This article aims to provide some insights into the importance of search functionality for ecommerce sites and how companies can enhance this feature of their website to increase customer queries and ultimately boost conversions. As you might know, a search box is a rectangular bar found on many websites, especially e-commerce ones, that enables users to find what they were looking for when they visit your site. Search bars make it easy for users to search for their desired product from your website in a short time and that is why they are so important for online retailers.
Search bars are unique from the other features of your website such as menu, contact pages or social media links because they do not add any advantage to your site as far as SEO is concerned. They do not help search engines in crawling or indexing your website since search engines cannot search for content by putting them in the search box. Only visitors to your site can use your search box which makes them extremely essential for your business. They save visitors time and effort in finding the things they are looking for.
Research carried out in this field reveals that as much as 30% of the visitors to a website utilize the Search button and by doing so, they are showing a strong intent to buy a particular product. Increased use of the search feature of a website leads to increased chances of customers finding and purchasing their required products, thereby boosting the purchase rate of the website.
Presence & Placement
Studies demonstrate that users who search on an ecommerce site for a product have a higher probability to purchase as opposed to those using the menu. This is because they have arrived at the website with the intention to look for a particular product and know more about its price, availability, delivery charges, etc. The search bar expedites finding the product for users since they don’t have to browse through the entire menu to find the items they want.
In fact, majority of the users are likely to leave the site if they find the search experience too complicated or unhelpful. Studies also show that, on an average, users spend only about 8 seconds to search for something on a particular online store and leave within that time if their search returns zero or irrelevant results.
In order to make the search process convenient for users, ecommerce sites should place the search bar prominently on their website so that it is visible on first glance. It is also important that the search bar is accessible from all the pages of the site. The ideal placement of the search is at the top of the homepage and all other pages, though some sites place it on the right side as well. You can also make the size of the search box bigger if users are typing in long search queries.
The color of the search bar is also vital in making it noticeable on the website. Walmart places its search bar right under the address bar and highlights it in navy blue so that it is immediately visible on their homepage.
Auto-Suggest and Correct
Most users don’t remember the complete name of a product and are likely to search with its common name such as “jogging pants” so it is helpful for them if the search bar suggests options related to that search. The search bar of Amazon does a great job at this where you just have to input a couple of words and the search bar comes up with suggestions related to the query. For instance, if we input “jogging pants” in Amazon website search bar, it completes the phrase by suggesting “jogging pants men”, “jogging pants for women”, “jogging pants for boys” and several more options. This auto-suggest feature of search bars make it faster for users to find what they came looking for.
Another advantage of auto-suggest in search bars is that it minimizes the misspellings of a brand or product name by users. In fact, the search bar should be built with a high tolerance for typos and misspellings and should always come up with results, despite typos and misspellings.
Provide Results & Past Searches
Users are most likely to abandon an ecommerce site and never return to it if they search for some product on the site and it returns zero results. That is why it is crucial for online stores to always provide users with results in response to their search query. If there is no exact match, it is advised to list similar products or product categories. Another option is to list all your departments or all the best sellers of your store in response to the query that otherwise has no matches.
The zero result phenomenon is also very significant for an e-commerce website as it provides the business with valuable insight into the demands of customers. If there are a large number of search queries from users for a particular brand or product and you are not carrying it, you can add it to your stock because you have concrete evidence that customers are asking for it.
You can also give users the option to view past or popular searches on your online store. This can lead you to offer customized results for users. Showing popular searches on your ecommerce site lets users know what is in demand and trending at the moment, so they may also want to check it out.
With the above tips in mind, we hope that you can optimize the search bar of your online store to offer maximum results to your users and obtain a greater increase in conversions. Remember that your site search has to be data-driven and you should test every change before implementation so that it receives maximum conversions. Stay tuned to the next part of this series in which we tell you how to design your Category and Product pages to increase revenues.