Google, and people aren’t patient enough to click through categories and filters so they just type what they’re looking for. Others (the ones who keep an eye on the stats) say that category navigation and marketing are still the key drivers.

In my experience, site search is not used nearly as much as the general navigation. On average you are looking at 5-10% at most. But we are still finding that making adjustments to search, like better redirects, synonyms, and suggestions, are helping to increase conversions. So it’s nothing to be ignored.

I am a strong believer, and have said many times that every site is different and should be treated that way. I’ve seen sites with 2% usage of their search, and others have over 20%. I love to preach that you should test, and ALWAYS have your eyes on your analytics, so I assume you all know what’s working for you.

So, instead of me telling you, you tell me.

What’s working for you? What are you seeing?

Leave your comments below!