Setting up your eCommerce site search is a crucial thing for better customer experience and customer journey. If you want to attract and convert your customers, you have to provide them with the best options for their frictionless decision and purchase process.
If you are ready to update your website with the best search options, take a look at a few search providers:
- Fast Simon plugin for WP
- Ajax Instant Search
- Product Filter & Search by FreshClick
Depending on your needs, you will choose the most appropriate tools – once you have chosen your search engine, it is time to make the magic happen.
We will walk you through a basic setup process thus you can be on your way to increase your sales. Always keep in mind that configuring your search options should meet your visitors expectations.
The Data Feed
Firstly, import data feed to your product search – the more specific data feed to your system, the better results. Feed your updates daily and define the indexing rate on the search to match.
It would be the best if you can obtain a system API to feed the updates in real time.
Your Search Box: Best Practices
The search box should be clearly visible and broad and accessible from all website pages from the header. In case your search box has something written in it (like, search here etc.), it should disappear as soon as the visitor clicks on it. Use some type of auto-complete, and if you can make your auto complete to show images with each result, it would be even better for the customer experience.
Ensure that the search bar is not in the same line as some of your specific promotions or deals advertised on your site – visitors may assume that the search function is for that specific promotion and not a site-wide function.
Did You Mean…?
Many of these search engines come with a built-in spelling correction. Keep in mind that most visitors and customers prefer auto-spell checks. Some providers automatically provide the search results while others let the visitor click on the link to see the correct search, thus examine the one you want to make sure how the process goes.
In case you notice common misspellings, create a word replacement to correct the engine thus the searchers will not realize the mistake and they will obtain the information they were searching for.
Such an approach of creating internal redirects may increase conversions on your site. Create direct hits for your leading categories or other relevant pages, like blog or FAQs, to convert visitors better than the search results page.
For example, if a visitor searches for ‘house appliances’, your search should take them directly to this category page.
When visitors type in the query, there are usually some words that need to be removed like frequently occurring words or insignificant words that appear in a product name or a category. These words are called stop words and the most common ones include: a, an, the, in, of, on, are and similar.
Although most search engines will remove these words automatically, it would be a good idea to review and create common stop words for your own site. If your product database contains all products related to house, it may be a good idea to add ‘house’ as a stop word since it would return the result of every product on your site.
It all depends on the nature of your business and specific needs thus make sure to test and fine-tune your stop words as it may bring counter effects if done incorrectly.
No Results Page
When creating search options, try to adjust your NO RESULTS page and lead them towards products the visitors are looking for.
You may decide and show your top 10 products to your visitors or alternatively, you can show a kind of advanced search form on your ‘no results’ page.
This is important as people do not like to see only ‘no results’ thus feel free to test it in order to determine the most profitable scheme.
A good idea can be to insert promotions or banners into your search results page based on the visitors’ queries.
In case you offer free shipping on all your small kitchen appliances, try to create a promotional banner highlighting this offer on any kitchen appliance search.
If you wish to rank higher, you will have to meet Google requirements – Google generally dislikes search results pages unless you create a unique content to make them valuable enough. The usual recommendation is to prohibit search results pages within your Robots.txt files.
For example, if your site architecture is not good, try to drive more popular search results pages into the index.
Filtered navigation should become the standard for site architectures. Many sites’ navigation is already powered by search engines. Ask yourself:
- What features do you want to let your visitors refine?
- Do you need to create sub-features?
- What carries the most significance?
The majority of websites begin with filters like sizes, colors, or pricing while other sites take a step further and define attributes by category. For example, if you have more varieties of a single color, you should decide whether to offer products that come in different shades of red (e.g. fire red, apple red, crimson etc.) or you will stick to a more general rule of just red color.
Take time and define these attributes because the sooner you improve your search for analytics, the quicker you can start a return on your investment.
The entire process depends on the tool you’ve chosen and the platform where your site is hosted yet as a general rule, you can go (or skip some) through the following steps:
- Sign up and invest in your chosen site search tool
- Incorporate it onto your site (you may need a developer’s help for this part)
- Consider where you want your search bar located and the design
- Add relevant keywords to your product pages to show up in related searches
- Include any additional pages you want to show up in searches, like blogs, FAQs, or category pages
- Add filtering options to your search feature – if you’re a clothing brand, filters like size, color, and style are good to start with
- Check and test that your search bar is giving out the results you want
- Tweak and improve search results using past data and additional keywords to make searches even more relevant and useful
The best advice we can provide you is – wash, rinse and repeat each month! Take a few hours to review your search results and implement new synonyms per changes in visitor behaviour.
Do not just set it and forget it, as this can be the reason why your search does not bring any significant changes.
Track your conversion rates and ROI (return on investment) and add those to your regular KPIs for the best results and insights.