Three Search Metrics every eCommerce Marketer Should be Tracking

Photo: Flickr / Shardayyy

Why is it that digital retailers always seem to overlook the value of their site’s search functionality? In the brick-and-mortar retail world, it’s well known that a customer who asks for help finding an item is much more likely to make a purchase. The same is true in eCommerce, with site search being the strongest indicator that a customer is ready to purchase.

Yet, most eCommerce sites completely neglect their site search metrics, failing to measure these critical KPIs of eCommerce. Even the basic concepts and terminology of site search analysis is foreign to many marketers and eCommerce teams. As digital retail moves towards a more customer-centric, 1 to 1 Commerce model, it’s more important than ever that retailers understand the importance of tracking site search metrics and establishing benchmarks to measure improvements.

To bring you up to speed, let’s start with the most important metrics in site search.

1) Revenue per Search

How much revenue does every search query on your site generate? If a customer searches for three items on your site, and as a result they spend $300 on items from those searches, each of those searches is worth $100. The concept is simple, and it instantly highlights the value of an effective search system on your site.

By putting a dollar value on each search, it becomes possible to examine and optimize the search experience itself. When combined with a 1 to 1 Commerce platform that can provide personalized, relevant search results, the Revenue per Search numbers become a primary performance metric. Not only can site search now provide meaningful data about customer behavior, it also provides a new opportunity for increased conversions and revenue.


2) Search Utility

How many of your site’s customers use your site’s search system? It’s a simple question, but one very few eCommerce retailers are prepared to answer. To calculate it, simply divide the number of sessions where visitors used the site search by the total number of sessions. It couldn’t be more simple to create this data, but it’s still rarely tracked.

Why is it important? Extremely low site search usage can be an indicator that something in your site search isn’t delivering the results your shoppers are looking for. Maybe the experience itself is poor, with hard-to-read results, images that are too small, or strange formatting that doesn’t play nice with smartphones and tablets.

By tracking this metric, it becomes possible to see how comfortable your shoppers are with your search system. Once you can observe this data, you can begin to improve and optimize it.


3) Search Conversion Rate

How often does a site search query result in a conversion? This should be a fundamental calculation for any eCommerce site. To determine that number, simply take the total number of sessions where a search resulted in a conversion, then divide that number by the total number of sessions where search was used. The higher the Search Conversion Rate, the more effective your search is at generating revenue.

There is no stronger indicator of the effectiveness of your site’s search system. The more accessible, intuitive and optimized the search experience, the higher this number will be. If the site search integrates 1 to 1 Commerce to provide prioritized relevant results and anticipate shopper needs, the Search Conversion Rate will become a much more powerful merchandising and conversion tool on your website.

Learn more about site search. Read The Site Search Goldmine: How Personalized Search Can Boost Engagement and Conversions

Cameron Conaway

Cameron is the Director of Content at Reflektion. His work as a journalist and content marketer has appeared in Forbes, Newsweek, and The Guardian, among other outlets. Connect with him here on LinkedIn and on Twitter @CameronConaway.