Forty-nine percent of consumers in the U.K. leverage organic search as the main point of entry to e-commerce shopping sites, but only 35 percent of online retailers in the U.K. believe consumers find their website through the organic channel. This, according to research commissioned by BloomReach, a company that provides a personalized discovery platform for online retailers.
“Organic search has always been a very high source of discovery,” says Joelle Kaufman, head of marketing and partnerships at BloomReach. “But the question that’s always asked…is, what channel drives the most sales? And because we can count it and allocate it without argument, we focus disproportionately on the last click.”
She continues, “Organic search is a top-of-funnel channel. It’s akin to television or radio.”
Once a shopper lands on a website from organic search, it’s the shopping experience that keeps them there. In fact, 60 percent of U.K. consumers feel that online shopping is an even more personal experience than shopping in the store, according to the findings.
Contrast that with only 13 percent of retailers who believe online is more personalized than in-store shopping.
But what retailers may not realize is that much of the personalization that’s happening today in stores is facilitated by the shopper using his or her mobile device in addition to online search to help them make a decision while at the store itself.
Kaufman says that in separate research for various U.S. clients of BloomReach, they found that up to 50 percent of consumers who were accessing a retailer’s mobile site were in the store (based on data that showed user by the store’s IP address).
So do retailers in the U.K. then see the value in making online shopping more personalized? According to BloomReach’s latest survey, the answer is “yes” from 60 percent of study participants.
But they have a lot of work to do – especially when competing with retail giant Amazon, the study suggests, as four out of five U.K. consumers believe Amazon offers the most personalized customer service.
“Amazon has a huge amount of data on consumer demand,” says Kaufman, adding that there isn’t any other retail website that has that volume of online consumer behavior available. That leads to Amazon knowing what the consumer is looking for on their site, and then tuning their recommendations to that, she says.
Kaufman says other retailers need to be able to use Web-wide data in order to compete with Amazon, because when it comes to what a shopper wants right now on that retail site, “the vast majority of sites are oblivious. They don’t even realize that you’re partial to a specific brand, or price point, or color or size.”
Kaufman says she doesn’t think Amazon is even at that level of sophistication yet, “but that’s what they are working toward. They are trying to make the entire experience personalized and relevant. And they have the data to pull it off.”
As an aside, BloomReach offers these type of customized experiences for retailers and consumers through its SNAP product, which we’ve covered previously here at Search Engine Watch.
The findings of BloomReach’s latest survey seem to point to a demand by consumers to have a more custom shopping experience online, and the recognition by retailers to offer it – but a great divide in having the right data, and interpreting it in a meaningful way.
The missing piece? Kaufman suggests it’s the technology.
“When you think about what a personalized experience should be, it’s not knowing what I did in the past, it’s intuiting what I want right now, and making my shopping experience more delightful.”
BloomReach’s latest research findings were announced in tandem with the company’s launch in the U.K., and a new product: BloomReach Compass.
The full infographic with data points from the BloomReach survey follows: