Case Study: Can You Use On-site Search to Persuade Users to Buy Something from You?

Many businesses were impacted negatively during the pandemic. Sales were affected by lack of demand (since users had no use for certain products during lockdown) as well as from lack of supply/production.

A key challenge such businesses faced was how to keep users engaged on their site and persuade them to buy something—even if it wasn’t exactly what the users wanted when they opened or logged into a website.

For this eCommerce business, we saw in Google Analytics that users who perform an on-site search convert at a much higher rate than those who do not.

Voice of Customer research indicated that returning users were bored and uninspired when on the site because they had no use for the main products the brand sold during the lockdown(s).

Hypothesis and Psychological Technique Applied

We believed that we could capitalise on this boredom users were experiencing and inspire them to search and browse other related products.

We hypothesised that we could capture users’ imagination by showing them specific product categories and top brands (products that customers could use at home) within the search box. This, in turn, could persuade them to visit product listings pages and complete a transaction.

Experiment

We animated the search bar on the site to show specific search queries (popular home-friendly product and brand names) as being typed, when a user lands on any page on the site.

On-site search optimisation

Variation, with animated search bar

Results

From the observed data, we were able to see that the Variation showed a high probability of being better than the Control, especially on desktop. Both the use of on-site search and conversions went up.

Learnings

The experiment performed better on desktop, where the search bar was always visible. On mobile, the search box disappears during scroll, which deprived us of the opportunity to influence users. However, the experiment showed that it is possible to inspire users to search and convert.

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