There is an effective way to enhance both customer experience and conversion rate on the ecommerce website, which is optimizing the search bar functionality. Overall, a good search bar will help the store visitors to get what they need fast and exactly among tons of products on the site. Although site search is a basic feature, many ecommerce stores don’t know how to make it work effectively. In this post, we will show you some common mistakes when creating an ecommerce search bar as well as 15 valuable tips to optimize your site search function.
1. Auto-complete Feature is a Must
Most of the ecommerce websites now embrace the Auto-complete in their search bar function. The essential purpose of including this feature is to assist the customers in their searching and purchasing process.
How does it work?
When the buyers type something in the search field, thanks to the Auto-complete tool, it will instantly predict and display a list of suggestions based on the typed information.
Why does it benefit the searchers?
How does it benefit the ecommerce store owner?
- They can find what they are looking for much faster.
- They can move directly to the product page once clicking on a suggested result.
- They don’t need to remember the whole search terms with difficult spellings.
- They can easily create a query even when they are not good at English.
It was proven that the Auto-completion feature plays a big role in enhancing the conversion rates of the store. The buyers assisted by useful product suggestions are 6 times more willing to convert than the others.
2. Take Advantage of “No search result”
Assumed that you were a buyer, would you like the feeling of going to an online store, searching for something and getting nothing? Obviously, you would feel a little annoying for wasting your time, right?
Furthermore, if the website just returns an almost empty page with the disappointed text “No results”, most of the customers will immediately leave the site and continue their searching on other similar stores.
The truth is that when the customers search for something that is not available on your ecommerce website, there is no way to satisfy them with that item. But… you can turn their attention to other interesting current products in your store. What we mean is that why don’t you suggest them some similar items that are close to their search terms or even draw their attention to your best sellers. There are many situations that the shoppers are appealed to the recommended stuff and forget their first purpose when accessing the store.
3. Allow Search by Synonyms
In some cases, your ecommerce website still shows the “No results” page even when you DO provide the search items in your store. Why? The reason is that the customers don’t type the EXACT words as the name of your products and services but SYNONYMS. For example, the buyers are searching for “cell phones” which are named as “mobile phones” in your store.
What is the solution?
Firstly, you should consider developing a custom function that can analyze the customers’ search terms and suggest the items with the same meaning. Secondly, you should write a short message to the viewers, for example: “Sorry, we cannot find any results for “cell phones”, did you mean “mobile phone” and then display your suggested products.
4. Accept Multilingual Search
For the large ecommerce stores that serve the customers from all over the world, it’s a taboo to allow searching in English language only. In contrast, by offering the multilingual search, these stores will be able to gratify their great number of customers worldwide.
5. Show the Right Search Bar on the Right Places
This one of the most pivotal things when it comes to an effective search bar on the ecommerce websites. Here are two things you need to concern most:
- Make the search bar visible on most of the pages
Almost all of the ecommerce websites provide a wide range of products (5,000-10,000 items on average). Owing to that, the customers often look for the search bar in the first place when visiting a site to find their favorite item. This means that you need to make your search bar approachable as much as possible – from any categories pages, homepages,… in your site.
- The perfect position on a page: Top-Center
As we have mentioned, for many customers, the search bar comes to their minds whenever visiting an ecommerce store. Therefore, your job is to show the search bar in the most eye-catching position on your web page. Don’t let them look for your search bar, even just a few seconds.
From many surveys, the most effective position to place the search bar on the ecommerce websites is the Top-Center. It should be as noticeable as the company logo and the main menu. The second suggested position is the right-hand side of the page.
Remember that the placement of your search bar will decide its frequency of usage on your e-websites.
6. Don’t Forget the Search Buttons
Many ecommerce websites make light of the search button; however, it still an important component of the search bar. You should include a specific word on it such as “SEARCH”, “FIND” and “GO” (highly recommended) or a magnifying lens symbol (non-verbal symbol for search) on it.
Many sites try to make them different by using other symbols, for example: arrow, favicon, binocular,… but it’s unnecessary.
Furthermore, you should both add the button to the search bar and allow the searchers to press the “Enter” key to start their search.
7. Offer Rich-info Results on the Suggestion Box
- Include product ratings and reviews: By showing the high rate of the product and the number of product review on the Auto-complete box, you will increase the rate of clicking on the suggested result significantly.
- Show product price: Displaying the price of each product might help the customers instantly figure out which item is (not) what they want – on their budget.
