The SHIFT On-Site Search Score: How retailers are hiding their products from customers

The SHIFT On-Site Search Score: How retailers are hiding their products from customers

Combining a survey of 1,500 British customers with a bespoke test which ranks 40 British retailers across a variety of metrics, the SHIFT On-Site Search Score assesses the difference between consumer expectations of retailers’ on-site search and the reality of their capabilities.

The SHIFT On-Site Search Score, available now to download, demonstrates a surprisingly widespread issue that we believe is holding countless household names back when it comes to ecommerce: poor on-site search.

When done correctly, it’s able to quickly and easily connect consumers with what they want – often upselling in the process – while at its worst, it effectively hides products from them.

Following initial research into the quality of ecommerce site search, we opted for a two-stage study, effectively providing us with two sets of valuable data. Firstly, we asked 1,500 internet-savvy consumers ten questions about their search habits when visiting retail websites, as well as their demands from the service. The findings were more eye-opening than we expected – underlining a series of requirements that we found lacking across a wide variety of ecommerce sites.

Using this as a basis, we combined our own expertise in ecommerce with well-established best practices to create the SHIFT On-Site Search Score, with which we tested the retail sites of 40 web-only and omnichannel companies. From this, we were able to rank the best and worst-performing brands across five categories, developing an overall score for each one in a final table.

Key findings of our overall report:

  • Two in three online shoppers use search as their first port of call
  • 60% of consumers say bad on-site search has stopped them from buying with a brand
  • 69% of customers expect a retailer’s search function to be as good as Google
  • 32% will immediately visit a competitor’s site if no search results are found
  • Amazon placed first overall with a score of 77; Mamas & Papas was at the foot of the table with 40
  • 56.6 is the average score across our chosen 40 retailers

As our latest report demonstrates, inconsistency is a major issue among our retailers: they may be very good at several things, then fail to deliver a core element of search in a relevant, useful manner. However, improvements must be made across the board – and we go on to explain the ways and means businesses can do this.

We’re committed to encouraging a brighter future for British retail with these free, fair and impartial insights. You can download it by filling in the form on the report page, or drop us a line to get hold of a free print copy courtesy of our team.

We’d also love to hear your feedback on this report, or answer any questions you may have about it. Send us an email to editor@shiftmagazine.com and we’d love to speak with you.

To confirm our initial research into the quality of ecommerce site search, we opted for a two-stage study, effectively providing us with two sets of valuable data.

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