I recently attended a small but niche eCommerce expo (via teleconferencing, of course) for new and upcoming entrepreneurs. I must say that the questions I got from the group were of the highest order – they mostly knew the ins and outs of running an eCommerce business.
And the enthusiastic new entrepreneurs were seeing the first waves of success and were hungry for me. They wanted the secret tips to success – and, after a bit of prompting and probing, I gave in.
When I recommended focusing more on the eCommerce site search feature while developing an eCommerce store, I knew I would be faced with utter surprise or absolute disbelief. That’s because they have only prioritized landing page optimization or dynamic pricing and neglected site search to the ‘to-do’ list.
The online store is like a thick forest; customers sometimes can’t find the right tree they are looking for among the million of trees there. This allegory generally helps drive home the point.
The solution lies in ‘findability.’ eCommerce site search is one of the essential features of an eCommerce website.
Your visitors – and prospective customers – seek help from the eCommerce search bar either because they know exactly what they are looking for or because the page they are on isn’t showing them the right results. Your store might have the exact product they need, but you will not convert visitors into customers if you don’t optimize your site search feature.
It is essential to stop treating eCommerce website search functionality as just another box to check. It would help if you started looking at site search optimization as a powerful weapon in your arsenal to help you achieve higher conversion rates. So let’s quickly get to the juicy parts of this discussion and learn how to optimize eCommerce site search to increase conversion rates.
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For the uninitiated, an eCommerce site search is like an internal search engine, either integrated within the store or built-in, that helps visitors find the products they are looking for by matching their keywords. But a site search can – and should – be able to achieve much more than that.
A website search is the best ‘salesperson’ your store could ask for. When configured perfectly, it can turn up the correct information for your visitors, answer any of their questions, provide shopping suggestions, and guide them gently through the sales funnel.
A site search filters the keywords used by the store visitors and tries to match the input with the available product list.
However, your store’s visitors don’t always search for products the way you like them, or in ways your system can interpret. They are likely to misspell words or use utterly different product names to search. That’s why you need to implement a practical eCommerce search solution to interpret the intended search query and throw relevant suggestions.
Most shoppers using the eCommerce site search feature tend to fall into these four distinct categories, according to Baymard Institute.
Andrea Polonioli, the product manager for Coveo’s eCommerce division, reports that 30 to 60% of visitors usually conduct an on-site search. These shoppers were 2 – 3 times more likely to convert than those who do not use the eCommerce search feature.
When shoppers use the eCommerce site search feature, you can be almost sure they are looking for products. However, shoppers typically use a different method to search for products on an eCommerce site than when undertaking a web search. For example, shoppers are likelier to include criteria or define the ‘search range.’
Anyway, your shoppers are visiting your eCommerce store intending to purchase products. They are seeking help from your site’s virtual ‘salesperson’ in finding a tennis racket or a red evening gown. All your internal search engine has to do is guide them to the right product.
And it shouldn’t stop with the red evening gown. Your eCommerce search should gently guide the shoppers to pick out matching accessories and more. And, perhaps, add a good word about your store while they are at it.
eCommerce site search comes with a lot of benefits for your online store. Here are some crucial benefits of site search you must know.
When you provide a seamless and smooth path from the search box to the product list and offer customers recommendations and filtering options, the chances of increasing your conversion rate are higher.
A study that looked at 21 eCommerce web stores found that user-friendly search experiences increased conversion rates. When stores used the eCommerce search feature, the conversion rate jumped from the websites’ average of 2.77% to a whopping 4.63% – a phenomenal 80% increase.
On-site search is a major contributor to customers’ overall eCommerce user experience. Most customers using the search know exactly what they want and only come to find it. Or customers who have a vague idea of their needs but require some help from the store’s end to find them. So, the eCommerce search can either make or break the sale for your store.
Which eCommerce store doesn’t want to know what their customers are looking for? The on-site search is a powerful marketing tool that can give you incredible insights into your customer’s psyche, their shopping behaviors, and the keywords they use to describe the products and the most sought-after merchandise.
For example, if your customers are searching for products you don’t offer, you can take the clue and start including those items in your product line.
