Website search is an integral part of any business plan in 2021. Some eCommerce businesses look at site search as an added functionality and tend to ignore it till the site is deployed and running. They do not pay any attention to integrating the little bar with a magnifying glass on it without realizing that it might cost them a lot of extra money.
Here are some of the main reasons why site search needs to be a focal point for business growth strategies in 2021:
Up to 30% of users tend to use the search box if it is visible and accessible.
Site Search users convert 1.8 times better and account for a large amount of business revenue.
Users are 45% less likely to visit your website for the second time if they search for something and do not find it.
Every study related to site search comes back with consistent results; they are:
Site Search users account for a massive portion of all online revenue. People who use the site search functionality might be a minority, but they statistically spend more money on your website. Targeting these customers, in particular, will help you grow your revenue and increase your business. Providing a better and comfortable user experience for searching items or services on your website will help you enhance your website functionalities and provide you with the path to success in 2021.
Here are 12 essential strategies for you to deploy to boost your site search function.
Setting up redirects
Customers often search for vague queries in the site search looking for perfect products. How can you help them? There are even customers who directly search for a brand name in the search box too.
For all these customers, redirect is the best weapon in your arsenal to use and help them find exactly what they are looking for.
You can easily set up a redirect in your website to move customers searching brand names to the specific brand page. The customer who searches for Adidas can be moved to an Adidas page showcasing all the Adidas products that include sports gear, footwear, or hats & caps. Analyzing your search data will provide you with the most common search terms, and you can consider a redirect according to your convenience.
Redirect provides you with an opportunity to move shoppers from a preliminary search result to specific pages of interest. Tailoring these pages will provide you with the upper hand and a decisive sales edge.
The Best Box
When it comes to search boxes, the more significant is the best. Make your search box big enough to fit an entire search term on display. There should be room for a minimum of 30 characters. This prevents the search term from being shortened, making their searches prominent and enhances the search experience.
Once the search term has been entered, retain it there. Tools such as autocomplete or synonym search should not remove the original term once the site starts searching for the term. When the original; search term is still visible in the box, the customer can start their search again if they do not find the desired results. They could add other terms to the search query themselves without having to retype the whole search terms with alterations saving time and improving a customer\’s experience on the website.
Retaining the original search term is like providing a checkpoint in thier search venture. They have a point to come back to once they are confused, lost, or uncertain of their requirements.
Ecommerce portals have extensive catalogs that require some limit of filtering for their customers. This is because the wide choice of offers they provide the customers is enormous for any customer to process.
The choice of utilizing filters on your website brings you a few options:
- Site filters are applied to the whole website with a wide variety of products. The website uses only one filter at a time.
- Faceted navigations on websites use product features like filters to make customer searches easier.
- Faceted searches and filtering products create a filter based on search terms that the shopper can choose according to convenience.
Faceted search and filtering are the easiest and most effective way to customize the filter according to a shopper\’s shopping intent. It is as close to reading a customers\’ mind you can get. Researching about faceted terms can help you choose the best filters and set them up with great options and when to stop using facets for search filtering.
Show off your Search Bar
Providing the customer with a hidden or small search bar makes the customer search the website like a map for buried treasure before they can actually start searching for what they are looking for. Like a search before a search, this tactic of integrating search bars is just an example of poor user experience. A poor user experience on your website will provoke customers just to leave your website and go somewhere else looking for what they want and complete their transactions there.
Make your search bar visible. Make it big and put it in the top middle portion of your website for better visibility. Give it a color contrasting the website background color as it stands out with prominence. Add some sample text or a clear message for the shoppers to opt for it and design your user interface around the search bar. Although a search bar does not take up the whole page, it should be prominently visible and accessible. It would help if you placed the search bar so that when a visitor visits your website, they should be able to spot it instantly and move forward to their next successful search as an intent.
Autocomplete is a secret weapon for search bars on any website. It is the best option to save your shoppers time by displaying the most popular suggestions based on their typed characters. When the completed suggestion shows up, customers might even be happy to have to stop typing. This functionality is a game-changer in the case of mobile users, where the typing experience is not as good as typing on keyboards.
The less apparent reason for using autocomplete is to ensure that the customer drops on a product, keyword, or category page. It should eliminate the chances of a \”No result\” page display at the end of the search as it creates a dead end for visitors to your website.
Implementing a great autocomplete requires you to keep a few things in mind:
- Limit the number of suggestions to avoid a visual cluster on small screens or mobile devices.
- Avoid the use of scroll bars and keep the search suggestions relevant to the query.
- Display the original search term or the suggestions correctly.
Optimizing Product Images and Descriptions
Although reading is fast, visual input is much faster. Using images can help customers find what they are looking for faster than usual. Optimizing the product description means to provide useful data using important words while avoiding unnecessary words. Using the search data, find the most relevant terms that lead to results and purchases. Incorporate those words into the product description, especially in the beginning, to find the best matches.
Secondly, while adding thumbnails to the information, make sure that they are of the same size, style, and background color to streamline the shopper\’s search intents.
