Technically, eCommerce site search refers to an integrated solution of an online store. Despite the nature of the search, the objective of this solution is to match the correct results with search queries of all visitors.
In layman’s terms, site search solution filters eCommerce products as per queries. Today, more than 60% of eCommerce sites depend on users to look for a product with specific jargon on the site to find the relevant product.
So, make sure you don’t become part of the 60% of eCommerce websites that fail to meet buyers’ expectations. Research also suggests that some product categories can convert on-site users 16x better. On average, more than 60% of the online revenue for eCommerce comes from search results from users.
The Visitor’s Type
There are two common types of visitors an eCommerce website can get:
1. The Browser
In a traditional sense, the browser is (almost) always never clear about its search criteria. But it doesn’t change the fact that the browser is halfway through your buying funnel. The browser either heard or read about a product and then looks for it. At this point, you have to provide guidance and roll-out automated recommendations with prefilled keywords on the search bar.
2. The Searcher
The searchers are aware of the product their product selection and stand at the end of your buying funnel. Unlike browsers, searchers want something specific in terms of product name, brand, and color. Searchers use the eCommerce search engine to find specific products based on various considerations.
Importance of E-commerce Site Search
Most eCommerce businesses are surprised to find out how site search significantly contributes to more conversion of new sales. More people on eCommerce sites look for help. Tech revolution paved the way for site search and now it has become integral to drive eCommerce growth.
A heightened focus on eCommerce site search has become a standard approach to gain a competitive edge. As an eCommerce store, you have to realize that shoppers now want convenient and fast results. When it comes to millennials and Gen Z, Google Search has managed to render a major influence as to what people should expect from a dedicated search box.
6 Best Practices for E-Commerce Site Search
1. Easy to Spot Search Box
You have to make sure visitors can find your eCommerce site search box easily. In fact, there are several ways you can optimize the search box like adding specific text and increasing the size of the search box. If you run a clothing and lifestyle eCommerce store with a lot of content, you will need an identifiable and visible search box.
Visitors are conditioned to look for a search box when they’re on a complex website. You can add more than one dedicated search button and add design changes that would draw the attention of visitors towards the search box. It also allows users to search for whatever they want and at any given time.
2. Stronger Error Tolerance
Your online store has to have robust error tolerance to ensure a smooth and seamless user journey. Oftentimes, a disruptive user journey happens due to phonetic misspellings. So, handle this aspect of the eCommerce site search with care and caution. A strong error tolerance improves usability and gives users the wiggle room to make minor spelling mistakes on the search box.
Online store owners have to understand that visitors have probably just heard about their product line and may not be able to search for a specific product with the correct spelling. So, add a listing of alternative spellings that can correct wrong spellings and guide visitors to find the right products.
3. Search Query and Auto-complete
Search engines can now predict extensive search queries of visitors. Once you offer an auto-complete option on your eCommerce site search, it will allow you to manage visitor queries and understand the relevancy and demand of specific products.
Think of auto-complete action as a predictive model that allows you to make sense of search queries. Even if searched queries are different, you can look for potential matches. It will help you understand what visitors were looking for in your online store.
You can improve your eCommerce site search with a great auto-complete solution. You can include suggestion boosts to promote specific keywords and increase the conversion rate. It is vital to understand that an auto-complete brings out the most relevant product on the search first.
In fact, auto-complete suggestions guide users to create a proper search query about the product they want. A good auto-complete search solution increases the relevancy of overall results and increases the time users spend on your eCommerce site.
4. Better Site Search through Natural Language Processing
Natural Language Processing or NLP has become great practice to get better results on eCommerce site search. NLP helps you understand the user intent. Usually, Google uses NLP for more focused and keyword-driven search results.
Similarly, your eCommerce site can use NLP technology to study clicked results and establish uniform ranking rules for your products. Through natural language processing, you can highlight the best products on your eCommerce site.
5. Focus on Elastic Search
Another hallmark practice is to prioritize elastic search. It is an analytics engine with distributed and open search capabilities. You can depend on elastic search to process different types of data like geospatial, structured, numerical, textual, and unstructured.
One of the perks of the elastic search for an eCommerce site is high speed for larger data. With Elastic search, you won’t have to deal with a slow response time that renders redundant user experience and triggers a high bounce rate. Elastic search ensures instant responses as it searches from an index rather than the text. As a result, you will also have enhanced queries and search relevancy.
6. Adopt a Unified Approach
Your eCommerce site search is more than just a small bar for shoppers to write down their searches. The modern eCommerce site search combines related searches, analytics, the search engine, auto-complete actions, and much more.
Your eCommerce site search combines these elements to take your online store to new heights. The more details and insights you provide the more transformative the shopping experience you can give to customers. You can also use unique customer behavior to make changes in different departments of your online store.
It is an excellent strategy to save valuable resources and help end-users find specific products with convenience. Of course, the expectations of visitors change over time. But you can keep up with the changing customer preferences and align those insights on your eCommerce site search.
In the digital age, the last thing you want is to take search efficiency for granted. It’s a brave new world and Gen Z can’t imagine a world without Google search. The fact of the matter is that things can always get complicated when it comes to “how” you use search engines.
Modern eCommerce businesses have no choice but to invest in new technologies and integrated features. But complete overdependence on technology can backfire. Instead, the main objective of eCommerce businesses should be to generate more sales. And eCommerce site search is the key to driving unprecedented sales growth.
About the author
Tim Dolloff is Executive Vice President of Client Relations at Liventus. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.