- Make your search box prominently visible
- Speed up search with autocomplete feature
- Provide relevant suggestions after the first keystroke
- Deliver relevant search results with a typo-tolerant feature
- Avoid no-results page working with slang and synonyms
- Master query understanding for a seamless experience
- Simplify navigating through your web with efficient pagination
- Increase conversions with advanced product ranking
- Optimize continuously for speed
- Convert visitors to loyal customers
- Frequently asked questions
The search bar represents your customers’ gateway to find desired products. It’s the digital equivalent of walking into a physical store and asking a sales associate for assistance. However, unlike a human salesperson, your search bar must be optimized to provide a seamless and efficient shopping experience. In this article, we’ll delve into ten crucial e-commerce search best practices that will not only improve your site’s user experience but also boost conversion rates and ultimately lead to higher sales.
Make your search box prominently visible
The first rule of an effective input field is visibility. Your search button should be visible on every page of your website and instantly usable. Hiding it behind a magnifying glass icon leads to losing 30-40% of potential search traffic. Customers should be able to spot it immediately, ensuring they can find what they’re looking for without frustration.
Enhancing visibility can be taken further with an exciting feature called “Autocomplete Showcase.” This feature makes the search button stand out and serves as a visual guide to searching. It provides a simple animation showcasing various search queries being typed into the search field, including examples from your product selection. This feature is particularly valuable for attracting the attention of users who may not be as familiar with standard e-commerce search UX, such as older demographics.
Speed up search with autocomplete feature
Autocomplete capabilities in search prevent dead-end searches and improve the average time and speed of any search. When customers start writing a search query, must they complete it and hit enter to get the results? Or do you provide them with query formulations as they type? Although most people wouldn’t tell you per se that they expect to get these suggestions, they’re used to predictive search.
This search feature speeds up the search process and lets you suggest, e.g., your five bestsellers within a category just when you want to showcase them – when a customer is looking to buy and make purchasing decisions.
Also, consider this: we mentioned above that site search users are 70% more likely to buy than navigation users. If we narrow it down to just search, the autocomplete delivers twice as high an increase in conversion rate than search bars without it. See how much of an impact it has?
Provide relevant suggestions after the first keystroke
Consider what your search box presents as product suggestions. Are they merely text phrases or plain product names? A top-notch search feature goes beyond this and offers product suggestions complete with thumbnail images, product categories, and the brands you carry. It should even include trending queries. When your suggestions incorporate these valuable elements, they have the potential to significantly enhance the overall shopping experience and encourage your customers to make purchases.
Effective suggestions play another crucial role – they give customers a sneak peek into your extensive product range. Even if a user’s initial shopping intent differed from what they discover through suggestions, this exposure to a diverse array of relevant products enhances product discoverability.
An outstanding autocomplete feature should prioritize displaying the most relevant products at the top of the list. If you’d like to experience how a well-crafted search field should function, consider trying out our 30-day free trial.
Deliver relevant search results with a typo-tolerant feature
Mistakes in spelling are bound to happen, even for those who are particularly cautious with their typing. Your search solution should do more than just exact matching to counteract this issue; it should incorporate typo correction and tolerance features. To illustrate the importance of this, try an experiment: visit your online store and deliberately input misspelled queries like “iphhone” or “men’s tsihrt.” If your website doesn’t promptly provide relevant search results or displays a “no-results” page, you could miss out on 10-20% of genuine customer searches.
Neglecting to address typos can lead to significant repercussions, including an exit rate of over 50% from your online store when users encounter a fruitless search. This creates the perception among users that your website doesn’t offer what they’re seeking, even when that’s not the case. Typos should not impede your customers’ quest to find their desired products.
Avoid no-results page working with slang and synonyms
Typos are not the only linguistic challenge your search function should overcome. Consider the use of synonyms or slang terms. Different users may employ varying terminology to describe the same products. For instance, someone might search for a “couch” instead of a “sofa,” “earplugs” instead of “earbuds,” or “display” instead of “monitor.”
Synonym keywords play a pivotal role in delivering a seamless shopping experience because users may use different wording to describe their preferences. This is particularly relevant for native English speakers in different regions who may have linguistic variations. When users encounter a “0-results” page, it can lead to missed business opportunities. Ensure your search options cater to a diverse linguistic audience.
