Beyond the search bar: The value of search quality on e-commerce platforms

Wei Zhou, Mingfeng Lin, Mo Xiao, Zidong Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

E-commerce platforms match online buyers and sellers using their search technologies. A more precise search algorithm may improve search targetability at the cost of preventing consumers from exploring not directly related products. We take advantage of a 2019 quasi-experiment on a leading e-commerce platform that refined some product categories into finer subgroups to increase search precision. Using granular panel data on consumer search behaviors, we find that the improvement in search precision results in a 37.3% increase in consumers' click-through rates and a 64.4% increase in gross merchandise volume. The improvement in matching outcomes in the short run, however, is accompanied with a substantial decrease in consumer engagement in the long run. On average, consumers conduct 1.2% fewer searches and spend 3.4% less time on the platform in the following week after the search precision increases. Overall, our findings illustrate the tradeoff between exploitation and exploration in e-commerce search design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2020 - Making Digital Inclusive
Subtitle of host publicationBlending the Local and the Global
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
ISBN (Electronic)9781733632553
StatePublished - 2020
Event2020 International Conference on Information Systems - Making Digital Inclusive: Blending the Local and the Global, ICIS 2020 - Virtual, Online, India
Duration: Dec 13 2020Dec 16 2020

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2020 - Making Digital Inclusive: Blending the Local and the Global

Conference

Conference2020 International Conference on Information Systems - Making Digital Inclusive: Blending the Local and the Global, ICIS 2020
CountryIndia
CityVirtual, Online
Period12/13/2012/16/20

Keywords

  • Consumer engagement
  • Consumer search
  • E-commerce
  • Platform design
  • Search precision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics

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