Customers who cannot find what they want within a few seconds will bounce off your site and go somewhere else.
While e-merchants do not have much time to impress shoppers, 61% of eCommerce sites surprisingly have a weak search performance that fails consumers’ expectations. Let’s see how to create a superior search experience and improve conversion rates to rise above the competition.
What is a site search?
Site search or internal site search is a search engine capability that you can integrate into your online store. Basically, it allows your customers to look for specific content or products on that page by matching keywords they type in.
Please don’t think that it is just a box to check. In fact, eCommerce search requires complicated technology to deal with complex queries. Advanced search features can take your business to the next level, and effectively compete with others in your industry.
Why do you need site search features?
Did you know that nearly 50% of online shoppers value good search and navigation features? Thus, site search is important in making your products easy to find, contributing to a pleasant experience. Now, let’s take a look at the following statistics to see how smart site search features can help you in creating a profitable business.
- Internal on-site search is an essential feature for eCommerce websites. Why? According to a Forrester report, about 43% of retail online consumers go straight to the search bar.
- Consumers who use search are 4 times more likely to purchase. Searchers also generate more revenue, spending 2.6 times more on mobile and desktop than non-searchers.
- Site search optimization can increase conversion rates by 43%.
- Despite all of the above-mentioned conversion opportunities, only 15% of businesses devote resources to site search optimization.
Although site search could bring real benefits, not many sites give it attention. Hence, this indicates a chance for you to stand out by taking the following handy tips.
Top eCommerce site search features
Not investing in effective search usability can not only cost you sales in the short and long term, but it can also set incorrect user experiences for future site use. Let’s see which search features online merchants should focus on to satisfy consumers’ demands.
1. Support phonetic misspellings and alternative titles
Shoppers may have only heard the product title somewhere and therefore not know how to spell it. Naming may also differ depending on where the customer is based. For instance, Nestlé’s Quik vs. Nesquik — both of which refer to the same product. In fact, this is especially important for global eCommerce sites where product naming may vary by country.
Also, it is interesting to know that customers frequently do not type out the product title. Instead, they tend to copy and paste product titles from external websites into the search field or type the product category in haste. Therefore, smart search as you type with spell check and typo tolerance will be a must when it comes to improving your eCommerce search.
(Source: Yummy Bazaar)
A Spell-check feature makes your store more user-friendly and saves tons of time. For example, if a customer types ‘spoghotti’ instead of ‘spaghetti’, the Boost Product Filter & Search app will automatically list spaghetti-related goods and pages. Likewise, you can see that even when that consumer types the wrong-spelled term and hits enter, thanks to the typo tolerance function, the search result page still displays relevant items.
2. Support product-type searches
When done alone, product type searches are typically an attempt by consumers to quickly access a category in your store. To illustrate, a buyer would search ‘televisions’ rather than a specific brand like Sony. The reason is either because it is more convenient, or because they are having difficulty finding the category via the main menu.
Remember that product type searches require returning relevant results regardless of whether the searched-for product type exists as a category on the site or not. Thus, as a store owner, you should have proper handling of synonyms and variant spellings of such categories. To fully support product types and deliver what shoppers want, consider implementing synonym and redirect features.
An advanced search solution allows you to create a list of synonyms so even if those terms are not in the data, shoppers still reach suitable results. GUESS is a prime example here. As you can see, if consumers use the term ‘beachwear’ or ‘bikini’, the instant search results and search result pages showcase swimwear items.
Sometimes, to return a more precise result and better serve your business goals, the redirect function comes in handy. Basically, it is a setting that enables searchers to directly reach a specified page after typing keywords and pressing ‘enter’. It might be used for cross-selling, up-selling, or campaign promotions. Importantly, this is a very practical tactic to help online merchants turn ‘no search results’ into sales. Take a look at King of Christmas. Visitors want to find prince flocks, so they key in ‘princeflockpencirelated’ into the search bar. Once they hit ‘enter’, they are directed to the prince flock collection page.
(Source: King of Christmas)
3. Make all product attributes searchable
Consumers regularly have a list of criteria (known as product attributes) that they want the product to satisfy. These factors frequently relate to product characteristics. As a result, they would include these factors in their search queries.
(Souce: Katy Perry Collections)
Feature searches occur when a customer specifies one or more features that they wish the product to have in their search query. For instance, they may not desire just any ‘sandals’, but rather something more specific, such as ‘blue sandals’.
So the question is, how can you make your product attributes searchable? The optimal option is to dynamically apply any features searched for as filters on the results page since this provides transparency and user control – with the user being able to see what is and is not included and rapidly toggle associated filters on/off. In other words, faceted search (or faceted navigation) comes as the best solution for you.
(Source: Fenton and Fenton)
When customers search for tables on Fenton and Fenton’s online store, the brand displays a filter tree that presents all filter options (product type, material, price, color,…). This allows shoppers to get the ones that match their preferences right away. With the advanced product filtering by Boost Commerce, store owners can create dynamic filter options from collections, vendors, product types, variants (eg: Size, Color), rating, price, sale off percent, SKU, tags, metafields, and so on.
4. Support thematic searches
Thematic searches are frequently difficult to define due to their inherent ambiguity. They often include fuzzy boundaries of usage locations (e.g., ‘kitchen furniture’), seasonal conditions (e.g., ‘autumn jacket’, ‘cold weather sleeping bag’), and events (e.g., ‘wedding gift’), or even promotional attributes (‘sale lipsticks’).
(Source: Go Robinsons)
They are very real concepts for consumers who, in some areas such as fashion, cosmetics, food and beverages, and furnishings, extensively employ thematic qualifiers in their searches.
What matters is that thematic facets should be beneficial to customers and enhance their overall experience as Sephora, the leading retailer of beauty products has been doing. When people search for summer sale makeup items, they help customers narrow down the results by selecting their favorite finish (radiant, high shine, natural, etc.) and coverage (sheer, medium, full).
5. Improve mobile search
The eCommerce traffic from mobile devices keeps growing, and m-commerce is predicted to account for 72.9% of all retail eCommerce sales. Therefore, configuring mobile search functionality is a must. Smart autocomplete recommendations, also known as query suggestions, can be an effective technique for keeping mobile searchers engaged. It decreases the amount of typing required as we can see on Macmillan Education Caribbean’s mobile site.
(Source: Macmillan Education Caribbean)
Returning suggested products as fast as consumers are typing will reduce frustration, and speedily take them to the checkout process.
It is undeniable that site search features are powerful tools that help high-intent shoppers find their desired items, turning browsers into buyers. To provide a truly effective search for consumers, you will need to undertake some sort of ongoing optimization with those above-mentioned ones. That extra effort will be rewarded in the long run.
Still fiddling around with this? Let the Product Filter & Search app by Boost Commerce give you a hand! Enjoy your 14-day free trial with no credit card required.
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