Master query understanding for a seamless experience
Query understanding goes beyond basic keyword matching. It’s about comprehending the intent behind user queries and delivering relevant results. Users who search for a specific product don’t want to sift through irrelevant items.
For example, searching for “red dress” should yield results exclusively for red dresses, not every red product and dress in your inventory. Similarly, a query like “Samsung phones” should display only Samsung phones, not all Samsung products or all types of phones. Users expect your search bar to understand their search intent, saving them time and effort.
An effective search bar should be able to handle long-tail queries, ensuring that users receive precisely what they’re looking for.
Simplify navigating through your web with efficient pagination
Pagination is the process of dividing extensive data into smaller, more manageable pages. It’s commonly used in web-based applications, including e-commerce websites, to allow for easy navigation between results pages. You’ve likely seen pagination on search engines like Google, which appears as a series of numbered pages at the bottom of the search results.
While pagination is a familiar method, choosing the right approach is essential. If your goal is to provide a top-notch user experience, consider adopting the “Load More” pagination model. This method offers faster and more efficient results presentation, reducing users’ need to navigate numerous pages.
Increase conversions with advanced product ranking
Every product category has its top sellers. Whether you identify them from memory or analyze sales records, it’s a wise practice to ensure that these popular products appear prominently in search results within their respective categories. When users type in a category in your search bar and hit enter, these bestsellers should grace the top results positions.
Product ranking features are crucial for streamlining the buying process. AI-powered systems can automate prioritizing relevant products for each search term. What’s remarkable is that these systems can rank products individually for each customer based on their previous searches and browsing history. Personalization reigns supreme, enhancing product discoverability for every customer.
Optimize continuously for speed
The speed of your search functionality is a critical factor in user satisfaction. Users expect search suggestions to appear within 0.3 seconds after typing a character and anticipate complete search results in no more than 2 seconds.
Consider using analytics tools like Luigi’s Box’s comprehensive search analytics to assess your search functionality accurately. In a short period, you can gain valuable insights into your site search performance and identify areas for improvement. It’s crucial to optimize your website for mobile users, as search speed impacts desktop and mobile experiences.
Convert visitors to loyal customers
While many e-commerce search solutions focus primarily on the English language, the global marketplace demands multilingual support. Neglecting this aspect could result in losing a significant portion of potential customers who prefer to shop on websites offering search functionality in their native language.
The ability to support multiple languages is paramount. Different languages present unique grammatical forms, genders, synonyms, and more. Therefore, your search solution should provide features like lemmatization, word decompounding, handling grammatical forms, query rewriting, and other language-specific capabilities. This is by no means trivial and requires tons of hard work and expertise.
In the highly competitive world of e-commerce, delivering an exceptional user experience is not just a goal; it’s a necessity. Your website search box plays a pivotal role in achieving this goal. By adhering to the ten e-commerce search best practices outlined in this article, you can create a shopping environment that delights customers, increases conversion rates, and ultimately leads to higher sales.
Remember, e-commerce success is not just about the products you offer; it’s also about how effectively you help customers find those products. Prioritizing an optimized search experience is a strategic move that can set your online store apart from the competition and ensure long-term customer satisfaction.
Frequently asked questions
What role does search box design play in improving user navigation on websites?
Search box design is critical for user-friendly websites. A well-designed search box, often equipped with advanced search and artificial intelligence capabilities, empowers users to find specific content efficiently. It’s a powerful tool that enhances user satisfaction and engagement.
What common mistakes do many websites make regarding pagination and search functionalities?
A common mistake is implementing traditional pagination excessively without considering user experience. Another mistake is overlooking the potential of advanced search features and artificial intelligence, which can significantly enhance user search accuracy and relevance.
Why is pagination essential for content-heavy websites?
Pagination ensures efficient loading, faster navigation, and enhanced user experience for content-heavy websites. It is crucial for websites with vast amounts of content.
How can businesses leverage powerful tools like advanced search and AI-driven algorithms to enhance their online presence?
Businesses can leverage powerful tools like advanced search and algorithms driven by artificial intelligence to provide personalized user experiences. These tools analyze user data, predict preferences, and deliver tailored content, significantly improving user engagement. By investing in these technologies, businesses can optimize their online presence and stay ahead in the competitive digital landscape.