What’s Most Frustrating About Retail Site Search?

October 3, 2016

richrelevance-retail-site-search-frustrations-oct2016Almost two-thirds of US consumers say they’re generally satisfied with the search results they get when they search on a retailer’s mobile site or mobile app, per results from a new RichRelevance study. But a poor site search experience has consequences: almost three-quarters are likely to leave a retail site that doesn’t provide good results, and fewer than 1 in 5 are likely to return to such a site.

Understanding consumers’ problems with site search can help retailers avoid these consequences. Asked what they find most frustrating when using the search functionality on a retail website, consumers most commonly pointed to irrelevant product results, such as the wrong gender (28.1%) and the inability to find a product they’re searching for (24.6%).

Other problems irritate some – but fewer – consumers. They include the search function not recognizing terminology (16.6%), taking too long to load results (13.1%) and a bad interface (11.7%). Interestingly, consumers aren’t necessarily expecting images in site search: just 5.9% identified the lack of product images as their most frustrating issue when using site search.

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Overall, the study indicates that site search is a useful tool for shoppers. Almost 85% of respondents say that the search box is very important (56.4%) or important (27.3%) when shopping on a retailer’s web or mobile site, and roughly three-quarters use it always (32.3%) or often (43.9%).

Among other notable findings from the survey:

  • While a majority (54.3%) haven’t noticed a difference in the product search results they get on their mobile device compared to on a laptop/desktop, respondents were far more likely to say they get worse (37.6%) than better (8.2%) results on their mobile device; and
  • Consumers aren’t too interested in results that are personalized to their past shopping behavior: 38% are neutral on the topic, with 36% wanting more personalization and 25.7% against it.

About the Data: The RichRelevance data is based on a survey of 1,006 US consumers conducted from September 1-14, 2016.


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