NEW YORK-Walmart’s online search engine, which the mass merchant debuted earlier this year, is on a par with the search engine used by Amazon.com, according to a survey of retailer search engines conducted by Wells Fargo Equity Research.
Wells Fargo’s equity research team studied the search engines of Amazon, Walmart, Target and eBay, analyzing 100 products across 10 retail categories. In terms of first-page search relevancy, Walmart’s search engine produced the correct product in 97 percent of the searches conducted by the team, while Amazon’s search engine turned up the correct product in 98 percent of the searches. Target’s search engine brought the correct result in 87 percent of the searches, while eBay’s search engine came up with the right product in 63 percent of the searches.
The study demonstrated that Walmart’s new engine and its investments in its website have made it more relevant in online retail, according to the Wells Fargo report accompanying the research. “Although e-commerce dollars are still a relatively small percent of Walmart’s total sales, we believe digital attributes likely influence a significant percentage of non-grocery sales in store,” the report said, “and that Walmart’s improved onsite search engine, specifically, is not only improving online conversion, but could also drive incremental in-store sales.”
Walmart’s advance in this area is significant, the report added, because onsite search engines are “a key element of the most successful e-commerce sites” and “potentially a traffic driver to physical stores ... the wrong search results often equals no sale, either online or offline.”