The Latest Search Trends All E-Commerce Sellers Should Know

August 8, 2018

Brands By Bradley Hearn

As an e-commerce seller, you know how important it is to optimize product content for search. Here at ChannelAdvisor, fine-tuning the right mix of keywords and descriptions has been known to increase search visibility by as much as 180%.

Here’s the kicker: The way shoppers search is changing. A lot.

From personalization and localization to mobile search and voice commerce, all kinds of advancements are transforming how people discover products online.

In this era of ever-evolving consumer journeys, keeping your search strategy up to date is critical. As you revisit your current approach to reaching consumers through search, here are the most important current and emerging trends to keep in mind.

Search is Increasingly Used for Ideas and Inspiration

While consumers often look for specific products, they’re increasingly turning to search for ideas and inspiration on what to buy. Literally.

Armed with mobile apps, consumers can turn to search for ideas any time they’re feeling inspired: Google searches including the word “ideas” have grown over 55% in the past two years. “Bathroom remodel ideas,” “baby shower ideas,” “gift ideas for 9-year-old boy” … these search queries and others like them are occurring with greater frequency.

Many are taking this one step further by seeking out actual lists. Often, consumers know they want to buy something but aren’t sure where to start. So they’ll conduct a quick smartphone search for pre-set “shopping lists” or “checklists” — searches that, according to Google, have grown over 150% in just two years.

Search Is a Primary Source for Meeting Immediate Needs

If there’s one behavior that search has influenced in recent years, it’s the ability for consumers to find precisely what they need. Exactly when they need it. This expectation now runs so deep that “same day shipping” searches are up 120%.

Consumers know they can easily discover and buy countless goods without ever having to step into a store. Rather than running errands on the way to work, for example, people will do a quick search to see which business can help them immediately … which helps explain why Google has noticed that those “same day shipping” searches also tend to spike first thing in the morning.

As one Google expert put it, “consumers want things in the moment they need them — which is typically now…[and] are using search to find answers to their immediate needs.”

Search is Increasingly Conversational

A few years ago, consumers were still using simple, utilitarian search queries to find what they needed. Paint quantity estimator. Best sunscreens. Dinner recipes.

In recent years, those searches have led way to much more personalized, and conversational, ones. How much paint will I need. Which sunscreen should I buy. What should I have for dinner.

The reason? Voice assistants. Just as they would when talking to another person, shoppers have begun to use the word “I” in search. Mobile searches for “should I” and “do I need” have both grown by 65%, according to Google.

And with voice search ever on the rise, such trends are bound to grow. Already, two in five consumers use voice search daily. Nearly 30% do so to find information related to purchases. And according to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

Is Your Product Content Search-Friendly?

There’s little doubt that search will continue to play a pivotal role in how consumers discover and purchase products. Looking to the latest search trends to guide your digital marketing and selling strategies is one surefire way to gain a competitive edge. Whether you create ready-to-go product bundles and shopping lists or optimize product content to be more voice search-friendly, the above takeaways have a lot of relevance for retailers and manufacturers.

Keep in mind, too, that it’s not just Google and Bing you should be concerned with. With 56% of product searches start in Amazon, it’s equally important to optimize for search on marketplaces, too. For more insights you can use, download our free eBook: Owning the Amazon Search Results Page: How to Get Your Products to Rank Well.

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