- Show Add-to-cart button: If a customer already been familiar with a certain ecommerce store, he/she would majorly use the search function to find his/her frequently purchased items rather than the new ones. Therefore, it would be a great idea to enable the add-to-cart feature on the suggestion box to allow the searcher buy the items right away.
8. Display the Search Field, Not an Icon/ Link Only
One of the most common errors of designing the search bar on the ecommerce stores is showing only one search button. Then, the searchers must click on that button expand the search field.
The primary purpose of using this style is to narrow down the area of the search bar and have more space in the header. There are plenty of sites following the clean and minimalistic style and going for this solution. Nevertheless, from our point of view, it’s a very bad idea for an ecommerce website.
In some worse cases, the store owners just set a link on the top menu to go to the search page, which as a result takes more time of the shoppers for searching on your site as well as decrease their satisfaction.
9. Create Outstanding Search Bar
- Design an appropriate size: The size of the search bar does matter. Assumed that your search bar/ field is quite narrow, it would be inconvenient for the buyers to enter long search terms.
- Use white space wisely: The white space is the empty space between elements in the web header. In order to make the search bar stand out, a big tip is to increase the amount of white space around it.
- Apply some contrasts: It would create a good effect if you can add some contrasts between the search bar and other parts of the site as well as in the search field itself. For instance, you should add a bold border to the search bar with the high-contrast color to the site background (black-white).
10. Pay Attention to the Text in Search Bar
Here is where you can make a difference in your search functionality and provide more great experience for your competitors.
Most of the ecommerce websites will leave the search field empty or display the text “Search” or “Typing Here”.
However, we have some better ideas for you. The first suggestion is adding some common search terms or several outstanding categories in your store (e.g.: clothes, books, mobile phones…) to the search field in order to stimulate customers’ search for these terms. The second idea is to add an interesting phrase related to your provided products and services (e.g.: Give me more lipsticks).
11. Provide Personalized Search Experience
Not only the ecommerce but most of the industries nowadays put more attention to personalization so as to deliver the best experience to the clients. In terms of the search function, we can apply personalization by storing search history of the users and showing it as suggested terms in the future searches. Although this is just a small feature, your customers would appreciate it so much, especially for whom have the short-term memory.
12. Orient Users with Scoped Search
This function doesn’t bring about a lot of benefits for small ecommerce websites with just a few categories but for the medium to large ones with plenty of categories and tons of products, it would be meaningful.
How does it work?
When the customers search for a product that has the same search term with some products in other categories, the scoped search will help them to restraint the returned search results to the selected category only.
Without the scoped search, your page will return a lot of results and in some worst case, the customers’ needed products are on the last of the result page. Then, they can possibly spend more time to get the end of the list or leave your site before they get what they want.
13. Apply Auto Spelling Corrections
It is very common that people fail to search for what they want due to incorrect spellings and typing errors, especially when they search on their mobile browser/ app. If you ignore these cases, you might lose a numerous number of the potential customers.
Therefore, your search function should provide the automatic spelling correction function – tolerating the common spelling errors of the searchers as well as offering the correctly spelled words.
14. Allow Long Search Terms
For some customers, they prefer searching with long search terms to get exactly what they want. For example, instead of entering the keyword “Top” only, the users will type “Women’s yellow top size S”. Many sites don’t support this type of searching and return “No results” page. Owing to that, if you can add this function to your site, you win!
15. Optimize Search Result Page
The most essential component of the search function is how you organize and design your search result page. Here are some things to enhance the search result page’s effectiveness:
- Enable search on the result page: As we have mentioned, you should make the search bar visible on most of the pages on your site, the search result page included. The purpose of keeping a search field on this page is to continue customers’ searches when they don’t find what they want in the first result page and search for another keyword. Noting that the initial search input must be maintained on the search bar so that the users can edit and get better search results.
- Include a convenient product filter: It would be a great idea to add the product filter function to the result page, allowing the users to filter all search results by price, colors, size, materials, brands, ratings and reviews, new arrivals, and so on.
- Prioritize relevant results on top of the page: Instead of showing matching results instantly, some store owners display their featured items on the top, which might frustrate the searchers.
The Search functionality is crucial for any ecommerce websites. It can be considered as a key to introduce your products to the customers and enhance the conversion rates. Hope that by using 15 simple tips on this post, you can create a wonderful search bar for your ecommerce store.