You have a great looking e-commerce, loaded with products, many of them your star-sellers.
But still you are struggling to push up your sales graph. What’s wrong?
Maybe visitors (potential buyers) are not able to find the products. A strong possibility.
The new visitors will not come back. The numbers of returning visitors will go down. The existing visitors may also follow the suit.
Why should they stick around with you when product search is easy and fast in your competitor’s store?
No shopper has the time and patience to struggle with the poor search engine.
Must have tried Amazon?
Poor search functionality causes bad user experience and high bounce rates. You lose sales.
One thing is clear: If they cannot find it they cannot buy it.
If you want more people to buy more of your products, make your product search super-fast.
For that you need to take following tangible steps:
1. Search by Product name (Exact Search)
When people come to your -store they type a particular product name.
Search for Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Camera on Amazon gives you get following results.
See the screenshot below. It is the “exact” search
2. Search by Product Type
Buyers search for a particular product. You have it in your store’s inventory, but the product does not show up in search results. Prospective buyers think you do not have that product. You lose sales.
See how different camera categories pop up on the screen when you type generic word “camera”.
You view camera display in different categories. Click on to anyone and you go to that product page. Buyers have choices before them. They love it.
That is the ideal way that it should work.
3. Search by Product feature
Buyers are looking for a product with a particular feature(s).
Does your search engine shows a highly relevant result to the query?
Look at results for the “waterproof camera” query on Amazon.
4. Search by Theme (Thematic Search)
In thematic search you use keywords based on:
- “Seasons” (like summer, winter, etc.
- “Occasions” like birthday, wedding, etc.
- “Events” like Football World Cup, Olympics, etc.
The search for “spring coat woman” on Amazon returns with following search results.
Similarly, the search for football world cup T-shirts gives following results.
5. Relational Support
Here you find products related to famous personalities like actors, musicians, authors and sportsmen.
You can also look for products related to companies, events, animals, etc.
See below in the screenshot, all the products related to the Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
6. Compatibility Search
You know the product but have no any idea about the specifications of accessories.
Relational search helps you find them.
For example, you have a Lenovo Laptop and want a charger or adaptor for it. But do not know the specifications. You type “Lenovo Laptop Adaptor” in the search box and get following results.
You can make the search more specific. Add the model number of the laptop -“adapter for Lenovo X61S”.
7. Slang, Abbreviation and Symbol search
There are many searchers who use slang language, abbreviations or special symbols to find the products. Many of the e-stores are not prepared for that. This is how it should work.
First, let’s see about a slang keyword. Suppose it is “shades”. Below is the result.
Shades stands for sunglasses and window shades. You can clearly see in the screenshot below:
If you type in HP which stands for Hewlett Packard, you get following results:
For keywords, with special characters like “sleeve11” you see the result below:
8. Subjective Search:
You search a product based on different qualities. Like high-quality, robust, lightweight, ultra-thin, etc.
These qualifiers go together with product type or name. Like, see below in the screenshot the search of the “ultra-thin” Laptop leads to following results. Here the product type (Laptop) has a qualifier “ultra-thin”.
9. Symptom Search
Symptom search is usually problem-driven. A user has some problem and he or she is looking for a solution.
A search for cough syrup or drops gives following results.
Similarly, the search for solutions for “hair fall” gives following results.
This kind of search increases conversion rate because many visitors seek solutions for their problems.
10. Natural Language Search
The natural language search feature provides a meaningful response to a query in the natural daily spoken form.
The search for “stylish, high-heeled, soft leather shoes for woman” on Amazon gives the following results.
Highly relevant results.
11. Search Field design and Position
The position and design of your search box matter much to your users and usability of your site. If people can spot the search box, they can find their products too in no time.
How can visitors spot a search box, overwhelmed by flashy surrounding elements?
See below the search box of the Amazon.
12. Search Scope Design
The -“search scope box” and “search box”- are different in function, though related.
The search box should be larger and more prominent than the Search scope box. Amazon is the best example of it.
See below, in the screenshot.
The white-colored search box dwarfs the yellow colored Search scope box (All).
The search scope box has a drop down menu of different product categories.
You know what autocomplete is. Without it, visitors will not know the easiest and quickest path to their products listed on the store.
Autocomplete is essential because:
- suggestions assure visitors that store has the products they want.
- it encourages explorative browsing – search more for related products
- refines the search the way users want
See in the above screenshot, the keyword “cooktop” has many suggestions. Visitors can explore various other cooktop categories.
In the below screenshot you can see the autocomplete option of the keyword, “cooktop”. The store suggests you the various categories related to that search.
Select the “cooktop cleaner in Home & Kitchen” option and get following results. This feature speeds up the search and makes it precise
The keyword, cooktop is bold. The suggestions like “All Departments”, “Appliances”, and “Tools & Home Improvement” are in different color. This helps to differentiate the keyword from the autocomplete suggestions.
14. Auto-Correct Misspellings
Nobody is perfect. When it comes to typing in the keywords or descriptive phrases people do make mistakes.
If you ask them to correct it will be like adding friction to their search efforts. They will quit your store.
The autocomplete feature suggests alternate, but relevant search query with correct spelling.
Since there are no results for misspellings it is important to autocorrect them.
See below how Amazon auto corrects the “canera” to “camera” and suggest different categories.
It also suggests an auto-corrected option….
Enter wrong spelling like “waterproof CANERA”. You get a suggestion – “waterproof camera” which you click to get following results.
15. Relevant Filtering on the Product Page
It is good to have a site-wide search and excellent to have a product-wise filtering. The faceted search allows you to filter the results according to your liking. Lack of faceted search is one of the main reasons behind cart abandonment.
See below in the screenshot. Search result for the “waterproof camera” on the Amazon leads to following results.
The sidebar on the page’s right side (your’ left side) shows a maze of filters like “view screen display size”, “average customer review”, “optical zoom”, “minimum zoom”, etc.
Select the filters and filter out the desired product.
16. User Definable and Dynamic Price filters
Price filter is an important filter for buyers. Some are looking for cheap; some for expensive and some for the product in an affordable range. In that scenario, it is necessary to have user definable price filtering mechanism.
See below in the screenshot.
User, selects the price range of 180-200.
In the next screenshot, you see a drop-down menu that gives the user many options to filter the right Laptop. Like Bestsellers, price (low-high & vice versa), special offers.
Search is a critical functionality of any e-commerce store. Integrate the 16 best search features in your store and make your store searchable. The result- higher conversion rate.