April 8, 2004, 12:00 AM

Site search may fail, but not because retailers don’t know its importance

91% of merchants rank keyword search as “very” to “somewhat” valuable, in the The 3rd Annual Merchant Survey from The E-Tailing Group.


Many e-retailing sites fall short in the quality of their site search, but that doesn’t mean that managers don’t recognize the importance of site search. The 3rd Annual Merchant Survey from Chicago-based consultants The E-Tailing Group Inc. reports that 91% of merchants ranked keyword search as “very” to “somewhat” valuable, the highest percentage of 39 features that respondents were asked to rank.

“Merchants continue to know that site search is critical to satisfying the surgical shopper and there’s no excuse for it not working,” says Lauren Freedman, president of The E-Tailing Group. “But many don’t have the time or the money to address it.”

The five features that achieved the highest scores in being “very” or “somewhat” important were:
Keyword search, 91%
E-mail as a merchandising tool, 89%
Sales and specials, 89%
Seasonal promotions, 84%
Cross-sells/up-sells on the product page, 78%

In terms of improvements retailers in the survey would like to implement at their web sites, improved search ranks No. 2, behind personalization.


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