On-Site Search Failures Estimated To Cost $13.8B In Black Friday, Cyber Monday Losses

Marketing tech company Skai estimates that retail media spend on advertising fell 26% in August, while average cost per click (CPC) dropped 12%. Average spending per day dipped 26%.

Given the decline, retailers also could get hit from the consumer side during the holidays. One estimate from experience platform Nosto suggests basic failures in site search could cost retail billions in lost sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays in 2023.

Based on findings from Nosto's survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers, and on projected ecommerce sales revenue and average order values, basic search errors could cost U.S. online retailers $13.8 billion in online sales behind during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The study found that key site search failures cause consumers to look elsewhere for products. Some 42% leave after not seeing any relevant results, while 31% leave after being shown out-of-stock products, 31% after results take too long to load, and 31% after results return too many options without enabling the ability to narrow search results



Some 84% of all consumers acknowledge they have left an ecommerce site due to search issues, including irrelevant results, too many or too few products being displayed or being directed to out-of-stock items.

Some 66% of consumers participating in the survey said they would engage with relevant content in search results -- anything from FAQ pages to collection pages -- while 64% said they are likely to buy products having engaged with such content, which demonstrates the influential on purchase decisions. 

Many problems are resolvable. If a merchant has no relevant products to display, 60% of shoppers say they would continue shopping if alternative products are suggested when they have received zero search results.

Some 42% of shoppers agree that one of the ways retailers can improve site search is to provide contextual filters based on search queries to help narrow down results when there are too many products. They also say retailers can avoid listing out-of-stock items in searches by integrating site search with inventory systems so it dynamically updates with product stock levels.

The research also highlights that given the current macroeconomic outlook, 75% of shoppers are likely to browse multiple online stores.

Tech-savvy but time-poor and cost-conscious, younger millennials are likely to juggle multiple commitments, such as building a career, saving for a home, and potentially starting a family. This means they want site search to be fast, helpful, and tailored to their needs — but 90% say they often come across irrelevant results from search.

They also want to engage with content, including UGC, in search results — and it directly leads them to make a purchase. Some 83% will buy a product after they have consumed related content in the search results, while 82% purchase after engaging with UGC specifically.  

Demonstrating a desire to save time and money, 81% of 25– to-34-year-olds believe that site search should be faster, and 87% agree that as the cost of living increases, they want to compare products from different online stores and good ecommerce search makes this easier, which is higher than any other age group. 

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