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Are you tapping into the full scope of your search?

On-site search is a key component of almost any ecommerce website and despite the stakes of ecommerce search being high, most ecommerce stores get it wrong. This leads to a loss of sales and a customer most likely to leave your site and search for the next best alternative.

Product search-ability is a key factor to the success of an ecommerce store, resulting in increased customer conversion, greater online revenue, more return customers, and increased Purchase Order Value (POV). Because many consumers prefer searching for products over category selection – filtering, recognizing popular queries, doing spell check and auto suggestion are just some of the features essential to providing a fast, convenient and efficient search.

It is important that an ecommerce business determine the features needed from their ecommerce search solution, and develop a consumer roadmap to offer a superior search experience for their visitors.

What search logic should you provide?
  • Thematic search, where the user puts a concept or usage style into their search to more accurately define what they seek (“living room rug”, or “cold weather jacket”)
  • Feature search, when a user includes one or more product features in their search in an effort to more accurately define what they are looking for (“red knit sweater”)
  • Relational search, where the user will use an entity related to the items they are looking for, such as an author, music artist, actor, etc. (“George Clooney movies” or “Katy Perry songs”)
  • Symptom search, where the user will search based on a problem or experienced symptom (“medicine for itchy skin” or “rug stain remover”)
Develop comprehensive usability guidelines for your ecommerce search design.
  • Appearance 
    To a large extent user’s see the prominence of the search field as an indicator of how strongly the site “recommends” search as a way to find products, versus the alternative of navigating categories via the site menus. The prominence of the search therefore influences the user’s likelihood of adopting search as their primary product finding strategy.
  • Avoid zero results pages
    This can be avoided easily by using autocomplete and autocorrect, which ensures that customers enter a relevant search to begin with. Or provide a list of similar alternatives for the consumer to choose from. A zero results page should always be avoided.
  • Show non-product results 
    Consumers aren’t always searching for products. They may be looking for customer services, articles or perhaps how-to guides. Thus it is important to include the full spectrum of what your website has to offer within your search.
  • Allow users to choose the way results are displayed
    Allowing the user to select how they want their results to be displayed (List or grid view) allows them to tailor their own search results.
  • Filtering options
    Probably the most essential feature. Users need to be able to narrow down their searches using a variety of filtering options.
    These might include: Product category, Price range, Size, Colour, Brand, Reviews & ratings etc
  • Sorting options
    Sorting options allow the user to change the order of search results so they can view the most relevant results first.  This may be by price, showing the cheapest or more expensive first, or ordering results by relevance to the search query.
  • Personalize default search scope
    Using a logged-in state, shopping history or other indicators it is possible to use profile information to personalize search results.

Users of site search are more likely to convert than the average user, so ecommerce sites should strive to produce the best possible experience.

Is your ecommerce site using search as one of the main methods your customers can easily find the products they want to buy? Give us a call or email us at grow@vanedigital.com to help you improve your search scope.

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Paula Gries

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