Having an optimized site search on your eCommerce store is crucial. High intent customers want to find their desired product immediately. Low intent customers want to be inspired through their search. Site search operates as more than a functionality, it’s a product discovery journey, merchandising opportunity, and way to build customer loyalty.
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Why Is Site Search So Important?
When your site search isn’t fast and effective, you will lose customers immediately. If they know what they are searching for, and your site search doesn’t provide the result, they will simply go to another site to find it. If they receive the dreaded ‘no results’ page, they will not hang around. They will simply bounce to another site; this means the stakes are high.
However, when done well, the capabilities of site search are huge. They can drive conversions, boost engagement and gain valuable business insights. They can create a product discovery journey, convey a message about your brand and delight customers.
Site search can be so much more than text; it can contain images, merchandising rules, be AI driven and take your store to the next level.
Best Practice #1: AI Driven
In the ever developing AI and machine learning world of eCommerce, site search should not be left out. Intelligent search is the new way to meet your customers at a more human level than ever before. Natural Language Processing means that no matter the terms your shoppers use to search for items, their results will still be delivered. It removes the pressure on keyword search for results only being displayed for exact words being used.
Furthering from this, Vector Search means that user intent is vital in retrieving the users desired products. Search is more dynamic, human-centric and intelligent than ever before. Users can interact with search bars almost as they would with a shop assistant. If your site search isn’t yet making the most of these AI capacities, now is the time to start. It can boost your search to a whole new level.
Best Practice #2: Merchandising
Using merchandising in search has been possible for a while. Also known as ‘searchandising’, merchandising in search gives you control of your merchandising strategy throughout all areas of your site. For example, when someone searches ‘shirts’ you can choose which shirts appear first based on your business goals. This could be based on ‘low inventory’, ‘most expensive items’ or ‘most popular items’.
Best Practice #3: Personalization
Just like every area of your eCommerce store, personalization will add benefits to your search. Personalization boosts customer loyalty and satisfaction. By remembering previously selected or viewed items, shoppers will know you value their custom. If you have a saved profile for the customer, you can use stored information to personalize their search. If not, you can create a real time click profile on the customer as they shop.
Personalization is a win-win for both merchant and customer, as the shopper will find desired products quicker and easier. This will lead to more conversions, and repeat customers. When it comes to search, speed and efficiency is key.
Best Practice #4: Optimize For Mobile
A drop-down search bar can take up a fair amount of space on your web browser. Especially if there are images in the search (which is recommended), or if the search contains different sections. Having a robust search is great, but when it comes to the mobile screen, things must be considered.
So many people shop on their mobiles that every element of our eCommerce store should not be overlooked. The search on mobile phones should be relative to the size of the screen. It should be optimized that it functions quickly and efficiently, no matter the device being used.
Creating a mobile app through platforms such as Tapcart can help to ensure that all areas of your site will be optimized on mobile. Either way, if the search functions on the browser but not on your mobile, you will definitely be losing conversions.
Best Practice #5: Leverage Search Data
Your site search not only functions as a pathway to more sales and customer satisfaction. It also is a great way to know what your customers are interested in. Through analyzing search data you can learn so much. For example:
- Most popular products
- Least popular products
- Brand popularity
- Products searched for that you don’t stock
Gathering and analyzing this data can influence your decisions as you move forward with your business. After all, keeping the customer happy is a main priority in order to keep the business running. This is invaluable information for future success.
Site search is so much more than simply a search bar. It combines many elements of eCommerce technology potential into one small area of your site. With a platform that can help you leverage this, site search is key to growing your business. These best practices are a great place to start.