If you think that an ecommerce site's success or failure depends on product selection or pricing only, then let us tell you that's no longer the case.
While those aspects are crucial, many other things need your consideration while moving forward in an ecommerce journey. Modern customers especially have high expectations when it comes to user experience.
Ecommerce site search is one of the most critical yet often overlooked functions of your website that greatly contributes to your on-site sales and conversions.
Although site search usability is such an essential part of any ecommerce site, sadly, only 15% of businesses have dedicated resources to maximize site search experience. Surprisingly, more than 42% of companies completely ignore this aspect.
We have dedicated this post to discussing the significance of ecommerce site search along with some of our tried-and-tested search practices for 2023 you can implement right away to empower your users and improve their experience.
What Is An Ecommerce Search Solution?
Simply put, an ecommerce site search is a feature that gives your website visitors the ability to skim through your database and find answers to questions they have in mind regarding your brand, products, or more.
The better your ecommerce site search optimization is, the easier it is for users to find their desired information on your website.
An optimized ecommerce search solution acts as a sales representative that guides customers throughout their journey, answers their queries, clears their doubts, and helps them move down the funnel without losing track.
How Does It Work?
You must be wondering if a sales pro performs more or less the same duties, why not hire them instead of installing a site search feature?
Well, unlike a salesperson, your site search function will be available round the clock and never demands a raise. You may, however, need to tweak and adjust its settings from time to time to ensure it’s in line with your present conversion goals.
Two types of visitors come to your store. The first is called the browser, and the other one is called the searcher. The browser is someone who already has a vague idea about your brand and its offers. In other words, he's a person who's already in the middle of his buying funnel and needs a little guidance to complete his transaction.
On the other hand, the searcher already knows what they want to buy from your store. They already know the exact product, color, size, and other specifics, and all they need is a super-fast ecommerce search solution to find relevant matches.
Ecommerce Site Search - Know The Statistics
Did you know more than 40%-80% of your revenue is generated by on-site searches?
According to research, search users are 7-10 times more likely to convert than regular visitors.
Another study indicates that on-site searchers convert up to 16 times better in specific product categories. (Source)
So you see, ecommerce site search lends an opportunity for your business to streamline the user experience by assisting buyers throughout their journey.
Your goal as an online seller is to define your target audience and optimize your ecommerce search solution to ensure your visitors enjoy a seamless shopping experience.
Why Is Ecommerce Site Search So Important?
The answer to this question is pretty simple. You should pay attention to the ecommerce search solution because your customers use this feature and expect it to be embedded on their favorite websites.
Picture that: You enter a brick-and-mortar store and couldn't find your required product on any of the shelves near you. What would you do? You'd call a sales manager and request him to help you out. What if there is no one there to answer your queries?
If you'd walk out, you're not alone.
The ecommerce search solution on your site acts as a sales representative that guides customers on every step. So you have to improve this feature to meet and surpass your customer's expectations.
Here are some of the many benefits of optimizing ecommerce site search for your ecommerce store.
More Site Usage
A well-optimized ecommerce search solution guarantees that your customers spend more time on your website. It results in a seamless shopping journey when they can find their desired products using your ecommerce site's search function.
Helps In Decision Making
With an effective ecommerce site search solution, you can collect valuable customer data. This data enables you to create a comprehensive ecommerce data analytics report you can use to make data-driven business decisions.
It also enables you to gain insight into what your buyers want you to include in your inventory.
Improves Overall User Experience
Having an ecommerce search solution on your site ensures your users get the best user experience down the funnel.
This feature enables them to find their desired products by typing simple keywords and phrases, meaning they don't have to contact the support team for each query they have.
More Repeat Visits
Websites that go the extra mile to provide their customers with the best user experience enjoy repeat customer visits over time. People visit these websites as they find it hassle-free to shop from such stores.
Increases Customer Loyalty And Retention
Customer satisfaction leads to brand advocacy that can do wonders for your brand. Ecommerce site search allows you to build a loyal customer base that stays true to your brand no matter what.
Here are the top 10 ecommerce site search practices for 2021 you must focus on to stay ahead of your competitors.
Top 10 Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices For 2023
1. Create An Identifiable Search Button
You must include an easy-to-spot search button if you have plenty of content on your website. Take your example. You always look for a search function whenever you visit any website with a complex site structure.
