Your e-commerce store's chances of success can hinge upon its findability factor. Boost it and your chances of sales soar; ignore it and you risk customers never even landing on your site in the first place.
Have you ever wandered a shopping mall looking for a specific product from a particular store? It can be a stressful experience, with every other shop vying for your attention – and the money in your wallet.
We wouldn’t blame you for thinking that the issue of findability isn’t such a problem in the world of e-commerce. Users can just type what they’re looking for into Google and find it instantly, right?
Wrong. In fact, the internet – with it’s four and a half billion web pages – is just like a mammoth shopping centre, but with the competition dial whacked up to eleven.
There are two key obstacles your potential customers must overcome to find your e-store and the product they're looking to purchase: external findability and on-site findability.
External findability is the trickier of these two factors to control.
Improving your e-commerce site’s external findability involves branding, advertising, and all the other tools in your marketing toolbox. It’s the same challenge faced by physical retailers: how can you make your business stand out in a sea of seemingly infinite competition?
Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, however, your e-commerce site is likely to be found by the majority of its visitors via search engines – namely Google, which processes 74% of all internet search. So it's vital your e-store appears on the first page of Google’s results. After all, only 5% of web searchers ever make it through to the second page.
Thankfully, there are several marketing strategies available to help you achieve this, such as SEO, content marketing, and targeted PPC advertising – all of which should be utilised to boost your online store further up Google’s search results.
This process is costly and takes time to yield results, but every dollar spent on improving your external findability will drive more customers to your site. When done well, online marketing more than pays for itself in increased store revenue and higher visitor counts.
On-site findability is just as important to get right. It’s great when somebody finds your website, but if they’re quick to up and leave – as an average of 34% of visitors do – it’s a missed opportunity.
Making your visitor’s journey from homepage to desired product page as smooth as possible will keep them on your site and off your competitors’. Focus on three key areas to realise this goal: site-search, related products, and cross-device navigation.
Site-search is essentially a mini Google that lets your customers search your store to find products they’re interested in while providing you with valuable user-data you can use to improve your site.
While only 30% of shoppers use site-search, those who do are twice as likely to convert, and great site-search makes the whole shopping experience easier for your customers
Many site-search solutions are now powered by machine learning, meaning they can adjust how products are displayed in real-time based on factors like popularity, and they can even learn which words people use most to find certain products.
It’s clear that fine-tuned site-search functionality can massively improve your on-site findability, enhance your customer experience, and boost your bottom line.
Offering customers related products based on their search and purchase history gives you an opportunity to increase your average transaction value while personalising the experience. It’s a great way of encouraging discoverability and alerting customers to other products you stock that they may not have been aware of.
We’re now living in a world where most people are browsing the web on mobile devices, meaning it’s essential your on-site findability is optimised for smaller screens. This will help increase sales – 67% of mobile users say they’re more likely to purchase from e-commerce sites that are mobile-friendly.
Does Your Site Have the F Factor?
With more and more e-commerce sites vying for the attention of online shoppers, you simply can’t afford to ignore the role findability plays in the success of your business.
To boost your F factor, you need to harness all the marketing tools at your disposal, such as PPC advertising and SEO optimisation, and implement site-search functionality to make it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for and make a purchase.
Remember, people will never buy from your business if they're unable to find your business.