Are you running an online shop, but you’re not satisfied with your revenue? One of the reasons your potential customers are not buying is that they may have problems finding products they are interested in. Help them by powering your e-commerce product search engine with the most popular technologies and solutions. Read more here.
There are two types of e-commerce website visitors: browsers and searchers. For the first group of clients, shopping is an entertainment – viewing products is fun for them. They often don’t look for something specific. Searchers, on the other hand, usually know well what they want to buy. Of course, they can also dive into one of the categories and scroll from time to time, but they mostly use the site search tool in order to find products they need. There are many available e-commerce search solutions, as well as multiple good practices that you should follow when providing your users with such a tool.
What is a Site Search Solution and why do you need it on your e-commerce website?
E-commerce site search solutions are special e-commerce search engines that allow users to search for stuff in your online shop. Such a tool can be built-in or integrated into your online store. If you don’t have one, it is never too late to invest in it. This solution matches the user’s search keywords with the actual offers on your website.
People that search for specific products are most likely to convert, that is why you have to do everything you can to provide them with search results that will satisfy them. It is all about user experience. Imagine that you are shopping in a real, physical shop. If you are looking for a specific thing, you can ask a salesperson for help , and they will show you adequate products and tell you more about them. On a shopping website, customers are on their own and site search tools should play the role of an experienced assistant, who knows where clients will find what they are looking for.
Best practices for leveraging e-commerce site search solutions on your website
Check out what the best practices you should follow, when designing your own e-commerce site search solution.
1. Make the search box more visible
Some people don’t want to waste their time, and they look for the site search tool immediately after landing on your website. If they are unable to find a search box, they can get frustrated very fast and abandon your online shop seconds after visiting it. This way, you can not only lose a potential customer, but you also leave the user with a bad experience of interacting with your brand. E-commerce site search tools are usually placed on top of the page, so users will spot them at the very beginning of their journey on your website. Remember to make yours big enough on the mobile version of your online shop, so users will feel comfortable while using it.
2. Offer autosuggestions
Have you noticed how Google suggests your intended question every time you want to look for some information? Many companies in the e-commerce sector leverage this feature to simplify and speed up search. Offering autosuggestions means that your customers don’t waste time wondering how to describe a product, but they can just choose whichever suggestion best matches what they have in mind.
3. Enable filtering and sorting
Many online shops offer such a variety and number of products that a customer could spend days viewing just one category. Having a choice is a nice thing, but not every search result will suit your customer’s expectations. Endless scrolling can be disappointing for your users, especially if they don’t find what they like. Additionally, remember that people like to have a choice, but they also don’t want it to be too wide – the decision-making process consumes a lot of energy. Let your users filter results based on their preferences (size, color, functionalities, price, etc.). You should also add a sorting option, so your potential customers can view offers in some order (not randomly), for example from the newest offers or the cheapest ones. That will shorten the shopping process and increase sales.
4. Provide product recommendations
Human memory isn’t perfect – we forget stuff. Ask yourself how many times you’ve forgotten to pick something up when you’ve gone shopping. Recommendations can be based on user behavior (the browsing or buying history), preferences and the context of the search (context-based recommendation engines model users’ preferences by analyzing changing contexts that may affect users’ moods and tastes). A feature like this just suggests to your potential customers what they might be interested in. This is not really an e-commerce site search solution, but it complements them.
5. Use Natural Language Processing
Sometimes we might type phrases into a search bar that have little connection to an actual product name, but feel like a natural description to us. When we combine conversational language, dialect differences, more than one acceptable way of spelling a word, and colloquialisms, a simple e-commerce site search may have a problem providing us with our expected results. Example? Some of us will search for “bottoms”, some for “pants” or some for “trousers”. We mean almost the same thing, but these synonyms might have not been used by the seller. That is a situation where NLP can help.
6. Eliminate zero search results by making your site search tool tolerant of errors
Customers can make typos, or perhaps you simply don’t sell the brand they’ve searched for, but they should never end up with no results at all. Typos, phonetic spelling, word order – they should not be a problem for reliable e-commerce site search solutions. You can start by creating a list of alternative names of each product (or product group) you add to your database. If your customers keep seeing blank pages after unsuccessful a search/searches, before long they will leave your website and check out the competition.
7. Allow searching in only chosen categories
You can let your potential customers apply filtering before they receive results. Many e-commerce websites have a “search only in” option. It simply speeds up the search and positively affects user experience. A huge portion of e-commerce shoppers want to go straight to the products they are interested in. Some specific search options might just improve UX and website/application usability, but they can often be crucial for the company’s success.
8. Give potential customers a quick-view option
No “quick view” option is irritating, especially when one is shopping on a mobile device. Opening new windows to check the offer or – even worse – opening a description of a product in the same window and being forced to scroll through the entire page again kills the entire joy of online shopping. Make sure users can view the product when they stop the cursor on its name or photo.
How can you implement e-commerce search solutions on your shopping website?
Now, how can you get such a multifunctional site search tool? There are many types of e-commerce site search solutions. Some e-commerce CMSs come with in-built search tools, while others allow you to enhance your online shop using special plugins and modules. Certain SaaS solutions can be integrated with your e-commerce platform in order to improve your search tool. Finally, you can invest in a custom solution based on the powerful e-commerce search engine of your choice to provide your users with the best possible user experience. Contact us if you would like to learn more about possible solutions for your e-commerce company.