A long story short: if you’re not paying attention to onsite search, you are losing about 30% of all site customers.
Multiple researches have shown that visitors who head directly to the onsite search bar are highly motivated to make a purchase.
Effective site search has a number of potential benefits:
1. Improve sales & boost conversion rate by creating great user experience — visitors who quickly and easily find what they’re looking for are more inclined to make a purchase.
2. Increase time-on-site stay – the better user experience is, the longer visitors stay on your website. Thus, they can get to know your brand better, which may result in a conversion.
3. Enhance customer loyalty & retention – if you exercise the best practices in customer experience, your visitors are more likely to return.
Unfortunately, most online retailers underestimate the value onsite search can bring. If you don’t want to lose customers due to underoptimized store search facilities, read the post and take action.
Here are 7 ways to turn an onsite search box into a powerful conversion weapon:
#1. MAKE IT STAND OUT
Make sure your visitors can easily find a search box. Place on every single page of your website, put it as close to the top as possible.
Drag customers’ attention to the search box by offsetting it in a color different from the site’s main color scheme; insert a greyed out phrase like ‘Enter keyword’, ‘Search the store’ or ‘Find’.
In a word, make your search box stand out. Check, how Etsy made their search stand out.
#2. USE A SMART AUTO-COMPLETE TOOL
Auto-complete search tool is a great time-saver that offers suggestions when users type just the first letters of the query. This feature speeds up the search process and helps visitors to avoid misspellings.
A picture is worth a thousand words, goes the saying.
Combining Autocomplete with image search can trigger even faster purchasing decisions. Integrating a product thumbnail image with the product price and description can positively affect site search ROI. Check a nice example by BeautyBay.
#3. MAKE ONSITE SEARCH USER FRIENDLY
Make the default text disappear as soon as your visitors start typing their queries. Don’t force them to delete your text because it’s absolutely annoying.
#4. ALWAYS PROVIDE RESULTS
Misspellings, typos, plurals, synonyms, slang and abbreviations…searchers can use them all to find the desired product.
By all means, avoid frustrations with a “No Matches” message. Make sure that even if site visitors make mistakes, they will get a result. Probably, Pret-a-Porter should fix it.
#5. DID YOU MEAN…? MESSAGE
One more great way to avoid customer frustration is to show a “Did you mean…” message.
Rather than displaying a “No results” page, you may include a new search link that asks customers whether they meant to search for something else. Check, how Amazon and Gap made it. Here is the tool to enhance you onsite search.
#6. “NO RESULTS” FOUND MESSAGE
Sometimes it’s better to show your visitors a ‘No matches found’ message, because this can be the most accurate option.
Also, you can make a ‘No Results Found’ page useful. If your eCommerce platform allows showing customers complementary products, cross-sells or related items – go for it. Check how Zara used this opportunity.
#7. MAKING USE OF SEARCH ANALYTICS
Tracking how visitors use the search box can deliver valuable insights: popular queries, keywords, bounce rate and conversions.
Site search logs are a great way to align product descriptions and offerings with what people actually are searching for. Perhaps you should tweak keywords on your product pages or a little bit change your pay per click strategy.
An effective site search is hugely important. It can increase sales, retain customers, gain brand loyalty, track underperforming pages and provide a robust search data.
These days, the market offers a wide range of tools that can help you enhance your store search facilities and turn them into a powerful tool for boosting conversions.