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The Importance of Personalization: Why Chatbots Aren’t Replacing Search Bars

In this evolving digital landscape, your most important marketing asset is your website. Not only that, but the website experience.

The best website experiences are fast, helpful, and personalized. 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. And of those customers, 71% expect each interaction to be personalized.

Since nearly half of website visitors head immediately to the search bar, when creating a personalized web experience, we often hear: “Which is better, site search or chatbots?” or “Do I need search when I already have a chatbot?”

While site search and chatbots function very differently, they both aim to help your site visitors. Which is better when understanding and meeting your visitors’ needs? Read on to find out!

The importance of personalization

The reasons people rely on the internet vary, from finding a recipe, to shopping for new clothes or paying a bill. Regardless, people want the experience to feel unique to them. If your website cannot provide relevant, tailored information to each visitor, they will likely leave for one that can.

Your visitors are individuals, and they want individualized results. Search personalization allows you to tailor the site experience to each individual visitor and deliver relevant results.

Providing a personalized experience will set you apart and encourage visitors to return to your website. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. The time to enhance your personalization is now.

So how exactly should you go about providing a personalized experience to your visitors? Through the search bar or with a chatbot? Let’s discuss.

What site search and chatbots have in common

Site search and chatbots have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to streamlining the user journey. Both site search and chatbots:

  • Aim to make the visitor experience better by answering questions and serving content
  • Encourage self-service within your website
  • Offer instant responses and 24/7 availability
  • Require active maintenance to perform their best

While the two solutions share a few similarities, how they function and personalize the visitor experience on your website are vastly different.

Site search

With website visitors relying on the search bar over the navigation to find information, having an optimized search is not a “nice-to-have,” but an absolute necessity.

Site search offers your visitors an opportunity to explore and discover content on your website in their own words. Intelligent search can understand search queries whether it’s a single word or long phrases and questions, increasing the chances of relevant results being served. Features like Page Rankings, Related Searches or Banners can be implemented to ensure relevant content is easier to find.

Chatbots

Chatbots are popups within a website that are meant to simulate a human conversation. They can be used to streamline interactions on your website, such as processing a refund or directing a visitor to your support page.

The value of chatbots really comes from the ease and simplicity of interacting with them. They are meant to be a quick, conversational way for visitors to find what they need on your website. The conversational aspect of chatbots is an easy way to add a human touch to your site experience while fulfilling simple requests.

Which is better for personalization?

We know that site search and chatbots both aim to help your visitors, but which is better for offering a personalized experience?

Through automated site search, you can serve better results to your most conversion-focused users and collect meaningful behavioral data. With that data, you can analyze exactly what people are searching to further customize and personalize your content.

While chatbots are a great way to answer FAQs and easy questions, their functionality can be a bit limited. Not all chatbots are created equally and some cannot fully navigate and serve the extensive content your website has to offer. The prompts tend to be simple but strict, and don’t live up to the experience your visitors want. Similar to a poor site search solution, when relevant results are not returned, chatbots can cause frustration for visitors and cause them to abandon your site.

Sometimes the question is not “Which one should I choose?” but rather “How do I make these work together?”

When looking to build trust and grow brand loyalty, it’s crucial that every interaction on your website meets visitor needs and expectations. While chatbots are great for basic demands, they sooner or later will fall short and send your visitors to the search bar. Having an intelligent search solution ensures a seamless, tailored visitor journey.

The search bar is here to stay

Personalization matters more now than ever. You’ve also spent time optimizing and curating the content on your website, so make sure it’s visible! The easiest and most effective way to get visitors to your content is through optimized, personalized search.

At the end of the day, not all businesses have a need for providing chatbots, but every website needs a quality search. Providing a personalized experience through search not only will keep those visitors coming back, it’ll give you in-depth insights on how to improve your website.

Ready to transform your site experience through search? Request a demo today!