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I’m excited to share our Ecommerce Site Search Trends 2023 report! We surveyed 900 IT and business professionals to better understand how retailers around the world plan to innovate with Search & Discovery technologies to unlock new revenue opportunities. 

Product Search and Discovery is an integral part of the ecommerce customer experience. It is a powerful solution to unlock increased conversion opportunities and lead to repeat customers; it also drives loyalty and can ultimately increase revenue. 

The survey was conducted by independent market researchers at Coleman Parkes in conjunction with Algolia. 

Trends in search investment

ecommerce search trends report cover

Throughout the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, ecommerce and retail business leaders have had to race to meet demand. First, there was a massive rush to fulfill the surge in online business, then as restrictions relaxed, a shift to more robust hybrid (also referred to as omnichannel or multichannel) operations such as “buy online pick up in store” (BOPIS). With global inflation rates climbing and recession looming in 2023, it’s hard to know exactly where commerce is headed.

Ecommerce search trends strategy

However, what is clear from our findings is that search and discovery has delivered strong, repeatable revenue. In fact, more than 50% of retail professionals surveyed point to search as a revenue driver, and 71% reported they were either satisfied or very satisfied with search-generated revenue so far. Not only did companies accelerate their investment in search technology for the last two years, but 7.8% said they’re planning to expand even more. 

Search and Discovery technologies impact more than just revenue — it affects personalization, omnichannel selling, and more. Below, I’ve outlined just a few of the ways that were identified in this report.

Search can have a big impact on revenue, personalization and overall customer experience too 

Yes, search can massively impact revenue, but there’s more. Decision makers agree that other areas, such as personalization and customer experience, can be heavily influenced too. Personalization of search results, recommendations, and browse pages can drive repeat business and customer loyalty for new text & email, social commerce, and shopping cart personalization programs. 

Search technologies can help you impact your hybrid business

Search technology has some interesting overlap with hybrid (or multichannel) businesses — the combination of physical retail and online ecommerce. More companies are experimenting with providing a fully integrated search experience where the online-search quality matches the in-store shopping experience – all coupled with a real time inventory status. For example, customers could search online to find a product, exact quantity available, and its exact location — aisle and shelf — in the store. While it’s still early days for hybrid businesses that want to leverage search, there’s a ton of upside and innovation that’s possible. 

Black Friday readiness 

For Black Friday readiness, both IT and business decision-makers surveyed had noted that they wanted Search and Discovery technology to help them scale and automate labor-intensive workflows such as merchandising. Margins are thinner than ever. Companies need to maximize every product investment and the productivity of every staff member. Search technologies are built to scale, and new merchandising features promise smart capabilities for optimizations during special sales such as Black Friday. 

Omnichannel selling can massively impact data, personalization, and customer experiences

Around half of the companies surveyed said they had implemented some flavor of omnichannel selling. Omnichannel requires a big effort, but can pay dividends for companies that can make use of the data. Search technology can leverage the data to provide a better, personalized customer experience as shoppers browse and navigate different sites. 

More than half of those developing Search in-house recognize that they can’t evolve it fast enough

Buy vs build – Is it better to build search capabilities yourself, use a search service (such as Algolia), or bring in a systems integrator? According to the findings, both IT and business decision makers said they can’t innovate fast enough in-house. By selecting a SaaS offering, retailers will benefit from a fast implementation and continuous updates along with the latest functionality (such as AI) without any disruption. 

Sound overwhelming? You’re not alone… and it’s not too late to start

Around 50% of the companies surveyed say they are feeling behind — they haven’t invested enough in these technologies. Even if they had, they don’t feel they can keep up with technology changes. It’s never too late to invest in cutting-edge technologies to extend your advantage, particularly with a provider that can offer the latest features and capabilities. 

Get your copy

These are just some of the findings from this year’s report. The Ecommerce Search Trends 2023 report is now available to download.

About the author
Piyush Patel

Chief Strategic Business Development Officer

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