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New SLI Systems’ Survey reports that while Site Search is a top priority for 2014, lack of knowledge and resources is hindering its use in improving marketing programmes

London, UK – November 13, 2013 – eCommerce companies are missing out on the chance of improving the effectiveness, reach and return of their marketing and sales programmes, according to a new global survey of 160 retail organisations conducted by SLI Systems (www.sli-systems.co.uk) (NZX: SLI).

While the survey shows online retailers’ top priorities for 2014 are their eCommerce platform, site search and SEO, followed closely by mobile and customer-focused analytics, 57% still admit to not using site search reports and information to enhance marketing programs. This is despite the fact that the 40% of respondents who do integrate site search report that their pages convert at 2-4x higher rate than standard navigation pages.

Site search reports can dramatically improve ROI, simply by identifying the terms that visitors are using to search, as well as the items in which they’re most interested. Such rich data can be used to refine advertising, email campaigns and public relations. And, by monitoring such reports on a regular basis, eCommerce retailers can be responsive to changes in behaviour and maintain improved user experience over the long term.

Today, only 25% of retailers say they integrate site search data into email marketing campaigns to better customise offers for customers, with 27% creating SEO landing pages populated with site search results and custom banners, 13% taking advantage of site search to power mobile search, and only 11% integrating site search with various social media channels to improve amplification.

Half of respondents say they are not doing more with site search to enhance marketing and sales programs due to limited resources, while nearly 30% say they just aren't sure how to do it, while 10% cite their existing site search solution does not allow for integration with marketing programs.

Savvy Retailers Reap Site Search Benefits

SLI Systems customer Jelly Belly knows first-hand how important site search can be to the efficiency of marketing programs. The gourmet jellybean and candy retailer uses on-site search data to ensure the appropriate top-searched keywords are incorporated in press releases, advertising and marketing materials. In addition, Jelly Belly uses site search merchandising capabilities to fine tune results and create landing pages for customised product groupings. For a Cinco de Mayo promotion, for example, Jelly Belly grouped various beans together to create “recipes” for tres leches cake and Mexican hot chocolate. The company then uses the URLs of those dedicated landing pages for display advertising, re-targeting and email campaigns. They also dropped a banner tool onto that page to tie the promotional assets from the email or banner ad to the landing page so it all makes sense. The result was an 85% increase in open rates for direct mail campaigns.

“Retailers know site search is a must-have element of any online business approach. But they should also be aware of the rich benefits site search can provide to marketing and sales strategies,” said Geoff Brash, co-founder of SLI Systems. “Using the right site search solution, retailers can glean valuable insights on visitor habits and buying behaviour to help them deliver a richer user experience – which, in turn, encourages a purchase.”

Making Smarter Decisions through Site Search

While half (50%) of retailers are not using site search data analytics to enhance any of their business offerings or processes, 28% are already making smarter inventory selection decisions using site search data, 26% are using site search data to enhance customer service and 18% are using it to augment predictive analytics practices.

When asked which site search features they have already implemented to augment the relevancy of results, the majority of retailers admitted they have not yet implemented features such as Auto-complete with graphics (55%), Mouse-over pop-ups (59%), Personalised Search History (64%), Refinements (43%) or a Floating Search Bar (80%). Most retailers are merely relying on site search features they ‘do’ have like Auto-complete (62%) and Refinements (43%) to do the job, a significant ‘miss’ for these retailers.

The good news is, nearly half (47%) are planning to change their ways – and will work to incorporate more features, functionality and data gleaned from site search to enhance marketing programs in the coming new year. And, 37% say they will work to do more with site search to help their marketing efforts during the 2013 festive season.
To download the full survey report, please go to www.sli-systems.com/2014-survey.

Survey Methodology

The “2014 Site Search Survey” was conducted online through Survey Monkey on behalf of SLI Systems. The poll, which gathered feedback from 161 eCommerce business managers and executives globally, was conducted from September 18 to October 5, 2013.

Click to Tweet: @SLISystems #eCommerce survey shows retailers miss the mark by not using site search to enhance marketing http://ow.ly/qJKeX

Connect with SLI:
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LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/sli-systems

About SLI Systems
SLI Systems provides full-service site search, navigation, merchandising, and user-generated SEO, and is the top SaaS-based site search provider to IR 500 and IR 1,000 retailers. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously “learns” from the behaviour of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. This learning-based search and navigation technology empowers retailers and content sites to enhance customer satisfaction by helping site visitors find the products and information they seek as quickly and efficiently as possible, increasing site conversions and average order value. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in San Jose, CA; London, UK; Melbourne, Australia; and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information about SLI Systems, visit (www.sli-systems.com).

Published on: 2:48PM on 22nd November 2013