If you're an ecommerce business owner, then you know that a big part of the user experience is the search function. And if your search function isn't working well, then one of the consequences can be a heartbreaking "no search results found".
A no-results page is exactly what it sounds like: a page that is displayed when the user's search doesn't match any of the products in your store. Such a page is usually a dead end because it typically offers no guidance on what to do next. This can be very frustrating for customers who are looking for a specific product or service and cannot find it. This can lead to them leaving your site altogether.
Additionally, a no-results page can also hurt your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Search engines crawl websites based on the links they find, so if there are no-results pages linked to from other parts of your site, your overall rankings could suffer. What’s more, having a no-results page can give the impression that your site is not well-stocked or up-to-date, which could discourage potential customers from ever doing business with you.
Factors that can lead to no search results
A no-results page can be a result of many different issues with your search function or product merchandising, including -
- Incorrect or outdated product information: If you have incorrect or outdated product information on your website, this can lead customers to a no-results page when they try to search for specific products. Make sure that all product information on your site is accurate and up-to-date.
- Lack of relevant products: If you don't have any relevant products on your website, this will likely lead to a no-results page. Make sure to add new products regularly and keep your website's inventory up-to-date.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) issues: If your website has poor SEO, this can lead customers to a no-results page when they try to search for products on your site. Make sure to optimize your website for better search engine visibility.
How to prevent the ‘No search results’ page from hampering the user experience
Provide typo-tolerance search
By using a typo-tolerant site search, also known as "fuzzy matching", you can ensure that users will still be able to find what they're looking for, even if they make a few mistakes. This is because the search function will look for similar words and phrases, instead of just exact matches. For example, if someone was looking for "men's shoes" but typed in "mnes shos", a typo-tolerant search function would return results for "men's shoes" since it is a similar phrase.
When a user types in a query, they may not always use the most accurate or specific terms. As a result, your search engine may not be able to find any matching results for their original query. This can lead to the dreaded ‘no-results’ page, even when you might actually have relevant products to display.
One way to prevent this is by offering an autocomplete feature to help guide users to the right results. Autocomplete can help by suggesting popular or related searches as the user is typing in their query. This can be based on the user's history, popular queries, or both. This way, even if the user isn't quite sure what they're looking for, they can still find what they need.
Show popular products and categories
When shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, you don’t have to resort to displaying a no-results page. Instead, you can use this opportunity to give them alternative options that might interest them. One way to do this is by showing popular products and categories on your no-results pages.
For example, let’s say a shopper is looking for a pair of jeans on your website but can’t find any that meet their criteria. You could offer them category suggestions such as ‘women’s jeans’, ‘men’s jeans’, or ‘kids jeans’, or show them the most popular jeans on your store. This gives the shopper alternative options to choose from and helps prevent them from leaving your website empty-handed, or worse, disappointed.
Provide alternative suggestions
If you really must display the no-results page, it is important to not leave the user hanging. Don't just say "No results found" - try to be more specific and offer suggestions for what the customer can do next. For example, you could say something like "We couldn't find what you're looking for but we have other great options."
Offer best-selling and personalized product recommendations
By providing product recommendations on the ‘no-results’ page, you'll be able to increase the chances that visitors will find what they're looking for on your site and make a purchase. To provide personalized product recommendations, you can use data from your customers' past purchases, browsing history, and search queries. This data can be used to create customized recommendation algorithms that will show your visitors products that they're more likely to be interested in.
In addition to personalization, it's also important to showcase best-selling items on your no-results pages. These are the items that are most popular with your customers and are more likely to sell well. To make sure your product recommendations are as effective as possible, only recommend products that are relevant to the search query. There’s no point in recommending products that aren’t related to what the visitor is looking for.
Provide your customer service number, a chat option and links to articles
If you don't have any results to show your visitors, make sure you display your customer service contact information prominently on the page. This way, visitors can get in touch with someone who can help them find what they're looking for.
Make sure the customer service contact information is easily accessible and easy to understand. Include a phone number, email address, and/or live chat option. Also, provide a brief description of the type of assistance your customer service team can provide.
By making it easy for visitors to get in touch with customer service, you'll increase the chances of converting them into customers
Don’t let ‘no search results’ kill conversions
While it may seem like a minor detail, optimizing the no-results page can have a big impact on your bottom line. A well-optimized no-results page can be the difference between a customer bouncing from your site, and a customer finding what they need and becoming a convert.
One of the most impactful ways to optimize it is by powering your site search with AI, including autocomplete, filters, or synonym and typo tolerance. With platforms like Zevi, it’s possible to create a powerful site search engine that will elevate your customers’ search and shopping experience.