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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : July 28, 2010

Brands: Site search as important as search engines

No, we're not advising all you ecommerce brands to run out and cancel any paid search campaigns. But a new study from Searchandise Commerce and iProspect indicates that on-site search may be as important as buying keyword campaigns. Researchers found that the ranking within site searches were more meaningful than rankings in search engines.

by Kristina Knight

Metrics firm comScore conducted the study, which can be downloaded in full here.

While search engines are still a very important way for consumers to navigate to recommendations, reviews and product information, this study indicates that being able to search on-site with a brand is just as important.

"Search engines and retail websites are the first places consumers turn to when they are ready to shop, whether they are looking for a new laptop, a toaster or a camera. And they are tapping into search engines to find more than just a retailer's product page...they are searching for customer and expert reviews, competitive pricing and third party product recommendations," said Robert Murray, CEO of iProspect. "[Brands] cannot afford to have their offerings fail to show up in the search results...they must have a holistic search strategy that understands and addresses a variety of information for all of the products they sell."

According to the report 66% of shoppers begin product research online with 20% of those beginning at a retail website; search engines and manufacturer websites are also popular beginning places.

For those who start at a retail website, 19% purchase direct from the retail hub or hop to a manufacturer website for more information. After visiting a manufacturer website, many will then query a search engine for information or visit a brick-and-mortar store.

For those shoppers who begin product research at a search engine 37% move on to a retail hub; about half of those shoppers make a purchase from the retail website.

Before you rush to update your on-site search options, take heed. The study also found:

• Pop-ups and other ads should not be display during site searches
• Pricing and product information should be clearly listed
• Product comparison tools are needed

Tags: comScore, ecommerce, iProspect, online shopping, search engines, Searchandise, site search

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