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Search issues stifle online shopping

Monday, October 3, 2016 - 09:54 by Graham Miller

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While Google and other major search engine providers have largely perfected the art of finding exactly what users are looking for in a matter of seconds, the experience of seeking out specific products on e-commerce sites themselves leaves a lot to be desired.

This is according to the latest report from RichRelevance, which found that just over a fifth of people are not content with the performance of on-site search solutions deployed by retailers.

Ninety five per cent of those questioned in the study said that they would choose to stop using a particular online outlet if the results they receive when they carry out a search are not up to scratch. And there are a number of factors which determine whether or not a given set of results are deemed worthy.

People carrying out safe shopping online are likely to be perturbed by the appearance of results which are not relevant to their area of interest or the original keywords they used, analysts found. Frustrations could also arise from a search failing to return the correct item, or if the phrases that are entered by a customer are not properly deciphered by the service.

Respondents went on to criticise sites for putting the search box itself in an awkward or inconvenient position. And if the amount of time it takes for the results page to load is too slow, then yet more people will take their custom elsewhere rather than carry out safe shopping online with the offending company.

More and more people are using their mobile phones to buy and browse items, so it is unsurprising that over a third said that searching in this specific environment did not meet expectations. Retailers clearly need to address these concerns or else suffer a dip in customer loyalty.