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Ecommerce Search: 10 Best Practices to Boost Online Sales

December 4, 2020 12 MIN READ
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Guides & Advice
Ecommerce Search: 10 Best Practices to Boost Online Sales
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How to keep potential buyers in sight when your marketing efforts don’t seem to bring much result? How to engage a user and turn them into a real customer with the most individualized approach? We have one quite uncommon solution – outstanding ecommerce search. Give people exactly what they want and need without wasting their time and you may as well outrun the competition.

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Searching an ecommerce website is usually the start of your customer’s journey and it should be perfect. Which search solution to use? What search techniques are there? Let’s take a look through the 10 best practices for increasing online sales based on search. Also, we’ll see how ecommerce search works in terms of advancing your business success.

Why is ecommerce search so important for a commercial website?

Customers who find the product they need easily and fast are more likely to make a purchase. That’s why making it as easy as possible for a potential buyer to find the right product should be among your top priorities. personalized search in ecommerce, autocomplete, more intuitive search, and accessible navigation will help you achieve higher conversion rates.

Search bar is essential for conversions

Research by Screen Pages found that equipping your ecommerce site with a search box generates an average conversion rate of 2.4%, while regular site searches bring an average site conversion rate of 1.7%.

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“No results found” page provides analytics

A “no results found” page can be valuable too. This page may not be of immediate benefit to the buyer, but it can be a useful source of information for you. Analytical information about products that buyers have been looking for but not found is a very important business asset.

All site search data must be carefully collected, analyzed, and taken into account for further analysis. This way, you can improve both the site search tool and merchandising, and, accordingly, increase the company’s profits. If it is easy and pleasant for customers to interact with the interface, find the products they need, they have a better chance of becoming loyal fans of your site.

Also, make sure your “no results found” page is not a dead-end for a user. Take your chance to redirect user interest by offering them other options. Therefore, the “no results found” page needs to offer useful links or similar results to their search query.

Search by synonyms brings more convenience

Exploring the specifics of efficient ecommerce site search, pay attention to synonyms. A person can search for: sweater, jumper, pullover, sweatshirt, and so on. The user can name a thing in multiple ways and your task is to create a search tool that will offer results to the request by synonyms on top of directly named items.

You should provide the potential customer with options so that he/she can find what they need both directly and indirectly. Be sure to analyze your customers’ past searches to provide them with the best possible options.

Studies by Econsultancy and Funnelback showed that only 50% of ecommerce site searches are successful while 40% of responding companies aren’t even aware of the nuances regarding the site search impact.

Only 7% of companies are convinced that they are effectively leveraging past search information to improve the quality of their service. 46% noted that they only partially use these opportunities. At the same time, 47% simply ignore such information. Ecommerce creation agency respondents expressed a different opinion: only 31% reported that their clients don’t use site search data at all, and only 8% said that their clients use it for in-depth analysis.

5 best practices for setting up an ecommerce site search  

Few people pay due attention to the analysis of such an important factor as a site search. Often companies find it much more interesting and important to study landing pages’ impact and personalized emails. We claim that this is fundamentally wrong not to focus on your website search too! If you optimize and improve your site search with a focus on customers, you will surely increase your conversion rates and boost user loyalty.

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But what can you do to make your search more interactive, intuitive, personalized, and accessible for users?

#1. Make your search bar more noticeable

FootSmart made their search bar more visible by highlighting it in a different color. Emphasizing your search bar with a color that’s different from your site’s background color scheme is a great way to grab user attention.

On the FootSmart search results page, the product is displayed in a separate area along with the name, rating, and price. Sorting options are visible on the left. Users can also employ a close-up view of the product. FootSmart identified ineffective search terms, which increased the conversion rate by 82%.

#2. Mind the search filters

An efficient search engine provides a good share of search customizations – filters, configurations, and suggestions. Versona, a women’s apparel and accessories store, prompts users to search products by descriptive terms, such as “blue,” and then browse a wide range of products that can be sorted by size, price, discount, popularity, and more.

Ecommerce search filters are a pretty standard case nowadays, but you should expand the capabilities. Offer customers even more detailed product sorting, increasing the convenience of search and quality of service.

#3. Enable semantic processing of long requests

A person searching for a “men’s white long-sleeved T-shirt size L” is more likely to find they need and make a purchase than someone looking plainly for “men’s T-shirts.”

Research shows that sites with a semantically-optimized search engine have a low 2% abandonment rate, compared to 40% for sites that use plain text searches.

#4. Implement smart autocomplete

Common autocomplete approaches are constantly evolving. Printerland, a printer and accessories retailer, worked with SLI Systems’ site search service to add more advanced smart search with autocomplete functionality to its website.

The results came out pretty efficient – the conversion rate increased significantly. Customers visiting a page with an autocomplete feature are 6 times more likely to make a purchase. Smart autocomplete, search by image, and other easy-to-find tricks will surely help you boost both user loyalty and conversions.

#5. Avoid excessive elements

People can get annoyed when they are pointlessly guided through a site – a scheme like Home>Search>Search Result is a no-go. Kohl’s automatically updates search results based on checkboxes that are highlighted for the user in the sidebar. Kohl’s allows customers to filter and change search parameters and get instant results, instead of wandering aimlessly around the site.

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Watch how your site is displayed on different devices. Research has shown that most people prefer a personal computer. Major devices used for online shopping by consumers in Canada, for instance (as of March 2020): computer – 73%, mobile phone – 40%, tablet – 25%.

The best ecommerce site search solutions for Magento  

Here are some particular solutions to help you enhance your ecommerce onsite search.

