April 19, 2023

5+1 Evergreen Ecommerce Site Search Tips

5+1 Evergreen Ecommerce Site Search Tips

Building the right tech stack is key

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How to choose the right tech stack for your company?

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What to consider when choosing the right tech stack?

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What are the most relevant factors to consider?

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What tech stack do we use at Techly X?

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As ecommerce becomes the de facto way of shopping, it’s important to make sure the site search of your online store is optimized for conversions.

It’s a core function that can make or break your conversion rate.

Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025. That’s a lot of money up for grabs, and you don’t want to miss out because your site search is still running on an out-of-the-box Shopify (or other) search engine.

If you sell retail or wholesale products online, your first step to conversion rate optimization should be to establish a solid, user-friendly ecommerce site search engine.

In this blog post, we will discuss 5+1 tips for optimizing your ecommerce site search. Having a dedicated engine (like Rapid Search) is ideal, but you’ll find a lot of other optimization tips along the way, too.

Now, read on and gear up for increased revenue!

What is an Ecommerce Site Search?

Ecommerce site search is the process of finding products and information on a website.

This usually involves a search box and a user with a query.

When they enter a keyword or phrase into the search box, the results are returned in real-time. This allows them to quickly and easily find the products they are looking for in an online store.

Users who have a smooth shopping experience are more likely to convert and even come back again. Did you know that a fully optimized user interface can raise a website’s conversion rate by up to 400%?

It’s worth taking the time to get your ecommerce site search right.

Site Search Solution Features

A simple ecommerce site search function is a great start. But to really optimize the users’ search experience, you need a solution that offers a broader set of features.

Simply put, your goal is to have everything at your customers’ fingertips, ready to sell. Expectations are high, but luckily there are ecommerce site search solutions out there that can meet these needs.

You need the Shopify app called Rapid Search.

It’s a tool that can serve as your ecommerce search engine and comes with a host of features.

Each of these features can help improve customer satisfaction AND increase conversion rates. It’s a win-win!

These search solutions include:

  • Autocomplete
  • Faceted search
  • Result ranking
  • Product filtering
  • Ecommerce AI
  • Synonyms recognition
  • Misspelled words recognition
  • Multi-language support

Rapid Search's faceted search and other features in a client's online store. Source: Auchan

For example, faceted search is a must-have search functionality for any modern ecommerce site. Csaba Zajdo, ecommerce expert and CEO of OptiMonk says:

“Faceted navigation helps ecommerce websites improve their customers’ product search experience. Often, customers are unsure of what they want, and would like to explore several products before deciding. Facets simplify the user experience by letting users investigate several choices quickly and efficiently.”

We wrote a more in-depth article about faceted filtering here.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) features can also work well for shoppers. Rapid Search includes AI features such as predictive search, product recommendations, self-learning relevance scoring, and more.

An app like Rapid Search has everything your users need during their shopping journey.

5 Evergreen Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Site Search

Trends may come and go, but there are a handful of ecommerce site search best practices that will never disappear. On top of having a cutting-edge site search app, you should also spend some time optimizing all related functions in your store.

Some of these tips may require light graphic design or coding work.

1. Make the search box visible

Simple enough, right? But you would be surprised how many websites bury the search box.

In a survey, 94% of respondents said that easy navigation was the most important website feature for them. Many user searches start with a search, so you need to make the search box as easy to find as possible.

Display it big and proud on your homepage. This will ensure that customers can find it quickly and easily.

When searching on Ulta Beauty, a dropdown menu helps you with additional search options. Source: Ulta Beauty

But what does “visible” mean?

  • Putting the search box on top of your sidebar (desktop) or on top of your navigation menu (mobile)
  • Including a magnifying glass in the design of the search box
  • Making the search bar a different color
  • Making it big enough to touch on the mobile site
  • Adding a simple animation to it (such as a bounce) to draw attention

It’s a good idea to consider the user experience when deciding where to place your search box.

Look at how your site is laid out and decide which placement would be the most effective for your customers.

2. Optimize the site search experience

An optimized search box is the first step to a great search experience.

But what does that mean?

It means tailoring the results to each customer’s needs. It means returning the right results for their query or guiding them to products that they may be interested in.

Peter Meleska, ecommerce analytics expert and CEO of Conversific explains it best:

“You need to design your website in such a way that people can easily search for their choices. Use the navigation bar at the top of your screen so that people can instantly look for the product that meets their needs in the product category page.”

