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The Main Problems Users Face with e-commerce site Search Solutions

Discover the most common issues that customers have while using e-commerce site search tools. Learn how to improve your online store’s search functionality to improve customer experience and conversions. Read more now!

The Main Problems Users Face with e-commerce Site Search Solutions

Lots of e-commerce site are trying out third-party search tools to improve their site’s search features and ease the workload on their developers.

But, when you use these outside services, it’s important to know if they have any downsides.

Here, we’ve collected some issues that retailers have noticed with these search providers, so you can understand them better before choosing one for your site.

When customers visit an e-commerce site, they rely on site search to help them navigate through the vast array of products available. A good search experience can make the difference between a happy customer finding what they need quickly and someone getting frustrated and giving up on their shopping.

In the words of Jon MacDonald from The Good: “If you’ve been treating on-site search as a necessary function, rather than as one of the most powerful revenue-generating tools in your arsenal, I have three words for you: Please stop that.”

In a previous article, we discussed the essential features that an E-commerce search engine should have to ensure your customers have the best experience possible. These include things like intuitive autocomplete, correcting typos, advanced filtering options, and personalized recommendations. These features are crucial in meeting the ever-changing expectations of today’s online shoppers.

Why would online retailers select site search tools from third parties?

Instead of investing in creating their own search engine, a lot of online retailers now use solutions created by outside companies. The following are this method’s primary benefits:

Less Work, More Expertise

Specialized search companies are experts in the latest technologies and can provide advanced search functionality for online stores. They offer ready-made solutions with the latest tech or easy-to-use APIs that can be seamlessly integrated with existing platforms, saving time and effort on development.

By outsourcing site search to a third-party provider, online retailers can focus on their main strengths, such as product development, marketing, and customer service, instead of spending resources on activities like search engine development.

Advanced Features

Third-party providers continually innovate and incorporate advanced features and technologies into their site search solutions, such as:

  • AI-powered search algorithms
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Personalization
  • Voice search capabilities

These features improve the user experience and increase conversion rates. For example, vector search is a cutting-edge technology that understands context, going beyond simple keyword matches.

Machine learning-based solutions can offer users personalized recommendations and smart search results, such as suggesting women’s shorts if the user has previously browsed women’s clothing. Developing and maintaining such advanced capabilities in-house requires significant investment in research and development.

Merchandising

Many e-tailers choose third-party search solutions because their own setup lacks advanced merchandising features. Being able to re-rank search results and promote high-margin products is crucial for retailers.

With their superior technology, market knowledge, and specialized expertise, third-party suppliers are a great partner for retailers seeking to improve their merchandising strategy and boost revenue development.

In 2024, Algolia, Klevu, DooFinder, Constructor, and Luigi’s Box are a few of the most well-known e-commerce search engines.

While there is no denying that third-party suppliers have a lot to offer, merchants must make sure their requirements are satisfied by doing a thorough assessment prior to incorporating these solutions into their E-commerce platforms.

Public user reviews indicate that third-party search tools frequently have flaws.

Let’s get started on exploring the intricacies that shops express dissatisfaction with when trying to find the ideal search option.

Customizing UI/UX

While third-party search solutions offer various features, they may not perfectly match the specific needs or branding of every online retailer. Customization options might be restricted, affecting the seamless integration of the search function with the overall website design and user experience. For instance, retailers may struggle to adjust search rankings or filtering options to match specific product attributes or customer preferences.

Sometimes, there are customization options available, but they require effort from the retailer’s developers. This contradicts the idea that search providers should ease the burden on retailers, allowing them to focus on other areas.

For example, some users of the largest Finnish site search provider complain about the limited options for customizing the search results layout and the time required to style their store to match the search pages with the rest of the site.

Usability

Third-party search providers need to focus on making their systems easy to use for retailers. This means having simple interfaces, clear instructions for getting started, and tools that make it easy to set up and manage search features.

However, sometimes retailers find it hard to learn how to use these third-party search tools. The instructions might not be clear enough, or the interfaces might be confusing. Also, some settings might be tricky to adjust without help from the provider, causing delays and frustrations.

Accuracy and Relevance Problems

Third-party search tools are supposed to help users find what they’re looking for quickly and accurately. But sometimes, they struggle with this. For example, they might not understand complex search queries or return irrelevant results.

Issues with Integration and Technical Requirements

Integrating third-party search tools with a retailer’s existing systems can be challenging. There might be compatibility issues, unclear documentation, or ongoing maintenance needs. This can cause problems during the integration process and make the search tool feel disconnected from the rest of the website.

Insufficient Speed

If search results take too long to load, customers might get frustrated and leave the website. Third-party search providers need to ensure that their tools update quickly and deliver results fast. To improve overall performance, third-party search providers should prioritize increasing the frequency of indexing and speeding up search results.

Weak Analytics Functionality

Retailers need access to analytics to understand how customers are using the search tool. But some third-party providers don’t offer enough analytics features or make them hard to use. Nevertheless, some third-party search providers might not be able to deliver predictive analytics and useful insights, which would leave retailers without the resources they need to expand their businesses and make wise decisions.

Customer Support

Getting help when something goes wrong is important for retailers. But some third-party search providers struggle to provide timely assistance, leading to frustration among retailers. Good technical documentation is helpful, but sometimes retailers need personalized help to solve problems quickly.

Even if offering a lot of technical material is clearly beneficial, it is not a sufficient type of help on its own. To maintain maximum functioning of the search solution and handle difficulties quickly, retailers typically need proactive communication, specialized coaching, and troubleshooting support.

Conclusion

Overall, by selecting a third-party E-commerce site search tool, retailers may take use of specialist knowledge, cutting-edge capabilities, scalability, and affordability to improve customer search and spur business expansion. However, depending on the service you choose, following this route could not be without its challenges.

Known e-commerce search solutions frequently have usability and customization problems, inadequate search analytics, difficult integration, and poor support.

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