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Baymard Institute Study Finds Major Problems with Search on Leading E-Commerce Sites

Study finds many of the top 50 U.S. e-commerce sites lacking in essential search capabilities causing customer abandonment and lost sales.

Burlington, MA – November 12, 2014 – A recent study by the Baymard Institute (www.baymard.com), an independent web research institute with a focus on e-commerce usability and optimization, found that many of the top 50 U.S. e-commerce sites are lacking essential e-commerce search capabilities which is hindering current online sales.  In response, EasyAsk (www.easyask.com), the leading provider of e-commerce search solutions for e-retail, mobile commerce and B2B commerce, has released a white paper detailing how e-commerce organizations can improve their site search with unique features to boost their e-commerce sales and prepare for the mobile commerce wave.

The Baymard Institute performed a usability study on user search behavior and benchmarked the top 50 grossing U.S. e-commerce sites based on 60 different usability guidelines.  The report released by the Baymard Institute, E-Commerce Search Usability, explained these guidelines and showed the results of the benchmark tests on the leading U.S. e-commerce sites.

“When e-commerce search works, it’s fast, convenient and efficient. It’s no wonder that so many users prefer searching over clicking categories. Unfortunately, our recent large-scale usability study and top-50 benchmark of e-commerce search finds that search often does not work very well,” said Christian Holst, Baymard Institute co-founder.

The Baymard Institute study found major issues in e-commerce search usability at the top 50 U.S. e-commerce sites.  Part of the study focused on the type of searches often performed by visitors, classifying different searches into 12 groups.  When benchmarking the leading U.S. e-commerce sites, the study found generally poor test results for variety of search capabilities, including the following:

  • 64% of sites did not adequately support product type searches and required the user to use the exact site jargon for products, product types or categories,
  • 60% of sites didn’t support provide support for thematic searches such as “spring jacket” or “living room rug,”
  • Only 46% of sites fully supported searches using product features such as color or other product characteristics,
  • 34% of sites had no tolerance for incorrect spelling, producing poor or no results when a visitor misspelled even a single character in a search term.

The EasyAsk white paper, Improving E-Commerce Search to Meet the Needs of the Modern Shopper, identifies specific solutions for the problems identified in the Baymard Institute Study.  The white paper also shows examples of how EasyAsk customers such as The North Face, Oya Costumes, InkJet Superstore, and Travers Tools have delivered an engaging search experience as identified in the Baymard Institute report.

“The inadequacies of traditional, outdated keyword search engines are prominently displayed in the Baymard Institute Benchmark Study,” said Craig Bassin, CEO of EasyAsk.  “Why do e-commerce firms settle for poor search functionality, hindering their sales and customer experience, when a better, easily adaptable solution – natural language search – is available providing major business benefit and competitive advantage.”

EasyAsk and the Baymard Institute are also allowing e-commerce organizations to freely download an excerpt from the Baymard Institute report, Deconstructing E-commerce Search – The 12 Search Query Types.  This document examines the 12 different types of searches most often used and how visitors expect these searches to work on an e-commerce site.  The Baymard report, Deconstructing E-commerce Search – The 12 Search Query Types, and the EasyAsk white paper, Improving E-Commerce Search to Meet the Needs of the Modern Shopper, can be found at www.easyask.com/search-usability.

About the Baymard Institute

Baymard is an independent web research institute with a main focus on e-commerce usability and optimization.  The institute was founded by Christian Holst and Jamie Appleseed in 2009 and is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The organization provides User Experience articles, comprehensive research reports and design guidelines, and labs and resources for e-commerce usability testing.

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is the leading provider of e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising solutions for e-retail, mobile commerce and B2B commerce. EasyAsk products go far beyond traditional site search, delivering unprecedented accuracy and precision to deliver the right products on the first page every time.  EasyAsk voice mobile search enables e-retailers to deliver voice commerce sites, allowing visitors to search and navigate by speaking to their mobile device.  Customers that use the EasyAsk software see a tremendous boost in online revenue through increased conversion rates, improved customer experience and agile merchandising.   Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in Europe, the EasyAsk solutions are used by leading e-retailers and e-commerce sites such as The North Face, Samsonite, Anna’s Linens, Journey’s, Aramark, JJill, True Value, Andertons Music and Sonic Sense.  For further information please visit www.easyask.com.

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