Website Testing Wins: What's a Picture Worth in On-Site Search Results?

By ​Peter Borden

March 19, 2013

On-site search tends to get overlooked when marketers beef up their online merchandising efforts. That's a shame, because on-site (or internal site) search offers a great opportunity to optimize the website experience for visitors by helping them quickly find the products they want.

wtw_visual searchA few big challenges visitors typically face when using traditional text-based on-site search:

Having to scan product names that don't differentiate the items

Getting no results if the text entered doesn't find an exact match

Having to type full queries and wait for a results page to load

To return a more relevant, easy-to-use set of search results for its visitors, a retailer decided to test Monetate's Visual Search solution against its text-based search tool. Providing type-ahead results, as well as image thumbnails for products included in the search results drop-down menu, seemed like a can't-miss approach—but the retailer needed to know for sure.

And it got a conclusive answer. Visitors responded in favor of the Visual Search option, leading to an 8.84% lift in conversion and a sizable 25.58% improvement in average order value.

Peter Borden is a former marketing strategist at Monetate and was responsible for PPC and email marketing strategy. Peter's also an expert on the psychology of persuasion, influence, and conversion as well as an active iOS developer.

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