In today's fast-paced world, online shopping has become increasingly popular, with millions of consumers purchasing products online every day.
However, with so many products available on ecommerce websites, it can be challenging for shoppers to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
In fact, 43% of online shoppers go directly to the search bar to find the products they want to buy. That means for nearly half of your site visitors, the your site search is the most important aspect of your website.
Unfortunately, a significant percentage of these shoppers leave the site without completing their purchase due to the poor search experience.
If you want to lower your bounce rate, increase conversions, and provide a better user experience, it is essential to optimize your on-site search. Here are some best practices to follow:
10 best practices to adapt for your ecommerce site search
Here are 10 of the best ecommerce site search practices that will help you elevate your search performance -
1. Make your search bar prominent
The search bar is the primary entry point for most users on ecommerce websites. A prominent and easy-to-find search bar can lead to increased customer satisfaction, repeat visits, and ultimately, more sales.
Here are some tips to make your search bar prominent -
- Place the search bar at the top of the page and make it easy to find. Don't hide it behind drop-down menus or in a small corner of the site
- Use a magnifying glass icon to indicate the search bar's location. This is a widely recognized symbol for search functionality
- Make the search bar stand out visually. Use contrasting colors, bold text, or animation to draw attention to it
- Optimize the search bar for mobile devices. Make it easy to tap and type, and ensure that it is visible at all times, even when the user scrolls down the page
2. Typo tolerance and synonym handling
One out of every 10 search queries is mispelled, and new words and slang terms for common items are always being invented. This means that without these features, you’re missing out on potential sales opportunities.
Therefore, your search engine should be able to recognize typos and suggest alternative spellings to ensure that users can find the products they are looking for.
Additionally, synonym handling should be implemented to display relevant search results for terms that have similar meanings.
To ensure that typo tolerance and synonym handling are working properly, it is important to test the search function regularly. This can be done by intentionally misspelling words or using different synonyms to see if the search engine recognizes and corrects them.
Example: You may have products tagged "sweater", but a user might search for "jumper" instead. If your search engine is not programmed to recognize "jumper" as a synonym for "sweater," the user may not find the product they are looking for.
3. Advanced filters and facets
Advanced filters and facets are powerful tools that allow customers to refine their search results based on specific attributes, such as price range, color, size, brand, and more.
Customers don’t want to wade through 10,000 items to find the a green pair of running shoes from XYZ brand. Save their time and provide filters that’ll give them the exact results they want. Here are some tips to make the best of filters and facets on your website -
- To make filters and facets even more effective, it is important to use intuitive design and clear labeling. This can include using visual cues, such as color swatches or thumbnail images, to help customers identify the options they want to select.
- Automatically apply filters based on search query. For example, if your user searches for green dress, apply a filter for green and dresses.
4. Visual search (with merchandising banners)
Visual search is a cutting-edge technology that allows users to search for products using images instead of text. With the rise of mobile devices and social media platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok, visual search has become increasingly popular among consumers.
In fact, according to research, 62% of Millennials and Gen Z want visual search capabilities when shopping online.
Visual search can help users find the exact products they're looking for, even if they don't know the name or brand. For example, a user can upload a photo of a dress they saw on Instagram and find similar options on your ecommerce site.
Visual search can also be combined with merchandising banners, which are product recommendations that appear at the top of search results. By using visual search technology, you can create personalized merchandising banners that show products similar to the ones in the user's uploaded image. This can improve the user's experience by offering a more tailored and relevant selection of products.
Example: ASOS has a visual search feature called style match that allows customers to search for products using their camera. If they see a great item they really love in real life, all they have to do is pop open the ASOS app and they’ll be shown similar products.
5. Boost your sales with AI-powered search merchandising
Search merchandising is a technique used to promote specific products in search results based on their popularity, stock levels, and revenue. By using machine learning algorithms to analyze user behavior, you can optimize search results and promote products that are likely to be of interest to customers.
But that's not all - search merchandising can also be used to dynamically promote specific products or categories based on the customer's search behavior. Imagine a customer who frequently purchases athletic products. When new line of running shoes is released they can be advertised to with a custom banner.
