Picture this: you're on a website looking for this must-have item for someone special and you know that the product exists on the website but every time you search for it you can't find it for the life you! If you've never had trouble searching for a product or information on a website—well, you're lying. We know that customers are demanding effective and relevant search results in addition to a easy-to-use interface. If they don't get it, they're likely to look elsewhere for what they need—and nobody wants that.
Site search sounds like a no-brainer functionality that every website has and is an easy thing to do but relatively few companies have actually mastered site search. Done well, it: 
  • Promotes customer self-service. If your visitors are able to successfully find what they need, then you’ve done your job while also deflecting calls away from the more expensive contact center.
  • Increases time-on-site. When customers find what they’re looking for in a painless manner, they’re more likely to spend more time on your site, looking for additional information or products. 
  • Provides overall better customer experiences. Let’s be honest, site search isn’t  top-of-mind. But if you can not only make the functionality an accurate, seamless experience for your visitors and provide recommended solutions based on search terms—well you’ve hit the site search jackpot. 
But if you go ahead and browse any number of websites, it feels like site search is an afterthought. When you're implementing your digital experience strategy, site search should be included in that conversation. There is a lot of back-end work that goes into successfully curating site search and your users have high expectations of what their search experience should be like (here's a hint: it rhymes with bugle). 
There are companies that are doing site search well and that there are many more that want to improve—and that's where research comes in!  My colleague, Anjali Yakkundi, has previously written about site search in a market overview and we're getting ready to write a report on the best practices for implementing site search. Have you struggled with executing site search or, conversely, have you uncovered the key for the best site search experience? We'd love to hear from you! Shoot us an email at dwhittaker@forrester.com and ayakkundi@forrester.com