Now, let’s look at some of the best eCommerce site search practices that will yield the right results for your store.
The search box is where the customer’s journey into your store begins. So, neglecting it won’t be a wise decision.
Your site search box should be highly noticeable. Use a contrasting color from your site’s general color scheme. Keep your eCommerce site search box above the fold so that it should be easy to notice.
You shouldn’t expect your shoppers to know the exact product names or spellings. So allow for error correction and give leeway for typos.
According to the Baymard Institute reports,
Don’t expect shoppers to search smart; make your site search feature intelligently auto-complete queries.
Optimize your site search so that it can interpret the query’s intended meaning and make sense of long-tail semantic searches too.
The customer using the site search is mostly a high-intent shopper who is quite serious about making the purchase, and the last thing you want to do is send them back empty-handed (to your competitor’s site!). Not showing anything on the search result page is one of the most common eCommerce mistakes many businesses make, which can result in customers leaving your website.
Make sure that the standard search queries turn up some results. If you don’t have the exact products, bring up relevant products or provide product recommendations – anything but not empty page results.
Use natural language processing and synonyms support that can improve the effectiveness of searches so that your store doesn’t throw empty results pages.
B2B sellers may use as much industry jargon as they like if they know their customers understand it. But if your customers are using common words, you should also. You are optimizing your website search for your customers and not your competitors.
Search queries offer a wealth of crucial information on what exactly your customers are looking for, how they search for products, and how they shop. With such data, you can try to fix the gaps between customer needs and your offering.
You will also get to know if the keywords your customers are using match your website’s product pages or if you need to make any changes.
With the information from the search queries, you can segment your customers based on their keywords and use this data to further your Google page rankings.
The number of mobile shoppers is slated to exceed 187.5 million US users by 2024, a steep increase from 166.7 million in 2020. In the second quarter of 2022, mobile devices generated 58.99% of worldwide website traffic, and this figure has been consistently registering a 50% mark since 2017.
We all know the pain of clicking on the little magnifying glass on our mobile’s tiny search box. You could try offering a drop-down list of suggestions based on the keywords entered to sort this out. Or stores could try having an automatically opening search tab. Regardless of what you choose for your store, ensure it is adequately tested before implementation.
Use the information received from the eCommerce search functionality to understand customers better. Apply machine learning capabilities to gain better insights into specific customer groups’ buying behaviors. This way, you’ll be more equipped to offer a personalized shopping experience and enhance your inventory.
There are many third-party site search providers who offer tailored services to eCommerce stores. The following points will help you make the right decision.
Here’s a list of eCommerce site search providers you could try. Before choosing one, consider your store’s unique requirements and the benefits you are trying to gain.
Now that we know why it’s crucial to optimize the eCommerce search functionality and have also almost chosen the tool, here are a few tested-and-tried best practices.
A site search feature depends mainly on the tool or platform you choose. However, you can follow these general steps to efficiently set up a site search feature.
eCommerce site search optimization is not a one-off process where you ‘set and forget.’ It needs constant upkeep to run smoothly. Use it to its full potential to know more about your customer’s buying preferences.
If you are doing it right, you can gain many insights into the following:
This comprehensive guide to eCommerce site search will give you everything you’ll need to ramp up your store’s search conversion rates. The site search tool tells you a lot about your customers and their shopping journey through your web store.
The information given in this article should be enough to get you started on your search optimization journey. Now, you know what to do to get your desired conversion rate and the tools you need.
You can contact us if you still have any doubts about the eCommerce search feature or any other queries.
We are an experienced eCommerce development company that can help you choose the suitable eCommerce site search solution and implement it efficiently in your online store.
In general, eCommerce search types are text-based search and faceted search. The text-based search allows users to search for products based on keywords or phrases, while the faceted search (filter) lets them refine their search results using attributes such as price, size, color, brand, etc.
You can improve your eCommerce search results by optimizing product data, implementing faceted search, incorporating auto-complete and auto-suggest features, and regularly analyzing and refining search analytics.
A robust on-site search is essential to the eCommerce user experience since it helps customers find products quickly and easily. The right on-site search can increase conversions, sales, and customer engagement.
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