Running an eCommerce storefront requires a lot of work. Business owners want all that work to pay off. That means they need to attract plenty of traffic and, even more importantly, they need to turn casual visitors into enthusiastic repeat customers.
Everyone talks about digital marketing and search engine optimization, but many business owners forget about one essential aspect that pertains exclusively to online shopping: how customers find the products they need. If visitors to the site can’t find products easily, they’ll look elsewhere.
Work with Industry Experts
By far the best way to improve customers’ search experiences is to work with experts in the field to ensure that the site delivers on their expectations. Don’t assume a digital marketer or a generalist web designer is the best person to turn to for help. Find a company that specializes in improving the search experience.
Make the Search Box Easy to Find
Many of today’s eCommerce websites are content-heavy, meaning there’s a lot going on even on simple pages. The complexity can leave customers confused and even turn them away. The solution is simple, though: place the search box in an easy-to-find place by leaving blank space around it, making it large enough to see, and including a full open text field beside the search button.
Add Some Text
Adding text to the search box is a good way to encourage browsers to use it. Keep it simple and to the point. “Search here” or “find products here” will do just fine. Just make sure the text disappears as soon as visitors navigate to the search box instead of forcing them to delete the text before they can perform their own searches.
Use a Longer Text Box
Short text boxes lead to confusion. Some visitors will inevitably assume that they need to shorten their queries if they can’t see the full search terms. The ideal text box will be able to accommodate at least 27 characters, which is enough to fit most common queries.
Many visitors misspell words or fail to notice typos. If these minor user errors cause them to draw up zero results, that can be a problem. Account for common misspellings, alternative spellings, and phonetic spellings to avoid this problem.
Autocomplete can guide visitors to in-demand or relevant products. It also gives eCommerce store owners more control over how they boost keywords or direct consumers to different product categories. As long as the result pages are still relevant, the autocomplete tool can make life easier for both customers and site owners.
Follow the Data
Before implementing changes to the search box, make sure to A/B test them. Once they’ve been implemented, take advantage of comprehensive data reporting and analytics tools to track the effectiveness of the changes. Site owners can also use this data to determine what products to add to their stores.
The Bottom Line
Don’t underestimate the importance of providing browsers with a positive search experience. It’s one of the easiest, yet most often overlooked, ways to improve customer conversion rates and brand loyalty.