Search Autocomplete extension 

Using Search Autocomplete, you will get flawless website performance by boosting loading speed based on intelligent search query caching. You can also use the extension to highlight product benefits and photos, SKUs, price, reviews/ratings, etc.

Ecommerce search engine Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch is a distributed RESTful search and analytics system capable of handling an ever-increasing number of use cases. At the heart of Elastic Stack, it delivers instant search, fine-tuning relevance, and powerful analytics.

Case studies by Elogic

Elogic has been developing Magento-based ecommerce solutions for years so we decided to share our take on ecommerce search employment. What can be better than sharing from one’s own practice?

In particular, we helped the following websites significantly boost conversion rates and achieve new sales, in particular by implementing website search.

Roller Rabbit

Roller Rabbit needed a more robust version of the core platform. Founded in 2003, the style brand selling goods for men and women has firmly established itself in the business market. Handicraft, bright prints, a variety of textures – all this is the hallmark of the company.

Roller Rabbit had initially launched an online store based on Magento 1 Commerce Edition. After some time, the client decided to update the solution for Magento 2. They turned to the Elogic experts to perform the migration and develop new features. We implemented a Search Autocomplete extension to customize search functionality. As a result, our team helped the company increase conversions and strengthen its position with proper, seamless software migration and upgrade.

Millennium

Millennium used the online catalog to showcase their brands to customers. Millennium Watches is a supplier of luxury watch and jewelry brands. With the expansion of the business, it was time to build an online store. Initially, there was an online catalog without a sales function. The founders hired Elogic to develop an online store based on Magento 2. Elasticsearch is one of the third-party integrations that we implemented. As a result, we received the fastest search functionality both on desktop and mobile. Our take on the project allowed us to rapidly increase the number of sales.

The future of search 

The cornerstone of up-to-date ecommerce search optimization is voice search. According to OC&C Strategy Consultants, voice search-equipped ecommerce resources will make as much as $40 billion of total market share by 2022. Today, the figure is $1.8 billion. By 2022, more than half of the US population will have so-called smart speakers – voice-controlled speakers – in their homes.
Voice assistants on smart devices make a great contribution to the overall progress. Amazon, for instance, is a recognized leader in the voice shopping market. As many as 90% of online sales in the US are made through Amazon and compatible smart devices. This technology has already changed our lives, making online shopping much more convenient.

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More and more people in the 25-49 age group are using voice assistants every day. The most common products sold via voice requests are electronics and household goods. That is, these are relatively cheap goods. But the situation could change. Yet another important fact: 70% of purchases are made by consumers who know exactly what they want to buy.

5 benefits of voice search for customers

How do smart voice search devices influence consumer behavior exactly? The ThinkWithGoogle study highlights the five following aspects:

1. Make one’s life easier

Voice search is simpler, yet more functional to employ than manual input of data and time-consuming page browsing.

2. Be readily available at home

The study showed that 52% of people keep their voice device in a family gathering room.

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3. Quickly become a usual part of everyday life

Check the weather, take notes, and the like – voice assistants have become true miscellaneous helpers in everyday life.

4. Ofer the next level of personalization

Voice-controlled devices make interaction with technology more human. It’s nice to talk in voice mode, it improves the overall quality of interaction.

5. Serve as the new business area

Ecommerce players see new, unexplored business horizons voice assistants. For instance, the following corporate giants simply couldn’t miss out on all the relevant benefits.

Companies employing voice search

Industry’s emerging players and established leaders alike were fast to adopt the latest voice search solutions. The list includes some of the most renowned businesses.

Amazon

Amazon has a clear leading position in the voice search ecommerce segment. With a couple of voice commands, Amazon Alexa Voice Shopping can tell you about the deals of the day and help make a purchase quick and easy. The company recommends having a Prime account as well as an Alexa Voice Shopping compatible device (you can also do voice purchases through the Amazon app).

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The compatible devices include:

  • Amazon Tap
  • Amazon Echo Dot
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon app

Indeed, voice search ecommerce may show some inconsistencies, but manufacturers right now focus heavily on perfecting the preciseness of word recognition.

Walmart

You can also buy groceries using your voice alone at the Walmart online store. It is the world’s largest online all-purpose retail store. The company recently announced that it has partnered with Google for voice-activated product purchases. Walmart’s voice shopping service is already available at over 2,100 stores, and online delivery at over 800.

Voice search optimization in search engines

A major aspect to take into account is SEO, promotion of a website in search engines. The following tips and tricks should help you optimize your voice search.

Snippets

Snippets are small pieces of text in the search line used as a description of a link in search results. This is one of the best ways to rank higher in search results as a whole.

Structure data and expand descriptions

Use tags for marking content to give Google clues about the meaning of a page or product and use only well-structured data.

Focus on loading speed and mobile-friendliness

How exactly can you boost the speed of site loading both on desktop and on mobile devices?

  1. Reduce the necessary number of server requests;
  2. Prioritize content loading;
  3. Make your pages lightweight and concise;
  4. Configure caching;
  5. Thoroughly test your ecommerce solution.

We believe that voice technology in ecommerce will dramatically boost the overall brand integration. Developers from Google and Amazon are already working on many authentic apps based on Google Actions and Alexa Skills. 

Summary

Website search is an essential tool for online shopping. Over the past 10 years, voice search in ecommerce has saved millions of people time and nerves. The latest voice-activated gadgets are of great interest as they drive investment in innovations.
A strong SEO strategy remains the cornerstone of voice search optimization and should cover trusted links, ecommerce search filters, secure HTTPS sites, ecommerce search plugins, reputable domains, and trending content. Personalized search allows users to feel as comfortable as possible when browsing offers, which helps significantly boost sales.

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