I came across an interesting article last week written by Dr. Siddharth Shah, the Director of Business Analytics at Adobe. He monitors the analytics of $2 billion dollars in online advertising. According to his research, he says that people doing singular term searches are on average closer to making a purchase than plural searches.
You can't dispute his findings for the financial industry since that's mostly what he deals with. I've taken his analysis idea and applied it to the jewelry industry and given you some actionable conclusions below.
Since e-commerce is pretty much a bust for retail jewelers, I have more organic data on the search terms "engagement ring" and "engagement rings" instead of e-commerce conversions. Without actual conversion numbers I have to apply what I know about visitor intent in order to make some conclusions.
I first looked at a sample data set from January 2011 through July 2012, comparing the singular term to the plural.
On average I found that the term "engagement rings" produces 104% more organic visitors than the singular term "engagement ring."
I also noticed that the plural forms of searches are more commonly found matched up with location searches including zip codes, town names, and state names. Think about this for a moment; a clueless person won't know where to buy an engagement ring locally, so as an example, they will search for "engagement rings 07512" and find my fictitious local jewelry store.
Hopefully the person will visit your store some time after they do a location based search. But before they do, they will explore around your website. What I also found was that these people are less picky about website design, and more interested in the educational information on your website.
The average person searching for "engagement rings" tends to land on engagement ring specific educational pages and reads 3.3 pages of your website. The bounce rate for these visitors is also lower, which is why I say they are less picky in what the website looks like.
People searching for "engagement ring" have a higher bounce rate, and they read fewer pages on a website. These people are more educated and know what they want, and the higher bounce rate leads me to believe that they are more interested in better photography and website design.
On average they only visited 3.1 pages on a website. That's not a big difference from 3.3 stated above, but there's more happening here...
I notice that 21.2% of singular searches land inside a product catalog, but only 10.9% of plural searches land there.
Even though the singular term customer visit fewer pages they are spending between 15 to 30 seconds longer on a website.
So all together, here's what I see:
Searches for "engagement rings" yield:
* people trying to find you
* people who need to learn about rings
* people who are willing to read your blog
* people who are okay with ugly looking websites
Searches for "engagement ring" yield:
* people who want to see pretty pictures
* people who want to see a nice looking website
* people willing to look in an online product catalog (buyers)
Honestly, looking at the data this way brings us to the same conclusion that has been mentioned a few times before in the Daily Golden Nuggets.
To capture business, you need to attract the uneducated at the beginning of the sales cycle, then keep their interest as they become more educated.
1. Blog about engagement rings. Use the plural "rings" more often in your blogs in association with location phrasing.
2. Make sure your website design is easy to navigate, looks good, and has good photos of jewelry.
3. Bulk up the number of words you have describing each of your rings, but use the word "ring" in the description and not the word "rings."
4. Websites without e-commerce need to clearly explain how easy it is to purchase. You could call it a "simple" phone call or "convenient" location in town. Just make sure you make it sound easy.
Analyzing the organic data like this seems to match the same conclusion that Dr. Shah came to. But I have to add an additional conclusion...
There are fewer jewelry stores with e-commerce, which means your website needs to provide a real reason for someone to visit your store. When the choice is between you and your local competitor, your online catalog of in-stock jewelry will play an important role in the deciding factor.