If your customers can't find the search function on your website, they won't be able to use it. Ideally, the ecommerce search solution should be above the fold. Having a magnifying glass icon next to the search box is also a good idea as it is easily recognizable.
It's also essential to have some text included in your search box. You don't have to go overboard for this. Add a simple statement like 'search here' to provide your buyers with a guideline they need.
2. Optimize For The Terms Your Buyers Use
It makes sense to use industry-specific terms if you're a B2B company and your customers are already familiar with industry jargon. Otherwise, you should use the language your customers understand and speak.
Your goal as an ecommerce business is to serve the needs of customers and not your competitors.
3. Display The Search Box On Each Page
It is easy for customers to lose track while buying, especially if they're first-time visitors. There is nothing worse for them than losing a search history once they start feeling comfortable on your site after some time.
To avoid this, you can place a search box on each page of your website. You can either place it in the center or on the right of each page. You can also A/B test the placement and usability of your search feature to ensure which specific variant is bringing more value to the table.
Pro tip: Do not add a search box on your check-out pages, as it may distract users from completing a transaction.
4. Strong Error Tolerance With Autocorrect
Typos and spelling errors are part of the ecommerce site search process. If a customer searches for anything by typing a misspelled word, they should not get a 'No Results Found' message at any cost.
For this, you have to ensure that your site search usability is optimized for strong error tolerance. It's also crucial to have an autocorrect feature embedded within your search feature so that your customers receive the most relevant results even if the search input includes phonetic misspellings.
Customers don't prefer revisiting the websites where they can't find what they were planning to buy.
5. Include Plenty Of Filtering Options
The best search practice for 2024 is to let your customers search the way they want to search. Here, it is crucial to understand that every customer is different, and so are their preferences.
Some prefer to search for products based on the price factor, while others want to search for the trendiest options that have been purchased by many customers earlier.
Make sure your site lets customers filter products by features, colors, sizes, prices, and more. The more filtering options your site search feature includes, the better.
6. Analytics And Reporting
Analytics and reporting allow you to keep an eye on valuable user data and information. Fortunately, every ecommerce search solution comes with built-in analytics and reporting features so you can track your progress in real time without investing any additional money.
You can also use Google Analytics to track this information.
Pay attention to information related to the top-performing queries/products, 0 result queries, search term counts, etc.
7. Pay Attention To Mobile Search
The success of your online store depends on how well you're able to provide a balanced user experience to both your mobile and web users.
To provide mobile users with a seamless search experience, you may want to conduct extensive user testing.
8. Leverage NLP
Many big brands, including Apple and Amazon, are leveraging Natural Language Processing to provide their customers with a seamless user journey.
Imagine that: You type a query 'Black women shoe size 7 under $50', and you get the exact list of products you wanted. Do you bother to visit your nearby brick-and-mortar store to shop for black shoes ever again? No, right?
Natural Language Processing (NLP) saves users a lot of time and effort. Your customers don't have to use lots of filters as well.
Since NLP algorithms are based on relevance, they return astounding results.
Although Natural Language Processing is a game-changer in the online retail industry, many online businesses are still not benefitting from its true potential.
9. Include Graphics To Search Results
The biggest drawback of selling stuff online is it doesn't provide you with an option to offer a tactile shopping experience to your customers. That is where graphics and high-definition product images step in.
Including graphics in your search results can enhance the overall user experience. You can even consider incorporating an add-to-cart button to give your customers a one-click shopping experience.
Target is one of our favorite websites that provides its user's lots of filtering options and has images and add-to-cart buttons embedded in their search function.
10. Include Reviews As Filters
There is nothing more important for online businesses than reviews. Reviews act as social proof that persuades customers and encourages them to trust your brand.
Many customers read reviews before they buy anything online. So, including testimonials on your search result pages can give your customers the confidence they need to invest their hard-earned money into your products.
Implementing reviews filtering can specifically do wonders for your business as it will allow your first-time buyers to see your top-performing products.
There you have it- Top 10 Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices for 2021. We have tried all these practices ourselves and found them incredibly useful.
Are you ready to take your ecommerce site search to the next level? Implement a few of these search practices for 2023 and share results in the comments section below. We'd love to hear back.