A staggering 70% of ecommerce sites suffer from subpar search capabilities, as reported by the Baymard Institute. This is worrisome, considering modern customers expect seamless and efficient product search experiences.
In this article, we'll explore common search pitfalls and share valuable insights, real-life examples, and data-driven strategies to help you transform your online store's search experience into a customer-pleasing powerhouse. Ready to level up? Let's get started!
5 Search Mistakes to Spot and How to Tackle Them
An efficient product search experience can make or break an online store. In this section, we will delve into five prevalent search mistakes and provide practical solutions to help you understand the impact of these issues and the effectiveness of the recommended fixes.
1. Relying on keyword-based search functionality
Many ecommerce websites still rely on basic keyword-based search functionality, which can lead to inaccurate search results, difficulty finding the desired product, and, ultimately, lost sales. For instance, a customer searching for "running shoes" might miss out on relevant products tagged as "athletic footwear" due to the reliance on exact keyword matches.
How to fix it:
- Implement an intelligent search functionality incorporating autocomplete (predictive search), synonym detection and accounting for similar terms (neural search), and typo tolerance and spelling error handling.
- Implement natural language processing (NLP) to understand the context and meaning behind customer queries.
- Leverage machine learning algorithms to adapt and improve search results based on customer interactions and patterns.
- Apply filters and faceted search options to help users narrow their search and find relevant products more efficiently.
For instance, online fashion retailer ASOS improved its search functionality by implementing a more intelligent search engine that recognizes synonyms, related terms, and common misspellings. As a result, the company saw a 50% reduction in failed searches and significantly increase conversions.
2. Not tracking and using customer data
When customers search for products on your site, they provide valuable data to help you improve their experience and drive conversions. However, suppose you're not tracking and using this data. In that case, you must take advantage of a valuable opportunity to enhance search relevance and discovery.
How to fix it:
- Understand user intent, track search behavior and patterns, and use product data and other customers' data to re-rank products based on relevance.
- Implement analytics tools to gather and analyze customer search data, including popular search terms, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
- Segment your audience and create customer personas to better understand their preferences, needs, and search behavior.
- Use A/B testing to experiment with different search algorithms, layouts, and features to determine which configurations yield the best results.
Take inspiration from Amazon! Amazon utilizes customer data and search behavior analysis to continually refine its search algorithms and product ranking. This data-driven approach has helped Amazon maintain an industry-leading conversion rate of around 13% for non-Prime members and a staggering 74% for Prime members.
3. Poor navigation and browsing experience
A clunky navigation and browsing experience can quickly deter potential customers from exploring your site further. To provide a seamless browsing experience, consider the following fixes:
- Deliver an intuitive navigation experience across channels and devices, use breadcrumbs, make your site mobile-friendly, and keep the search box prominent and accessible.
- Implement clear and descriptive category labels and menu items to help users quickly navigate your site.
- Utilize a mega menu for larger websites with numerous categories and subcategories, allowing users to see more options at a glance.
- Offer a persistent search bar that remains visible as users scroll through your site, ensuring they always have access to the search function.
IKEA revamped its website navigation by implementing a more user-friendly menu system, incorporating breadcrumbs, and optimizing for mobile devices. As a result, IKEA experienced a 7% increase in online sales and a 30% increase in mobile conversion rates.
4. Downplaying the importance of product recommendations
Product recommendations play a vital role in guiding customers toward making a purchase. By leveraging data-driven recommendations, ecommerce websites can significantly improve their conversion rates.
How to fix it:
- Use data to personalize product recommendations, recommend products throughout your website and at different stages of the buyer journey, and display items based on other users' site search data.
- Incorporate collaborative filtering, which uses the behavior of similar users to suggest relevant products.
- Utilize content-based filtering, which recommends products based on the attributes of the items the user has previously interacted with or purchased.
- Test different product recommendation layouts and placements to determine which configurations drive the most engagement and conversions.
5. Ignoring/subjecting users to no-results pages
No-results pages can be frustrating for users and may lead them to abandon your site. By addressing this issue and providing alternative options, you can minimize the negative impact of no-results pages.
How to fix it:
- Redirect users to relevant campaigns, collections, or product pages, improve search relevance, personalize the no-results found message, and show results for related keywords.
- Offer related searches or alternative search terms based on user input, helping them explore other relevant products.
- Display popular or best-selling products on no-results pages to keep users engaged and encourage further browsing.
- Implement a search analytics dashboard to identify the most common no-results search queries, allowing you to optimize your product catalog and search algorithms to minimize their occurrence.
An optimized search experience benefits your customers and helps your business thrive in the competitive ecommerce landscape. Remember, the key to success is continually refining your search functionality, leveraging customer data, and creating a seamless browsing experience. By doing so, you'll be well on your way to maximizing your online store's potential.
Don't wait any longer; start improving your product search today. To see how an intelligent search solution can transform your ecommerce site, we invite you to try out Zevi's demo and experience the difference for yourself.