When all or part of your income is tied to the success of your ecommerce site, you need to make sure you focus on all the elements of it, especially when it comes to product searchability. It’s no secret that visitors will leave a webpage faster than you can say “Google” if they don’t find what they want in a few seconds. The mindset of the average consumer is “It’d better be easy for me,” so that means every ecommerce site should strive to fulfill that desire.
Even if you think your ecommerce site’s search is the stuff of legends, it’s not a bad idea to look into steps to improve upon what you already are doing. That’s what the biggest ecommerce sellers like Ebay and Amazon do, and you’d be wise to follow suit. Below are seven steps you can take to tweak your ecommerce site in order to reel in the paying customers.
Step #1: Make the Search Bar Prominent
If even Sherlock Holmes couldn’t figure out how to find your search bar, it’s going to be an issue. This means it needs to be front-and-center. When someone lands on your ecommerce site, they should be greeted by the search bar. Webmasters and designers recommend making the search bar stand out in some way, either with color or size. In the screenshot below, it’s easy to see that the company CJ Pony Parts wants the consumer to have instant access to the search bar.
Step #2: Restrict Your Search Results to Your Site
It’s incredibly irritating to consumers when they go to a website, use the search bar, and discover that it’s just a Google search that sends them to competitors. Not only is that terrible for your business, but it looks like you just don’t care. Never send your customers outside of your website when they are performing a search to find the merchandise you’re offering.
Step #3: Make the Search Feature Efficient
Remember how we mentioned that consumers have a short attention – “Squirrel!” – span? It’s absolutely true, and they seem to be getting shorter all the time. That’s why you need a lightning-fast search on your ecommerce site. There are several companies that offer lickity-split searches. Although you may have to pay extra, it will be well worth it.
Step #4: Use Autocomplete
When someone types a product name or description into your site’s search box, it helps to have autocompletion. For instance, if you sell cookware like Ceramcor does, it helps if a visitor can pop in a few letters and suddenly get a link to whatever it is he or she desires. In the screenshot below, the letters “spa” led right to “spatula”.
Step #5: Provide Images Often
Along with autocompletion, some ecommerce sites choose to add images to the products that naturally come up during a search. This visual reminder can actually be a huge help to the consumer. It also provides aesthetic appeal.
Step #6: Utilize Your Site’s Search to Promote Products
It’s your search engine, so use it to your company’s advantage. If there’s a particular product you’re trying to sell, why not send it to the first place in terms of search engine ranking? You, as the master of the search tools, will have that ability once you implement the right search software.
Step #7: Enable Search Filters
Have you ever tried to investigate a product type only to discover that there were so many “hits” that it was ridiculously difficult to figure out what you really wanted? By offering people additional filters, ecommerce sites can help those people determine what best suits them. Check out this screenshot from Overstock as an example. On the left side of the page, the term “jewelry” has been further drilled down, giving the visitor more precise options.
As your ecommerce site continues to gather momentum, you may want to try other ways to increase your search capacity. Plus, you’ll likely get some good feedback if you explore your website’s analytics to tell you what your audience is most interested in searching. Hopefully these tips will get you well on your way to a fast, effective and user-friendly search engine.