This is a guest post by Steven LaGow & Will Levenson from

For many associations, kickstarting or optimizing your ecommerce experience in the midst of this unique period might seem a big, challenging, nearly impossible task. Between ensuring the organization maintains revenue streams, provides free or low-cost resources to members, or amplifies the organizations’ mission, ecommerce and your digital experience can end up taking a back seat. However, we firmly believe that this is the perfect and most opportune time for you to make investments into your ecommerce experience; and don’t worry, there isn’t a ton of heavy lifting to get started. Let’s start with one of the tools you probably have but aren’t optimizing, your site search.

Generally, there are three main buckets we group users into based on their behaviors: searchers, sorters, and browsers. Today, we’re going to focus on the searchers and how the introduction or optimization of site search is not only a tool for your entire site, but also a mechanism to drive more conversions.

People that fall into the “searchers” bucket make up roughly 51% of your total site traffic, and that number is only going up the shorter our attention spans get. Their primary goal is to use the site search function to drop themselves directly into the page, product, or offering they are looking for with no distractions along the way.

How does this impact ecommerce, you ask?

Delivering relevant and useful results via search, including your products alongside your content, keeps people on your site for longer amounts of time, and keeps them returning for more; and, best yet, consumers using on-site search spend 3-4x more with a given brand. We can spend an entire blog post just on how best to optimize, tag, and sort your content for search, but we’ll leave that for another day. The point here is to try and use search as an ecommerce tool in your arsenal, and not just as a feature of your website.

In some ways, good search can operate as a storefront on its own and mitigate the need for a true system. Take one of and Personify’s clients, the American Society for Quality. As you can see below, this book store catalogue looks like an ecommerce storefront. However, this is just a search results page from their site search. Clear calls to action, high scanability, and succinct design deliver beyond what you thought site search could do.

So, instead of stressing about the insurmountable obstacles in the way of achieving a true ecommerce solution, we hope we’ve inspired you to optimize your current search functionality.  Just by making a few adjustments to the products being indexed, how search results are displayed, and—perhaps best of all—displaying member vs. non-member pricing right in the search can fast-track the shopping experience for your site’s visitors, and bring them back for the conversions that matter to you both.

For more general ecommerce discussion topics, we recently posted a blog on ways to get started that you can find here: How Associations Can Boost Non-Dues Revenue During Slow Times.

We also just hosted a webinar alongside Personify on a lot of those same topics and themes. You can download that webinar here: Navigating the Ecommerce Landscape during COVID-19

For more information on how can help you optimize your digital presence, visit our website at