Lastly, add thumbnails to the product suggestions in your autocomplete option to provide the shoppers with a better experience and seamless shopping. It would save time and effort on both sides.
Use Pagination for results.
What is the best way to present search results to shoppers? Use Pagination.
Here are a few ways to utilize paginations (splitting products list into two pages):
- Traditional pagination display one page after another of the search results. Customers are free to jump from one page to another without having to scroll through all the pages. They can jump from page 3 to page 22 without having to go through the 18 pages in between.
- Infinite scrolling is like a search result page similar to Facebook feeds. The more you scroll, the more results get loaded for you.
- The best option is to add the \”load more results\” option. Customers can browse the first page and choose to load more results if required.
Utilizing one of the three above techniques is the best way to make your search results more manageable for your customers.
On a personal note, the best choice for pagination is probably the \”load more\” button option. This makes navigation through search results more comfortable, allowing customers not to confront a small set of numbers to click on to move on to the next page; it can be hectic. It is also better than infinite scrolling as it encourages customers to consider the results of their current page more intensely before moving on to the next.
When a shopper starts to type in a search box, allow them to add categories to search options. This helps the shoppers to narrow down the results before they finish their search intent.
An example of the categorizing of search intents is a shopper typing a query into a clothing website. When the shoppers type in their search query, the search option provides them with categories like Men\’s Women\’s and Children\’s clothes. Each suggestion comes with a definite thumbnail.
From a shopper\’s point of view, this is a simple categorization that saves them time and enhances the shopping experience. They know where they want to go next, any specific category they already have in mind. Additionally, they can explore other options with attractive thumbnails, which in turn increases your sales opportunities.
The most critical aspect of categorizing searches is visual clutter. Limit the number of categories and offer visual depth by darkening the background and highlighting the search. This reduces visual pollution and enhances the information preventing the user from being overwhelmed by too much information or too many choices in an instant.
Better \”No Results\” page
A \’No results\’ page should never be the end of the line for a customer when shopping on your website. You can design better no results pages to provide better engagement for customers. Here are some of the main factors of \’no results\’ page design for customer engagement:
- Always provide the customer with an option to move in another direction from the \’no results\’ page. Allow them to search another term, contact customer service, or anything that is better than leaving your site to go to your competitors.
- If possible, make suggestions. Show the customer similar services or products related to their search query. Use synonym matching and natural language processing or generate better relevant products to improve customer satisfaction.
- Use a language that takes responsibility. Inste4ad of blaming the customer with an essential \”your search did not produce any results…\” use a positive and apologetic tone like, \”We are sorry, we did not find what you are looking for. Are you interested in (synonym)?\”
Using these key elements while designing the \”No results\” page will keep customers engaged and continue shopping.
Check Your Data
Site search is the best option for you to read customers\’ minds. They are telling you what they want, over and over again, but without proper analytical reporting, you will never know.
Use your site search analytics to get a proper insight into what your customers are looking for, what they want, and what they are interested in.
For example, analytics should provide you with information regarding the most common search terms and which products have the highest sales. Depending on this information, you can alter the search results for the most common search mapping and collaborate them with the most clicked products.
Additionally, your analytics will show you the bounce rates for various products. When you find a product with a high bounce rate, exclude that product from your search results list to reduce complexities.
These are only two examples of things you can do with your analytical data. Use your data to show yourself what your customers want and then give them more of it. When you know what the customers do not want, stop displaying that and show them something instead.
Prices and Reviews
Reviews and pricing are two of the most important and influencing aspects people look for when purchasing. Use them in your search results or in your search suggestions in the search box to provide the customers with a fast decision-making option.
Showing prices is not about the race. Customers do not always choose the cheapest option. Showing prices help the customer understand the value of different items and compare similar items likewise. Once they grasp the price range idea, customers can choose the products that match their desired budget.
Reviews are the second most crucial factor when shopping online. They are equivalent to a friend\’s recommendation. They provide social proof of authenticity for products on an online platform. Showing reviews during the search process can provide the customers with the best quality products encouraging them to come back again.
No Jargon for Your Consumers
Special characters and plurals words are vital as they demonstrate how healthy your search function is to your customers. Forcing customers to use your words and your jargon makes the search about you and not about your customer\’s choice or benefits. Use a search function that can support all variations your customer can use instead. This will allow the customers a sense of freedom and enhance the customer experience in many ways.
For example, a search result for \’60\” TV\’ should lead to TVs that have a sixty-inch widescreen, and the search results for \’HP\’ and \’Hewlett-Packard\’ should be the same.
The main objective for this is to provide the customers with what they want rather than forcing them to spend time understanding the special characters in your site search to find what they are looking for or what they want to buy.
Site searches could be your big-ticket to a successful 2021. Visitors who search for products convert more and spend more on any website than visitors who do not. So you can build your website and develop a vivid search function to provide all the functionalities to valuable customers.
All site search strategies are driven to a common goal of helping customers find what they are looking for quickly and as fast as possible.