Customer loyalty is one of the holy grails of modern ecommerce. Given that it takes a fair bit of money and effort to get netizens to visit your online store, it makes a lot of business sense to ensure that those who visit your store get the best experience they can: this will serve to maximize the chances of them coming back, buying more and telling all their friends about your store.
And how exactly do you improve the in-store experience of your potential customers? Well, almost every single aspect of your store, including its name and logo, the products you sell, the store layout, and the checkout process can be optimized in such a way as to make your customers’ journey smoother. However, in this article, we’re going to focus on an extremely important but sometimes-neglected aspect of online stores: site search.
The reason site search is important is because typically, people who use it already have a good idea of what they want to buy: in ecommerce-speak, they have a ‘high purchase intent’. This means that laying out the red carpet for search users is an excellent way to improve your chances of a conversion. Let’s learn more about which site search features you should aim to incorporate into your store in order to delight your customers, and hence build long-term loyalty.
How does a great search experience lead to higher customer loyalty?
Fundamentally, there are two key ways to ensure a great site search experience: reduce your visitors’ cognitive load, and make sure your search engine provides highly relevant results. If your site search engine can take care of these two aspects, then your store will enjoy the following advantages:
- Lower bounce rate: When shoppers are able to find what they're looking for with minimal friction, they're more likely to stick around and continue using your site.. A great search experience keeps potential customers hooked and browsing.
- Higher conversions: By providing highly relevant results and displaying personalized product recommendations, the chances of a visitor spotting something they like goes up, which also increases the chances of them making a purchase.
- Greater customer satisfaction: If the journey from search query to checkout is seamless and intuitive, customers are left with the belief that their purchase was a good decision, and that your store is an excellent place to shop at.
- Higher sales and revenues: Ultimately, all of the foregoing translates into greater order volumes or higher average order values for your store, both of which should result in greater revenue (and hopefully profits!).
7 important ecommerce search features that can improve visitor loyalty
1. Typo tolerance and query suggestions
Typo tolerance helps minimize the risk of a user making a spelling mistake when entering their query. It allows the search engine to recognize words that are similar to the one entered by the user, and displays results for those words as well.
Query suggestion is another useful feature that can help users find what they are looking for faster. It suggests related queries based on what the user has already entered, helping them refine their search in a more efficient way. Both of these features have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they make searching more accurate and convenient for users.
Synonym-handling is an important part of effective site search. By adding lists of synonyms to your search engine, you can help users find the right product or service by allowing them to use alternative words or phrases that might be more natural for them. Additionally, using synonyms in search engines can help to reduce the number of irrelevant results that a user might get when they make a query on your website. This will ultimately improve the user experience and help them find what they need faster.
3. Filters and facets
Filters and facets are two powerful tools that give store visitors more control over what a search engine looks for. Filters allow users to specify broader criteria for their searches, such as particular brands or colors. Facets, on the other hand, provide category-specific or brand-specific criteria (e.g. the amount of RAM will be relevant to a laptop but not a pair of shoes) giving visitors extremely fine-grained control.
When used together, filters and facets improve the overall user experience of a website by making it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for in fewer clicks.
4. Proper ‘no-results’ page handling
When users type in a query, they expect to see relevant results. But sometimes, there are no results for their query. In such a case, it is important for your store to handle the "no-results" page properly.
A no-results page should provide helpful suggestions and tips on how to refine their search query, as well as displaying related content that might be useful for the user. It is also important to ensure that the no-results page does not look too empty or barren; by including design elements such as images or videos, you can make sure that users will stay engaged even if they don't find what they were looking for initially.
5. Search intent comprehension
Search intent comprehension makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the context and intent behind a user’s search query, and to then provide results that are relevant to the query. Done right, this sort of understanding can seem almost magical to a user, as if the search engine is reading their mind.
In addition, understanding search intent also helps companies understand their customers better so they can tailor their products and content to meet their needs.
6. Product boosts
Site search can be used to increase the visibility of specific products on a store. For instance, certain products can be prioritized over others in the search results, ensuring that customers can find them slightly more easily. The best part is that product boosts can be customized to target specific keywords, categories or product types, and can even be used to boost sales by increasing the visibility of special offers and promotions.
7. Voice search
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular as a way to quickly and easily find information online. As a result, many websites and mobile apps are now incorporating voice search into their site search capabilities. With voice search, users can simply state what they are looking for, and the website will provide the most relevant results.
Thus, store visitors can find the products they need without having to type out their query in full. Incorporating voice search capabilities also makes it easier for online store owners to optimize their content for voice searches, so that their website is more likely to appear in the top results when someone uses a voice search engine.
Turn your customers into ardent supporters
Thus, it should be clear that by using a powerful site search that has the right kinds of features, you can make your existing customers much happier, and can ensure that first-time visitors end up becoming loyal customers as well as evangelists for your brand.
If you’re looking for a search engine that gives your ecommerce store an edge, look no further than Zevi. Zevi uses AI to understand users’ search intent and produce highly relevant results. Try our Shopify App, or reach out to us today for a free demo!