Don’t underestimate the power of a good search bar. According to a survey conducted by personalization platform RichRelevance, consumers continue to opt for good, old-fashioned search functions for their shopping experiences — not voice-activated assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.
“Search is an essential part of the commerce experience,” said Mike Ni, chief marketing officer of RichRelevance. “Sessions using search account for 45 percent of e-commerce revenue, yet our study indicates that many companies still under-deliver when it comes to relevance and accuracy, particularly on mobile. While conversational commerce has risen to the top of retail buzz, voice search still in its infancy for shopping.”
Polling over 1,000 U.S. consumers last month, the research discovered that an overwhelming majority — 86 percent — confirmed that a search bar is still important for shopping on a retailer’s web site — via desktop or mobile. If a retailer or brand doesn’t have a strong search tool, 72 percent of survey participants said they would abandon the web site. What’s more, 80 percent said they always use a search bar when shopping online.
The heavy-use patterns of traditional search points to the slow adoption of voice-activated assistants. According to the survey results, 70 percent of participants have yet to use such a tool. And consumers don’t have much faith in industry leaders like Google, Microsoft, or Amazon to get it right. Sixty-three percent said they don’t expect current leaders to crack the code on voice-activated assistants.
“With many retailers looking to go beyond last-generation keyword-based search, brands and retailers would be best served by focusing on personalization and image search while positioning themselves to win with any developments in voice-based search,” Ni said.
Unsurprisingly, Millennials and Generation Z are more open to using voice-activated tools when shopping than older cohorts. The survey results found that 43 percent of younger consumers have used the feature, opposed to 30 percent of older participants. When they are using the technology, they’re opting for Apple’s Siri over Google or Amazon.
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