March 4, 2022
Did you know? 43% of visitors go directly to the search bar when they first land on a website.
Ecommerce site search is becoming a critical factor in the success of fashion marketplaces and online retail stores.
Companies have started to notice that user behavior is all about being more efficient—they want to get things fast. This means that any tool that can shorten the customer journey will provide additional value.
Taking all that in consideration, t’s no wonder the investment in ecommerce search is increasing. Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, Deep Learning can bring many benefits to a retailer’s performance.
The search term a customer uses could provide a company with important data about their behavior. When used correctly, this data may boost conversions and improve customer retention.
In this article, we’re listing seven ecommerce site search best practices. We'll start by discussing what retail search is and why you need to optimize it, before moving on to how you can take advantage of it.
Having an ecommerce site search means that your website has its own search engine. The goal is to allow users to find what they’re looking for faster, without having to go through multiple categories in the menu.
Typically, a retail site has a search bar where users can type in a keyword. Once they enter the keyword, they get a list of related products to choose from.
However, its function goes way beyond just a retail site search bar. Users can use search engines to access your database and get answers to questions they have about your products.
The better the design of your site search engine, the simpler it is for visitors to get the information they're looking for. This results in a better customer experience, higher conversion rates, and improved customer retention.
In fact, research by Screen Pages discovered that higher conversion rates are directly associated with user-friendly site search experiences. When site search was integrated, the conversion rate jumped from 2.77% to 4.63% on average.
That’s an increase of 80%.
If your e-commerce search bar doesn’t return relevant information, the visitor will have an unpleasant experience and leave your site.
Having a well-designed retail search engine comes with many benefits:
If a website visitor has decided to use the search bar, they are most likely looking for something specific. Their process of researching and collecting information has ended, they’ve decided to buy and now the purchase is imminent. If your search engine gives high-intent customers what they want, the customer journey will most likely end with a purchase.
According to Baymard Institute, these are the most common on-site query types:
Improve product discoverability with visual search
can help you increase AOV
Now, let’s see what you need to do to make your retail site search more effective.
Your search bar should stand out so visitors can see it right away. It’s best practice to place it on top of the site, near the navigation bar where your categories are.
Don’t hide it or make it smaller to make room for banners or other advertisements.
Amazon does a pretty good job by placing a white search bar on a dark background:
Your users might use slang to search for some products. Or, they simply might not know the correct name of the product.
This is what we call “vocabulary gap”.
While the visitor is still typing, your site's search tool should be clever enough to predict where the search is going and begin offering options.
This is an example from Asos:
Sometimes, even autocomplete is not enough. There are situations where words can fail to describe what the visitor is thinking.
In these cases, there’s only one solution—an image.
If you allow the user to add an image of a product they like instead of typing keywords and search by image, you will make product search a lot more effortless.
See how IKEA does it:
When customers come to your site intending to buy, they’ll be really disappointed if you show them zero results. You need to make sure that each search query shows a result.
To prevent empty result pages coming up in search, set up a product recommendation engine to return a list of products the user might like, based on what they initially searched for.
See this example from Foot Locker:
Make sure you provide all possible filter options. This way, users will be able to filter out unwanted results and save time.
Here’s another example from Asos:
You can’t provide relevant search results if your product catalog lacks rich metadata. This means that each product needs to contain tags, titles, and product descriptions.
Your tags must include all the keywords your visitors might use to search for a product.
About You has a great structure of its product catalog:
Users who use their smartphones to search for products are most frequently just browsing. However, a good search engine can turn them into buyers.
As mobile users have limited visibility, your website should have a version of your site optimized for mobile.
The mobile version should mainly focus on accuracy, as the mobile screen can fit only 2-3 products. That’s why they need to be as relevant as possible.
The mobile website of About You shows three relevant results:
Having an e-commerce site search function can bring your store many benefits.
Your shoppers will be able to find the products they want quickly.
At the same time, you’ll get a lot of valuable information about shoppers’ intent that will help you make more personalized offers.
To optimize your site search, there are a few things you can do.
You can make your search bar visible, allow visitors to search by image, and suggest related or alternative items when what the user is searching for doesn’t exist of is out of stock.
But true optimization happens in the back end - you can’t show relevant results and the right categories if your catalog is not properly tagged.
At Pixyle, we help you add rich metadata to your products, so your commercial team can benefit from richer categories and more accurate site search.
Try a demo of our catalog enrichment suite demo and see for yourself how Pixyle can help you improve site search leading to better product discoverability.