Here are a few best practices to implement:

  • Include autocomplete. Anyone, but especially mobile shoppers will love the convenience of being just a few taps from relevant results.
  • Display the number of results found. It’s a simple way to orient your customer and help them see your product availability immediately.
  • Include a clear submit button. Sure, most people know that they can submit a search term by hitting “Enter” on their keyboard. But not having the button could still disorient some users.
  • Use natural language processing (NLP).  Optimize your site search for  NLP by making queries like “mens shirts under $30” processable by your site search engine.

Source: Amazon

  • Optimize the search results page. Make sure that the most relevant products are displayed first. You can provide further guidance by organizing the results by categories or adding related products.
  • Add a useful 404 page. Displaying a simple 404 message is a dead end and a missed opportunity. Instead, include links to popular products or display similar items that could be helpful to your customers.
  • Optimize product pages. A conversion-optimized page (one that includes relevant recommendations, easy filtering, a lot of photos, great customer reviews, and more) can easily lift your average order value.

A creative 404 page with links back to products. Source: Missguided

Additionally, you should use your site search data to feed into your ecommerce analytics. This will help you learn more about what your customers are looking for and how they’re using your search engine.

Overall, you want to make sure that the search results page is easy to use and provides the information that your customers are looking for.

3. Make your site search error-friendly

Typos happen. Today, users expect search engines in ecommerce stores to be smart enough to understand that by “ihpone”, the user meant “iphone.”

Not optimizing your site search for mistypes, grammatical, and other errors will leave a lot of dollars on the table for you.

How can you ensure that your site search is error-friendly?

The only way to do this is via a Shopify search app like Rapid Search. Turning incomprehensible user queries into conversion-worthy results pages is one of Rapid Search’s strongholds among competitors.

Take advantage of the plugin’s features and improve your Shopify store’s search results.

4. Configure for mobile searches

The importance of mobile searches cannot be overstated. eMarketer projects that by 2025, m-commerce sales will double and reach $728.28 billion in the US alone.

The more you invest in your mobile appearance, the bigger slice you can earn from the mobile commerce pie.

Mobile search best practices include:

  • Making sure that your search results are legible on a small screen
  • Using autocomplete to help users find what they’re looking for more easily
  • Displaying search results in a way that’s easy to tap
  • Not using a lot of text
  • Including icons and images to help users find what they’re looking for
  • Using hamburger menus (three lines in the top left corner) for an easy navigation

A good example of optimizing the mobile search experience with Rapid Search

All of this is achievable using ecommerce plugins or apps. Rapid Search offers a variety of features to configure for mobile searches, so you can be sure that your online store is giving users the best possible search experience.

5. Use the power of AI

Machine learning is the future of a smoother user experience.

Already, ecommerce stores are using AI to recommend products and improve search results.

What can machine learning do for your ecommerce store and how?

Shopify app, Rapid Search has the power of machine learning built into its core. The search engine is constantly improving in real-time based on visitors’ shopping behavior and searches.

By understanding your customers’ needs, it’s able to provide better search results for each user, which means more conversions for you.

+1 Use ecommerce analytics data

Finally, ecommerce analytics is a powerful tool that can help you understand your customers and provide them with better search results.

You can use Google Analytics, Shopify analytics, plus data from ecommerce plugins like Rapid Search.

Ecommerce site search metrics may include:

  • Revenue per search (# of searches divided by total revenue)
  • Search usage (# of sessions with a site search divided by total # of sessions)
  • Search conversions (# of sessions with a site search WITH a conversion divided by total # of sessions with a site search)

Analytics lets you know how your users interact with your webshop's search engine. Source: Rapid Search

With the right configuration, these metrics will give you valuable insights into whether shoppers are using your search and how effectively.

Future of Ecommerce Search

Ecommerce search is constantly evolving as ecommerce stores become more complex.

So, what’s in store for you for the coming years?

Here are some predictions to ponder:

  • More personalization – with the help of IoT, ecommerce search will be entrenched with personalization. Maybe the autosuggest will know what’s in the user’s fridge?
  • Concierge search – think of it as a search powered by humans. With the help of chatbots and AI, ecommerce stores will be able to provide an interactive search experience that helps users find what they’re looking for.
  • Artificial Reality (AR) – with the emergence of the metaverse, it’s only a matter of time until users will be exploring products in a virtual setting.

In the future, augmented and virtual realitymay shape how we shop online.

Don’t worry, some of these predictions are still some ways away. As long as you keep optimizing your store and make an effort to understand your customers’ needs, you’ll be on track to providing the best ecommerce search experience.

Ready to optimize your site search?

Ecommerce site search is more important than ever in 2022. By following the tips in this article, you can be sure that your ecommerce store is providing a great user experience and converting more shoppers into buyers.

Rapid Search offers all of the features mentioned in this post to help ecommerce stores provide better search results for their customers. You can start a free trial here.