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The ROI of Site Search

The ROI of Site Search

Site search is often an overlooked feature on websites, but it can provide a massive return on investment (ROI). In fact, site search has been shown to improve conversion rates, lower support costs, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and more. This article is a roundup of search ROI statistics and qualitative observations for different use cases. Next time the boss asks you whether it makes sense to invest in site search, your answer should be Hell Ya! Yes, and here is some support:

Conversion rate improvement

One of the most obvious ways site search can impact ROI is by improving conversion rates. When users can quickly and easily find what they're looking for on your website, they're more likely to complete a purchase or sign up for a service. In fact, studies have shown that site searchers have overall higher conversion rates than non-site searchers.

According to Econsultancy, up to 30% of ecommerce consumers use on-site search. Visitors who perform site searches are demonstrating a higher level of purchase intent; in fact, they are shown to convert 5–6 times more than non-site search visitors. In some case studies, site searchers accounted for 13.8% of all revenue.

Not bad, but Accenture showed even better numbers for AI-powered search. AI search, such as Neuralsearch and reinforcement learning, deliver better results than their older keyword-based search cousins. Accenture indicated that AI search can increase revenue anywhere from 10% to 30%.

Speaking of AI vs keyword-only search, sites with a semantic-based search engine have a low 2% rate in shopping cart abandonment, compared to as much as 40% on sites with plain text search.

Just increasing your site search box's visibility can boost conversions. When one company made their on-site search more visible...

  • Site searches climbed by 439%
  • Visitors stayed on the site 110% longer when they used search
  • Page views increased by 45%
  • Goal completions increased by 242%.

Even if visitors don't convert the first time around, Moz also noted that "People who perform an on-site search are more likely to return to the site with an intent to purchase."

Speed matters, too. You want your search engine to be fast. Page load time affects the purchase decision of almost 70% of shoppers. Amazon found that at 100 millisecond delay can cost millions of dollars.

Customer loyalty

Site search can also help to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. When customers are able to find what they're looking for quickly and easily, they're more likely to be happy with your website. In fact, studies have shown that site search can improve customer satisfaction. This means that customers are more likely to not abandon your site as well as return to your site and recommend it to others.

Good site search isn't just a matter of showing more results. In fact, quite the opposite. A good search engine should help deliver more relevant results which are ranked intelligently. Accenture showed that “40 percent of consumers have left a business’s website and made a purchase elsewhere because they were overwhelmed by too many options”.

According to another study, people who are fed up with your search are likely to abandon ship and swim over to one of your competitors.

The numbers are even higher when it comes to mobile users.

Mobile customers are becoming a larger segment of visitors to your brand, so mobile search optimization needs to improve, too. However, only 45% of buyers are satisfied with retail apps, and only slightly more are satisfied with retail mobile websites. According to a Google study on mobile optimization, 79% of people who don't like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site.

The bottom line: improved on-site search keeps visitors from abandoning your site for one of your competitors.

Lower support costs

Site search can also help to reduce the cost of providing customer support. When customers are able to find what they're looking for on your website, they're less likely to need assistance from your support team. In fact, studies have shown that site search can lead to a massive reduction in the number of support tickets. This can save your business money and improve customer satisfaction at the same time.

According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers attempt to resolve an issue on their own before contacting customer support. That's a massive percentage of your customers! High quality site search allows your users the option of resolving their problems on their own.

Through improved site search, SurveyMonkey was able to offer a better user experience — over 96% of people who visited their help center didn't need to contact support!

Self-service is key to providing a better customer experience while also lowering support costs. A Gartner study found that 20% to 40% of live call volume could easily be resolved using self-service — and search should be at the very top of your list of technologies to improve self-service.

Data and personalization

If all the stats above aren't convincing enough, consider this: site search also gives companies incredible data from which to make great decisions. Search queries are intent data — they tell you exactly what your customers are looking for and what's most important to them. With this data, you can make better decisions about what content to create, how to improve your user experience, and more.

Additionally, search data can be combined with customer data to provide personalized experiences. 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that include relevant offers and recommendations. Companies using advanced personalization report a $20 return for every $1 spent.

Last word

There are a dozen other ways site search can impact ROI, from improved customer loyalty to a better brand perception. This is true across use cases — from e-commerce to customer support. By improving your site's search, you can see a positive return on your investment in no time.

Not all search engines are created equal, however, so be sure to do your research for the platform that offers the best results for your content! Check out our Site Search Buyer's Guide for features to consider when evaluating search solutions.

And, be sure to signup for a free 14-day trial of or contact us for a custom demo to see how we can help you deliver ROI on your search implementation.

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