eCommerce site search best practises

Posted on December 31, 2016 by


In the last 5 years of building various companies and products in the eCommerce vertical, great Site Search experience has been a driving force to build engagement, conversion and revenues. But this is not always the case when done incorrectly. In a time when leading retailers push Site Search as a primary call to action on the home page, there are others who have hidden their search bar or made it almost invisible due to bad experience that negatively impacted engagement, conversion and revenues. So what factors help deliver great search experience? Here are some of the basic requirements you need to consider when building or buying a product aimed to deliver the best site search experience. Interested already – Sign up now.

If you intend to have a Search solution that does not rely of visitor engagement analytics, our recommendation is that you should probably use an open source solution like SOLR, Elastic search etc, and configure it properly. An intelligent search product is expected to not only show relevant results (SOLR can do that), but also use analytics to sort it based on what may convert best for the entire site, for a certain region or for a certain individual. If all you need is to show relevant results, please do not waste money on buying a product, Sign up now and ask for FREE search from Tagalys. You will love it.

THE SITE SEARCH JOURNEY

1. POPULAR SEARCHES

A great start to the site search experience is to load the popular searches that were conducted in period X for that retailer when a visitor clicks on the search bar. This is scheduled to load before the visitor starts to type something, cause predictive suggestions are expected to be generated from the point of query entry.

Popular searches are a good engagement feature as they are indicative of what searches have been trending in the site. This can be client configurable to decide the variables that decide what popular searches to show the visitors, as each client is unique from the other. It is imperative to ensure that clicking on a popular search does not lead to a page with no results, hence the assumptions that lead to determining that should be collected from the retailer. This requires search analytics to be installed and running and frequency Y to generate the searches. Interested – Sign up now.

popular searches

popular searches

2. RECENT SEARCHES

Recent searches is a simple feature that eases search experience for online visitors. Most visitors take more than one visit to complete their purchase. Search queries are repeated by visitors to continue finding what they seek to buy. Recent searches feature, saves visitors time and lowers friction as all they need to do is click on what was recently searched vs. having to type the same query each time they visit. This feature does not require analytics and is actively used in all leading ecommerce sites as its saves visitors a lot of effort especially in mobile devices. Interested – Sign up now.

recent searches

recent searches

3. SEARCH SUGGESTIONS

Search suggestions are expected to be predictive (fill as you type), to help visitors quickly find the relevant suggestion, without having the type the complete search query. Find more details on the requirements in another article we wrote targeting Magento, but the same principle works here.  Interested – Sign up now.

4.SEARCH RESULTS

The result of the Site Search journey is to find relevant, trending or personally relevant results to help visitors quickly find what they seek. Incorrect search results are blasphemy in the world of search experience, hence we will assume results shown are accurate.  Interested – Sign up now.

The disadvantage of using  open source search like SOLR is that analytics are not considered in results. Hence your visitors may not find the most relevant results in the top pages. Now how often do you visit page 2, 3 or 4 on search results in Google? Probably never. This coupled with the fact that mobile devices show 2 or 4 product per page scroll, make it important for the retailer to show what is relevant to each user right on top. If not, this will definitely lower your conversion rate. While you may cost by using open source, you will lose far more in revenue by not using intelligent or personalized search.  Interested – Sign up now.

5. FILTERS

Now that you have your visitors engaged with the right search results, you need to help them drill down. Most of them do not have time to keep scrolling and if they do, there is a high probability they will get distracted and stop the process. YOU LOSE A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER.

Make sure you have the right filters or facets for the search results displayed. Showing all available filters for all search queries is amateur and makes your business look very unprofessional. E.g., Having “Shoe type” shown as a filter when ‘Dresses” have been selected from the filters.

Make sure tags displayed within the filters are dynamic, to only show tags that have minimum results. You do not want your visitors running into dead ends, they will leave your site and shop elsewhere.  Interested – Sign up now.

6. SORT OPTIONS

Decide upfront what are the various sort options required for your visitor profile. Having too many might confuse them and too little gives them minimal options to choose from. Some of the options are sort by

  1. Relevance (Simple or personalized)
  2. Price – Ascending
  3. Price – Descending
  4. Name – Ascending
  5. Discount – Descending
  6. New Arrivals
  7. Popularity
  8. Best Sellers
  9. Most Viewed
  10. Highest rated
  11. Trending

7. SEARCH BAR

A well defined search bar is critical to get your visitors to want to search. You may have invested in search technology, but without a clear call to action for search, NONE of the above intended actions from your visitors will ever materialize. There is enough data to prove that search is a low cost high revenue driver. If search experience is not delivering a higher conversion rate vs. regular listing pages, it is not because your visitors do not want search, it is because the above features have NOT been configured properly in your search experience that is being delivered to your visitors.  Interested – Sign up now.

screenshot-2016-12-31-14-33-29jpg

 

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Posted in eCommerce Site Search
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