Seventy-Five Percent of Ecommerce Search Functionalities Underperform, Forcing Consumers to Leave Empty Handed

Klevu benchmarking report rates Vera Bradley Canada, Roolee, Pink Lily, and Perry Ellis highest among 78 North American ecommerce sites researched

Seventy-five percent of ecommerce websites in North America 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 three-quarters of the 78 retailers researched delivered zero or irrelevant results when presented with complex queries. Less than 10% of these retailers have the functionality to understand natural language and respond with products that were a precise match. Furthermore, more than half were unable to handle misspellings by shoppers, with 75% missing out on additional sales through relevant product recommendations.

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“It’s clear that major retailers need to work harder to ensure that their ecommerce experience meets consumers’ expectations”

Vera Bradley Canada received the highest rating for best product discovery experience across all benchmarking criteria. The travel accessories 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—no easy task given the brand’s broad range of product types in myriad print variations.

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.

“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 Kelvu. “As the ecommerce market in North America 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 will be the ones to continue to gain market share.”

In other findings, forty-four 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%. Many retailers struggle with personalization, focusing too heavily on demographics as a means of segmenting shoppers, without considering intent and relevance. As personalization becomes more sophisticated, retailers will need to focus more on behaviors and less on demographics to offer recommendations.

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