For Product Search, Amazon Gaining Over Search Engines and Retail Sites

October 4, 2016

bloomreach-where-online-product-searches-begin-oct2016Some 55% of US consumers will begin an online product search on Amazon, compared to 28% who will do so using a search engine and 16% using a retailer’s site. That’s according to BloomReach’s “State of Amazon 2016” [pdf], which notes that more consumers will start an online product search at Amazon this year than last (44%).

Amazon’s dominance in product search extends to mobile devices: 50% of respondents said they start product searches on mobile devices on Amazon’s mobile site or app. Search engines fare slightly better on mobile, with 34% starting their search on one.

A 2013 study found that Amazon appeared in almost 1 in 5 digital journeys to an electronics purchase. That figure could well be even higher now… (See here for Amazon search ranking factors and here for the importance of topping the search results on Amazon.)

Meanwhile, comparison shopping can be a headache for retailers, per the BloomReach report. Nine in 10 respondents comparison shop on Amazon even if they found a product they want on a retailer’s site, with almost 8 in 10 of these comparison shoppers doing this often or always.

It does work both ways, with some consumers checking retailers even when they found what they want on Amazon. But this behavior isn’t quite as prevalent: 7 in 10 say they do so, and of these 52% do so often or always.

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Amazon has the second-highest rated website experience in the US, according to consumers, and that seems to be a key element of its appeal. Some 53% of respondents to the BloomReach survey feel that Amazon has the best site experience overall, with 33% listing the site as the main reason they choose Amazon over other retailers.

Indeed, while 30% of consumers reported having left Amazon for another retailer’s site after having a poor site experience, almost twice as many (58%) have done the opposite, leaving a retailer’s site for Amazon after a poor site experience.

One of the elements of that site experience is on-site search: around half of the consumers surveyed said that Amazon’s site search and product-filtering capabilities are superior, with 41% saying they have left a retailer’s site for Amazon after a poor site-search experience. A recent survey from RichRelevance found that while almost 2 in 3 consumers are generally satisfied with online retailers’ site search, 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.

Retailers may want to take a closer look at personalization as a means to entice shoppers, according to the BloomReach survey, as only 1 in 3 feel that Amazon’s site personalization and product recommendations are superior. Further, 41% said that better personalization would make them more likely to buy from a retailer over Amazon.

About the Data: The BloomReach survey of 2,000 US consumers was carried out by Survata in September 2016.

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