Drugstore.com offered the best site search in a JupiterResearch study of 42 online retail sites, topping runners-up 1800Flowers.com, CompUSA.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Sears.com. JupiterResearch shares a parent company with this publication.
Using a proprietary framework to analyze the Web site search experience JupiterResearch found that each of these sites offers strong basic search elements. Those that rose to the top rankings used proactive merchandising features to help influence consumer decision-making.
“Retailers must look beyond simply presenting a list of products in search to adding features that ease and enhance the shopping and discovery process,” said Patti Freeman Evans, retail analyst at JupiterResearch.
According to a recent JupiterResearch consumer survey, only 45 percent of consumers know what item they will purchase when they get online to research a Web purchase. Therefore, retailers have great opportunity to influence consumers while they are searching for products.
But Jupiter’s study shows that many online retailers are missing those opportunities by not following best practices. For example, the study found just 55 percent of the top online retailers offer the ability to refine search results by brand, price and style, a search capability that consumers say they use more than any other.
Jupiter recommends features like ubiquitous access to search and relevant results that list customer-friendly product names and price. If retailers do nothing else, they can present products to customers via search in a simple, yet useful, listing according to Freeman Evans.
The researchers’ framework also gives weight to the presence of enhanced navigation capabilities, such as faceted search or dynamically generated attributes that allow searchers to narrow the list of products via features that are important to them.
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