If you sell more than one product on your site, you should really consider using site search.
This way, people have a much better chance of finding the type of product they’re looking for.
The only thing is, simply having site search on your e-commerce website isn’t enough.
You also need to think about how you use your optimized site search to get the most out of it.
In this post, we’re going to look at why you should start implementing site search onto your e-commerce website and how you can use it to improve user experience and boost sales.
What is e-commerce site search?
E-commerce site search is a way for your website visitors and potential customers to find the products they want without having to scroll through endless product listings.
It gives them a chance to bypass your category pages and go directly to the product they want.
This way the steps involved taking them from a casual browser to an actual customer are reduced.
Did you know though, that only 40% of e-commerce sites actually implement site search?
E-Commerce site search best practices
- Place your site search box in a place where people can easily access it from any page of your e-commerce site
- Personalize your suggestions to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for
- Use technology to improve the way the site search learns about the type of things your customers look for, as well as the spellings they use
- Use autocomplete to increase the speed of people locating your products
We’ll go into more detail about each of these points, but it’s useful to know the general site search best practices.
For those who use site search on their desktop, the system works well. The issue is, many forget to think about their mobile experience.
Plenty of shoppers want to browse (and even buy) on their mobile so it’s crucial you consider your mobile site experience too.
When you use ASOS mobile search, they make the search function fullscreen. This is good because it doesn’t cause a distraction by having other things on the screen.
It also still implements the use of predictions and autocorrects.
E-commerce stores that end up dominating the field are the ones who put their customers (and their customer’s experience first).
What’s more, to access these results, you don’t even need to be logged in.
For a store like ASOS, simple site search isn’t enough. They have hundreds, if not thousands of different products and because of this you need to go one step further than simple site search and allow for filtering of results.
Let’s say we wanted to buy a scarf.
The number on the right tells us that there are 348 scarfs on ASOS’s website.
Are we expected to browse through every single scarf to find the one we want?
When you click on that search result, you see the following:
You’re now able to filter your results to easily find the perfect scarf for you.
Do you have a specific budget in mind, do you know what color you want the scarf to be etc.?
Sometimes product names are long and most times, customers are just lazy. That’s why it’s important to use a feature like autocomplete.
The way it works is, a customer starts typing a product they want and your search bar provides them with options they might be thinking about.
In this example, I typed “Gy”, Asos assumes I am probably looking for gym gear and so provides me with a number of options.
This is great because if I’m looking for “petite gym leggings” I can click straight through but also if I’m looking for a “long sleeve gym top” I can click through too.
People on the internet are in a hurry. Mistakes are made, especially with typing. For this reason, you need to make your site search intuitive enough that it still understands what the customer is looking for, despite the spelling error.
In this search, I searched for “jeens”. Now, that’s not how you spell “jeans” but Asos’ site search still understood what I was looking for.
You’ll notice they say “your search results for: Jeens”, we also searched for “jeans”. This is important because most people who search for “jeens” are probably looking for “jeans and instead of the site search showing a screen that says “Sorry no products found”, they understood the thoughts behind the original search.
In many cases, people use different words to describe things. Because of this, you need to make sure that your site search understands the different ways people use to describe your products and include synonyms within your search too.
Let’s look at an example.
Some people might use the word “trackies” to describe the tracksuit they want to buy.
If we go to ASOS and search for that term, we can see that there is a wide range of results.
What’s even more interesting though, is that ASOS doesn’t use the word “trackies” to describe their products, they use the word “tracksuit”.
But their site search is intuitive enough to understand that when a customer says ‘trackies” they mean tracksuits.
You don’t want to frustrate your customers by not providing them with any results for their search, so think about using synonyms within your products to enable people to find what they need.
AI and machine learning
All of this wouldn’t be possible without new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The more you can incorporate big data into your site search, the better results your customers will receive.
For example, your site search could learn that 56% of people add an extra “e” when they type the word t-shirt (tee-shirt).
You could also learn that when people search for gym clothes, the majority of them are looking for leggings.
When you’re armed with this data, you can effectively provide much stronger, tailored results for your customers.
You can even take it further and personalize the search results based on your customer’s own purchase history.
Implementing site search on your e-commerce store is a task that many neglect to think about. However, when you get it right, it provides you with numerous benefits.
Your customers will thank you for the improved user experience and your bank balance will thank you for your increased revenue.
What are you waiting for, implement site search today!