New E-Commerce Research Shows 2X Conversion Rates for Online Retailers That Invest in Site Search and Discovery

Digital Commerce 360 and Algolia find dramatic revenue and conversion gaps between retailers with advanced versus basic site search

San Francisco, California, UNITED STATES

SAN FRANCISCO, July 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Algolia, the leading Search and Discovery solution, released the findings of a new survey, titled “Site Search: A High-Converting Investment When Done Right.” The data shows retailers with advanced site search report their desktop conversion rate is 5.9% on average—more than twice as high as the 2.8% conversion rate cited by merchants with only basic search capabilities. Overall, 50% of those surveyed experienced a revenue boost by improving site search.

Conducted by Digital Commerce 360, the goal of the research was to understand what retailers see as priority areas of investment in site search, the key performance indicators (KPIs) they focus on, and site search strategies they are employing to turn more website visitors into buyers—conversion rates included. This report analyzed data based on responses from over 100 e-commerce businesses.

According to Salesforce, 87% of product searches in 2019 started online—an increase from 71% only one year earlier. Resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this number will likely increase, as consumers are spending nearly 50% more online.

“Current circumstances provide a massive opportunity for online businesses to win new customers, particularly in the retail space, as shoppers adjust their buying habits to focus on e-commerce as opposed to in-person experiences,” said Lauren Freedman, Senior Consumer Insights Analyst, Digital Commerce 360. “Many e-commerce companies are investing in their website’s search function in order to improve the consumer experience, and those that don’t risk falling behind.”

Summary of key survey findings:

Only 14% of respondents identified their site search capabilities as advanced.
Advanced search enables retailers to incorporate personalization and product recommendations into search results, provide merchandisers with the ability to modify results to further business goals, and obtain analytics data they can use to further improve conversion. 86% of respondents identified their site search capabilities as either basic—meaning site search returns products directly tied to the search terms the consumer uses in their query—or intermediate, which covers browsing, navigation, and advanced faceting on top of the basic capabilities

Desktop conversion rates are two times higher with advanced site search than basic.
While basic search capabilities yield a conversion rate of 2.8%, websites with advanced search have a conversion rate of 5.9%. Good technology and a trained team requires investment, so unsurprisingly, the companies realizing the benefits of advanced site search are investing in it much more than those with more limited capabilities.

However, even small investments in search can yield results, as 50% of retailers saw a boost in revenue as a result of investing in site search.
Investing in attributes like relevance and personalization lead to the biggest benefits, including overall improved customer experience, more efficient shopping experiences and more time on site. For example, finds that website visitors who use its site search box convert at a level three times higher than those who don’t.

80% of companies either have defined or are working on site search KPIs that will deliver meaningful business impact.
Defining KPIs is a critical step to setting goals with site search and ultimately reaping the benefits. The three most common site search KPIs for companies that have identified them are: increasing conversion rate from search (cited by 73% of survey respondents), click-through rate from search terms (51%), and eliminating searches that return zero results (34%).

“These research findings make it obvious that investing in site search is a key component to boosting online conversion rates. Furthermore, the discrepancy in conversion rates realized by retailers with advanced versus basic search is eye-opening.” said Ashley Stirrup, Chief Marketing Officer, Algolia. “With advanced site search converting at double the rate of basic search based on these findings, every online business should measure and improve their KPIs and ensure they have highly relevant, personalized search to drive more conversions and revenue—especially given that it’s a relatively simple and low-investment improvement compared to replacing an entire e-commerce platform or increasing online ad spend.”

Survey Methodology and Participant Demographics
The “Site Search: A High-Converting Investment When Done Right” survey report, sponsored by Algolia, was conducted in February 2020 and included 108 individuals—38% of which serve at the executive level of their organization. A quarter of the organizations have more than $499,000 in annual online revenue.

To learn more, download a full copy of the “Site Search: A High-Converting Investment When Done Right” survey findings, read the accompanying blog post, and register for the upcoming webinar with, scheduled for Wednesday, July 29 at 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EDT.

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About Algolia
Algolia is the Search-as-a-Service platform that enables companies of all sizes to deliver fast and relevant digital experiences that drive real results. With Algolia, consumers are able to find and discover what they want easily across web, mobile and voice. Algolia allows developers and business teams to build and optimize delightful Search and Discovery experiences that increase online engagement, conversion rates and revenue. More than 9,000 companies including Under Armour, Lacoste, Birchbox, Stripe, Slack, Medium, and Zendesk rely on Algolia to manage over 85 billion search queries a month. Algolia is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Paris, London, Tokyo, New York and Atlanta. To learn more, visit

Shannon Campbell
Offleash for Algolia

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Desktop Conversion Rates with Advanced Site Search