4 Simple Tips for a More Effective Site Search

An effective site search function is probably the most underrated feature on an eCommerce site. People are busy and don’t have time to search through your site for the specific product they want –they instead use the search box to take them directly where they want to go. In fact, up to 30% of website visitors will use your site search box to find, and ultimately buy products.

Site Search

What kind of benefits come with an effective site search? Take a look…

  • More sales. Plain and simple. A more efficient site search means your customers can find things more quickly. This translates into higher sales, as customers who find what they’re looking for easily are more likely to make a purchase. A general rule of thumb — frustrated users who can’t find anything on your website don’t tend to buy from you very often.
  • Increased web traffic. Better site searchability equals a better user experience. A better user experience means that customers are will spend more time on your site, which will boost the number of return visits.
  • Better customer retention and loyalty. Customers will remember how easy it was to find products on your site, and will be more likely to return to buy again.

So how can you improve your site’s search function? Here are a few simple tips that will help you out:

  1. Location, location, location. If you’re website users can’t find your search box, they probably won’t use it. Make sure your search is easily visible from all your pages (the top right corner seems to be a recurring spot on most websites).
  2. Size matters. The size of your search box, that is. Make sure you give people enough room to type their entire search query, but at the same time don’t have your search bar stretch across the whole width of your site. The size should reflect what kinds of things your customers typically search for. For example, if most of your customers only use a couple words in their searches, you’d be ok having a smaller search box. But if you notice that people are using long phrases in their queries, then you should opt for a longer search field to accommodate them.
  3. The more information, the better. The more information you have available on your product pages, the more ways your customers can search for your products. Abundant, high quality product data also decreases the chances that customers will end up on the dreaded “no results found” page.
  4. Fill in the blanks. Use an auto-complete tool to give search users suggestions as to what they might be looking for. After users have entered a few characters into the search box, suggestions appear in a drop down list that they can choose from (or they can keep typing). This can be a valuable tool for an eCommerce site because it speeds up the search process for users, helps them to avoid misspellings, and it also ensures that customers’ searches won’t come back empty.

Autocomplete search example

These may seem like a simple fixes, but you’ll be surprised by how much of an impact an improved site search will have on your eCommerce site. Search engines like Google have set the standard by providing web users results quickly and accurately, and consumers expect the same experience on websites.

Perfect product data enables multichannel commerce. Learn more about how to manage your product information in this free white paper!