To achieve the full benefits of search merchandising, businesses should follow these tips:
- Use machine learning algorithms to analyze user behavior and optimize search results
- Display promotions or banners for specific products or categories based on search behavior
- Regularly monitor search analytics to track performance and adjust strategies accordingly
6. Dynamic boosts
Dynamic boosting is a technique that allows you to adjust the ranking of search results based on real-time factors such as user behavior, inventory levels, popularity, and promotions. By using dynamic boosting, you can ensure that the most relevant and popular products are displayed at the top of search results, increasing the likelihood of customer engagement and sales.
Here are some tips to achieve dynamic boosting on your ecommerce site -
- Monitor inventory levels, promotions, and popularity to ensure that search results accurately reflect real-time factors
- Promote products that are currently on sale or part of a promotional campaign
7. Master the art of mobile optimization
Mobile optimization is critical for ecommerce websites as half of all internet traffic is through mobile – and the percentage is only moving upwards.
Additionally, it is important to personalize the search experience for mobile users. Consider how mobile users interact with your site and how their search behavior may differ from desktop users. For example, mobile users may be more likely to use voice search or prefer visual search options.
Here are some tips to help you master the art of mobile search optimization -
- Use predictive text, filters, and faceted search to optimize the mobile search experience for users
- Ensure that your search function is easy to find and use by implementing responsive design
- Adapt the search results to fit smaller screens to enhance the user experience
- Personalize the search experience for mobile users by leveraging mobile-specific features such as voice search and visual search options
- Optimize your mobile search function for speed, as slow load times can significantly impact user experience and lead to a decrease in conversions
- Use geolocation to provide more personalized and relevant search results
8. Personalized recommendations
Personalized recommendations are an effective way to increase customer engagement and loyalty. By using AI and ML algorithms to analyze user behavior, you can recommend products that are likely to be of interest to each user.
Here are some tips to help you implement personalized recommendations for your ecommerce site search -
- Offer personalized search results based on a user's location, language, and other demographic factors
- Make it easy for users to customize their search preferences and view their past search history. For example, allow them to ‘thumbs down’ or ‘thumbs up’ recommendations
9. A/B test your site for search performance
A/B testing is a statistical approach used to evaluate two or more variants of a web page or app to determine which one performs better in terms of search engine optimization
To begin an A/B test for your website's search performance, first, define the objective you want to achieve. This can be increasing click-through rate (CTR), time spent on the page, or reducing bounce rates. Next, select the page or pages you want to test and the search terms you want to rank for.
Once you have defined your objectives and chosen the pages, set up the A/B test by creating two versions of the page or pages you want to test. These versions should differ in the elements that you believe may impact your search performance. This can include the title tags, meta descriptions, content, and other on-page elements.
Finally, measure the performance of the two versions of your page or pages. This can be done by analyzing the changes in CTR, time spent on the page, and other metrics. Once you have gathered sufficient data, choose the version of the page that performed the best and implement it as the new page.
To ensure the success of your A/B test, consider the following tips -
- Ensure that you have enough data before making a decision. You should aim for a statistically significant sample size to ensure that your results are valid
- Test one variable at a time to determine the specific element that impacts your search performance the most
- Use tools such as Google Analytics to track your performance metrics and measure the effectiveness of your A/B test
- Continue to monitor your site's performance after implementing the changes to ensure that they are sustainable over time
10. Go beyond product search
When it comes to optimizing your website's search functionality, it's important to think beyond just product search. Providing a comprehensive search experience for your users can improve their overall satisfaction and increase the likelihood of conversions.
One approach to achieving this is by implementing a whole-site search function. This means allowing users to search not only for specific products but also for content throughout your entire website, such as blog posts or FAQ pages.
Doing so creates a more user-friendly experience that enables users to find the information they need quickly and easily. For example, Sephora, a popular beauty retailer, has a community section that allows customers to search for common questions, share everyday looks, videos, and other content related to beauty.
By following the best practices discussed in this blog post, you can optimize their search experience, making it easier for users to find the products they want quickly and easily.
It is essential to keep in mind that search technology is continuously evolving, and ecommerce businesses need to keep up with the latest trends and innovations to stay ahead of the competition.
With Zevi, you can invest in a dynamic search solution that will propel your ecommerce site to the front of the industry
As an AI-powered search platform, Zevi's cutting-edge algorithms are specifically designed to deliver the most relevant results, even for the most complex search queries. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from using Zevi:
- Improved search relevance and accuracy
- Enhanced product discoverability and visibility
- Personalized search results based on user behavior and preferences
- Advanced analytics and reporting to help you optimize your search performance