When was the last time you checked your e‑commerce site search performance?
For many, the answer is we’ve never done it! And that’s understandable – something as small as a search box tends to get neglected; it often clears the way for more significant and apparent concerns such as what ROI are we getting on our Google Ads?
However, numbers don’t lie when they say that site search users are 70% more likely to buy in your online store than navigation users. So, paying attention to search and search optimization will pay off.
Why is search important for e‑commerce businesses?
An intelligent search brings several benefits to e‑commerce businesses:
Improved user experience
A good search function can make it easier for customers to find the products they are looking for, which can improve their overall experience on the website.
Better sales and conversion rates
When customers can easily find the products they are looking for, it increases the chances that they will make a purchase, which can benefit the business.
A better understanding of customers
A good search function can help you to understand your customer’s buying behavior and also attract more customers to the website, which can lead to increased sales and revenue.
Greater competitive advantage
Search engines use algorithms to determine the relevance and quality of a website’s content, which signal that the website is providing valuable and relevant information to its users and improve the website’s position on the search engine results page.
E‑commerce search best practices
Searching for a product on an e‑commerce website is one of the most common actions performed by users. It’s also one of the most important, as it helps them find what they are looking for and make a purchase decision.
But how do you ensure that your customers’ experience is the best possible? Without further ado, here’s a 9-point checklist that’ll help you determine how fit your site search is.
Is your search bar visible? Can customers see it right away? Is it on every site? The important thing here is to make the search bar instantly usable, so don’t hide it behind a search icon.
Doing this means you’re losing 30 – 40 % of traffic that could go to search and now ends up using worse-performing navigation and user experience. Instead, reduce unwanted errors in the search experience and helps customers find what they came to look for on your website immediately.
When a customer starts writing a search query, do they have to complete it and hit enter to get the results? Or do you provide them with autocompleted suggestions 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.
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 a higher increase in conversion rate than search bars without it. See how much of an impact it has?
If your search box offers suggestions, what are they? Just phrases? Or just products? The quality search field should suggest products along with their thumbnail photos, product categories and brands you offer, and trending queries.
Great autocomplete should display the most relevant products first. Feel like trying out how the search field could and should work? Try our demo. Always keep in mind that query suggestions and autocomplete suggestions are powerful tools for improving user experience and increasing of average conversion rate.
Here’s a task for you: go to your online store and pretend you’re a customer of yourself. Try to look up a product with intentionally made typos – something like iphhone or men’s tsihrt.
Do you get what you’re looking for? If not, or if you get zero results to the query, you’re losing 10 to 20% of actual customer searches. To make things even worse, the online store exit rate is over 50% upon no-results search.
#5 Slangs & synonyms
Same as above, only this time, try synonyms or slang instead of typos. How about a couch instead of a sofa? Earplugs instead of earbuds? Or display instead of monitor?
Again, if the 0-results page comes up, you’re losing business. Change your potential customers to regular customers by providing a seamless experience with your search options.
#6 Query understanding
When you search for a red dress, does your search bar return every red product and every dress? Or does it return every red dress you have for sale?
Another example might be this simple query: Samsung phones. You’re in trouble if the results contain all Samsung products and phones. Remember that a good search bar works with long-tail queries.
Luigi’s Box uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to work with typos, synonyms, and product ranking to continually study customers’ intent on your website to personalize better, brings accurate search results, and provide an excellent customer experience.
Pagination is such an essential part of your site performance that we devoted a separate article to it.
TL;DR: The ideal way to paginate search results is the one that users don’t have to use. Having a high-quality search engine is the most important thing. Suppose you are designing a website and want to give your customers a top-notch experience while browsing; go for the ‘Load More’ pagination. It’s faster and more effective than traditional pagination. Read the full article here.
#8 Product ranking and relevance
Each product category has its top sellers. Whether you know them from memory or pinpoint them by looking at your sales records, it’s generally a good idea to include these popular products in the results when someone is searching for any product within their category. When you type a category in your search bar and hit enter, do these bestsellers appear on the first results page/positions?
While real-time functionality is your best-case scenario, our rule of thumb is that the load time to get search suggestions is within 0.3 seconds after typing a character and completing search results in no more than 2 seconds.
Now the question is – how many points did your search score? If you want to know more about your search functionality with absolute certainty, you can always try Luigi’s Box’s free comprehensive search analytics.
In a short period of time, you’ll know exactly how your site search performs and what you can do to improve it. Is your website optimized for mobile users? Don’t forget to check your site speed, even for mobile searches, not only for desktop versions.
Even if you are a newbie or a fixed star in e‑commerce, you should definitely not ignore the abovementioned points. An intelligent site search tool will give you a wide variety of options to improve your search for an e‑commerce site and position among the competition.
With relevant search, your customers will get only relevant content, saving their users time from wading through irrelevant search results and decreasing an unwanted bounce rate.
Whatever search solution you select should be capable of a relevant search function. Discover all Luigi’s Box products and their additional features, and learn what more a well-optimized search can bring you.