Site search is an important part of any eCommerce site. Research has found that consumers have high expectations for this function, so how do you live up to them?
Here’s our guide to eCommerce site search, with four top tips on how you can improve the experience for your customers.
What is Site Search?
On most eCommerce websites, large and small, you’ll find a search bar. This is site search.
At its core, site search is a way for users to find exactly what they’re looking for by entering keywords.
This functionality can be as basic or as elaborate as you want, though eCommerce owners may want to take heed of research by the Baynard Institute.
Conducting research into types of online search queries, the institute found that “users are becoming more and more accustomed to the robust features of major web and social media search engines.”
These search engines have an “uncanny ability to intelligently interpret and yield relevant results to complex queries.” Ultimately, they found that users were carrying these expectations with them when conducting searches on eCommerce websites.
So, with this in mind, how can you improve your eCommerce site search so that it meets these expectations?
The Benefits of eCommerce Site Search
Before we dive into how to make the best site search function for your eCommerce store, it’s important to understand how the functionality can benefit your site.
Enhance Customer Experience
A good site search function can give a huge boost to user experience. It can even be a make or break for the customer journey.
Increase Conversion Rates
If users can easily find what they want through a search, it increases the chance they will follow through with their purchase. It just makes sense.
Gather Data to Move Your Business Forward
Data generated from site search can help you to make better business decisions, like where to increase and decrease your stock.
Improve Marketing Strategy
Through analytics and data, you’ll learn important info like buying intent, consumer behavior, and search patterns. These can really help to inform your marketing strategy and make it stronger.
Best Practices to Improve Your Site Search
Now that we know the benefits, its time to examine what makes a truly great eCommerce site search.
1. Make Your Site Search Box Visible
It’s no good investing time and money into your site search if, ultimately, your customers can’t find it.
Your search box should be above the fold. It should be clear and easy for customers to recognize. Including the magnifying glass symbol is a common and effective way to do this.
2. Include Autocorrect and Autocomplete
Don’t assume that all customers will know how to spell your product names.
When designing your search function, you should include provisions for both autocorrect – which, as the name suggests, corrects spelling errors – and autocomplete – where users are provided with suggestions based on the words they begin to type.
Your search function should be configured and optimized to understand common phonetic misspellings and typos at the very least.
3. Use Natural Language Processing
One step on from basic autocorrect and autocomplete features is the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP).
NLP is a technique used by major corporations like Apple and Amazon, and it can help your business to thrive too.
NLP is a branch of computer science related to artificial intelligence. Its focus is giving computers the ability to understand text (and spoken word) in the same way human beings do – hence the ‘natural’ in natural language processing. So how does this relate to site search?
NLP in site search allows customers to type (or speak) queries into the search box in a more natural way, and be understood by your filters.
Investing in NLP technology can help to save time, and increase conversions.
4. Optimize for Mobile
Online shopping is no longer just done on desktop. Mobile commerce is rapidly expanding.
We’re big advocates for having a mobile friendly website, especially one made by a professional, and part of this should be a site search that works seamlessly on mobile devices.
Smart search with better filters and a quick, smooth interface are a must to avoid mobile shopping becoming tedious and frustrating.
In Conclusion: 4 Simple Steps to Superb Site Search
Site search is an important feature for any eCommerce store.
Helping your customers to easily find what they’re searching for will increase your chances of conversion, as well as help you to gather vital information about customer behavior.
To create the best site search, make sure your technology incorporates autocorrect for common typos and misspellings. For even better user experience, consider implementing NLP technology.
Your site search should also be as easy to use on mobile as it is on desktop – and a big part of this is ensuring that your search box is visible and obvious to users.
By putting all these features together, you’ll have a site search functionality that beats the competition and improves your chances for business success.