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17 MAY 2024

How much does internal search impact an ecommerce’s buying process?

Internal search is becoming increasingly essential for ecommerce: making the most of this tool is a key step in improving the user experience and increasing conversion rates.

From our analysis of about 40 ecommerces, we found that the propensity for users to use the site’s search engine is increasing, with a change of +15% between 2023 and 2022 (6.99% vs. 5.91%). 

There are many reasons why users take advantage of internal search:

  • Simplicity and speed in the navigation path
  • The explicit desire to view a particular product or collection
  • The difficulty in finding the desired products within the navigation menu
  • The breadth of the catalog, which can make it more complex to find the desired product

The Conversion Rate (CR) of those who use internal search is on average 3 times higher than those who do not use it. This makes orders from the use of internal search about 18% of total orders. This is all at a different rate depending on industry and catalog size: from 37% on orders from Retailer/Multibrand sites to 6.6% from Luxury Fashion.

Maximize conversion rate through internal research

In a scenario where the use of the tool is steadily increasing year after year, it is clear that a well-implemented and optimized internal search becomes crucial to facilitate the user in his or her navigation path, whatever device it is on. 

The use of internal search is growing for both mobile and desktop devices with the former having an average usage of 5.99%, rising to 9.58% in the case of desktop

Since it is well known that those who use internal search convert more, and given the current frequency of mobile device usage (up to 85 percent in some ecommerces), incentivizing the use of internal search for mobile browsing through site structure, layout, and related user experience can bring a boost to ecommerce CR and revenue.

Can internal search be improved and optimized?

Increasing the use of internal search should be seen as an opportunity to be leveraged to increase conversion rates

You can optimize internal search either within the ecommerce platforms themselves, as in the case of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, or by relying on external tools to integrate such as Algolia, Clerk, Doofinder, and Bloomreach

A real example of internal search optimization can bring concrete results such as the following.

In a situation where visit growth is steady on both the site and search, our optimization work has resulted in a 15% year-over-year increase in the Conversion Rate of internal search users compared to the overall site Conversion Rate of +1.0%. 

Regardless of the tool you use, it is crucial to do the initial setup correctly and to keep track of the optimization status over time, going to analyze and optimize internal search periodically.

In fact, with the initial setup, you are going to define the different attributes and rules that underlie the functioning of your site’s internal search, thus determining what are the searchable features of the different products. Periodic monitoring is essential for identifying seasonal trends of users and is also fundamental for discovering possible products sought by users not present in the online catalog, thus also becoming an important vehicle for strategic marketing actions. 

Here is a specific example of the results of internal search optimization through Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 


SFCC: how to optimize the internal site search

Facilitating the internal site search is essential to streamline the purchasing process.


SFCC: sorting rules & A/B test

The order and arrangement of items within a product listing on a landing page is incredibly relevant for the conversion.



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