People don’t always type what you would expect into a search query. So having a limited scope of keywords and variations of those phrase can be costing you money. The top e-commerce sites are not immune to the problem either. A recent Balymard Institute study said the 50 top-grossing US e-commerce brands did a poor job in their search experience.

It’s the simple things that can often be overlooked. For example, the report found that 70% of those studied did not support results for keyword variations, “blow dryer” vs. “hair dryer”.   And we often use symbols or abbreviations (SEO vs. Search Engine Optimization), but don’t support that in a search query. If you put the quote symbol in place of the word inch, nothing comes up. Sixty percent of those in the study did not support symbols or abbreviations.

The study is a helpful reminder that in order to succeed in business, you have to think and act like your customers. Make sure your system adapts to their needs and quirks not the other way around. Your site analytics can help give you great insight in how people search for information on your site. When patterns emerge, it behooves you to take action and adapt your search and information to meet those needs.