Seventy-Eight Percent of UK Ecommerce Websites’ Search Engines Don’t Work — Leaving High-Intent Consumers Empty Handed

New Product Discovery benchmarking report from Klevu rates Grenson, Halfords, and Richer Sounds highest among 50 UK ecommerce sites researched

Seventy-eight percent of ecommerce websites in the UK are unable to convert shoppers due to their inability to “understand” natural language and thus, shoppers’ intent, according to Klevu’s new benchmarking report. Klevu, the Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language powered technology solution, found that over three-quarters of the 50 retailers researched delivered zero or irrelevant results when presented with conversational queries. Only 20% of retailers have the functionality to understand natural language and respond with products that were a precise match. Furthermore, a quarter were unable to handle misspellings by shoppers, with 75% missing out on additional sales through relevant product recommendations on category listing pages — a strategy that doubled click-through rates for Finnish homeware retailer, Eurokangas.

Grenson Shoes received the highest rating for best product discovery experience across all benchmarking criteria. The heritage footwear brand allows consumers to navigate easily using multiple clauses, natural language, and even spelling mistakes. It makes relevant product recommendations and allows consumers to pinpoint the exact product they are searching for quickly.

Complicated search queries are on the rise today as more consumers rely on voice search on mobile, which means that ecommerce retailers must be able to comprehend natural language and shoppers’ intent if they want to satisfy consumers. For example, searches for “best affordable” have grown 60% globally according to Google. Understanding shoppers’ intent is critical for ecommerce retailers to remain competitive today as the spending landscape becomes more complex due to inflationary pressures and consumers use more complicated search queries to try to find what they are looking for online. However, most ecommerce sites are unequipped to understand shoppers’ intent, resulting in customers leaving websites unhappy and empty handed. When sites understand online shoppers’ intent, in the same way a human sales associate might, online retailers’ conversion rates have been found to be four to six times higher.

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“It’s clear that major retailers need to work harder to ensure that their ecommerce experience meets consumers’ expectations,” said Nilay Oza, CEO and Co-Founder of Klevu. “As the ecommerce market in the UK continues to become more competitive and inflation causes consumers to tighten spending, the ecommerce sites that are able to quickly offer shoppers exactly what they are searching for, and merchandise that according to margin, will be the ones to continue to gain market share.”

In other findings, forty-six percent of the retailers surveyed offered no product recommendations on their homepages. Using the right tools to make relevant product recommendations on the homepage lead to significant improvements to a retailer’s bottom line. Amazon has said that purchases made through its recommendations increased revenue by 35%.

Forty-six percent of the retailers did not offer recently viewed products on any page, causing retailers to miss out on opportunities to remarket to consumers who have already shown interest in a specific product. In addition, only five percent of websites showed recently viewed products on all pages.

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Halfords, Made, and Paul Smith were named in the survey as the other high performing ecommerce sites.

  • Halfords focuses on natural language searches that allow for complex multi-clause search strings and misspellings. The retailer, which offers many products and services related to automotive and bikes, helps consumers get to the product they want, even when they may not know how to search for it. Product recommendations on category pages help shoppers discover similar items that they may be interested in.
  • Made, a high-growth DTC brand, outperformed in areas that focused on product discovery and recommendation. Made’s search allows consumers to shop so specifically and delivers pinpoint accurate results. Try “gray sofa with wooden legs under 500.” Directing shoppers to the most popular items within the search overlay provides the confidence of social proof of their choices.
  • Paul Smith drives revenue growth by using natural language processing in its search functionality and navigates misspellings, helping its customer base find a faster pathway to purchase. This brand helps customers with additional recommendations as well as recommending products that other people like them are searching for, clicking on and purchasing.
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