What should a search box be like to provide a successful e-commerce site?

Jan 03, 2017
What should a search box be like to provide a successful e-commerce site?

We have previously described 10 reasons why visitors leave your e-commerce site without buying anything. The ease of searching on a website is also one of the factors that affect the time visitors linger on small online shops, and on giant online stores as well. The wider range of goods you have, the more important is not to get lost and to find exactly what is needed.

In the supermarket, people can ask sales associates where a specific product is. In e-commerce, they appeal to a search box. If no result is found, then it’s like the online store says: "No, we don’t sell this." Then the user goes to another site. In fact, the product may be available, but people may use a different name, use synonyms, jargon, misspelled word, or have other inaccuracies in their requests. To avoid such misunderstandings, which directly affect your sales rates, we decided to tell you more about how to build an effective search.

7 ways to optimize search box on your e-commerce site

  • Appearance

A line should be long enough so that users can see all words. If they type many characteristics of the product, they must be able to notice mistakes or misprints and correct them if it’s necessary.

Use default text in the search box. It encourages and helps users to formulate their thoughts, explaining ways they can search. For example, you can put something like “search for keywords, brand or product,” as Tesco did. This British multinational grocery retailer allows their customers to search even by product code from a catalog, and also by locality to find the nearest store. Don’t forget to make this default text recede automatically after clicking on the field. Making users erase it every time they want to type is irritating and time-consuming.

  • Location

Your site visitors should be able to find the search bar quickly after skimming around the page. Most e-commerce websites put it on the top of the page, above or under the main navigation bar. This is an effective practice, as the visitors got used to this, and expect to find it there.

Place a site search box on every page. The visitors will be annoyed if they need to go back to the home page every time. The one exception may be a pay desk, in order not to distract those who have already made up their minds and want to complete their purchases.

  • Speed

We have previously explained why page speed is important for visitors and for SEO. The quicker you deliver search results, the lower shopping cart abandonment rates will be. To achieve this you may get more memory, find a bigger server, or find an effective cloud-based host.

  • Interpretation

A good site should not only recognize what customers type, but also understand what they mean by that. It should consider misspellings, omitting hyphens and other symbols. It should apprehend abbreviations, full forms and synonyms as the same thing. So, if no exact match found, then suggest related products that have similar functions. Maybe it will turn out to be a better solution than the buyers were expecting.

An outsource web design and development company Eyecatchy Design conducted a large-scale study this year, testing major online shops. They found out that 70% of e-commerce sites demand that users use the exact jargon that the site uses. Consequently, they don’t treat, for example, “blow dryer” and “hair dryer,” or “multifunction printer” and “all-in-one printer” as the same products. 18% of sites failed to give useful search results when just a single character was typed incorrect in the product’s name.

  • Auto-completion

Predict what the users want to type next. Be quicker than their fingers, and offer possible continuations. It will save time and provide a positive user experiences. This will also assure users that they are not the only ones who are looking for this query. According to the same investigation held by Eyecatchy Design’s team, auto-complete suggestions were found on 82% of e-commerce sites.

  • Filtering

The more users specify their requests, the more relevant the results will be. Give a possibility to point to more parameters to narrow the search. It may be filtering by product category, by brand, by price (a range from the largest to the smallest values), by size, color, gender for clothes, etc.

  • No results found

In case of zero results found in a search, it’s a good idea to explain possible reasons for it and to provide suggestions about what users should do next in this situation. For example, give advice what to check, how to improve the search term and encourage them to try again. You may also recommend they use a filter or to press a special button if any questions arise.

We hope this information will help you analyze the effectiveness of the search bar on your site. Consult Drudesk experts if you need to create online store from scratch or design and improve search bar on your existing website for easy information searching among all the content.

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