Having an effective on-site search strategy is more important than ever for today’s online retailers. According to a blog by Econsultancy, 30% of users on eCommerce sites will utilize the search bar and conversion rates through site search can be up to 50% higher than average.
Regardless of whether you engage in B2C or B2B eCommerce, today’s shoppers are savvy and have high expectations. It is important for every online seller to provide their customers with meaningful and satisfactory search experiences.
Here are five vital elements that every eCommerce on-site search tool should have in order to increase conversions and develop loyal, returning customers.
Relevant Search Results
In today’s ultra-competitive online shopping environment, it is essential that sellers provide relevant and fine-tuned search results for every visitor. People want to find what they’re looking for as quickly and efficiently as possible and when they can’t find it, they’re likely to go somewhere else.
An autocomplete feature can be used to predict a user’s search query as soon as they start typing into a search bar, significantly cutting down on the time it takes to find a product. Hawksearch’s Smart Autocomplete uses data from popular search terms to intelligently suggest search queries.
In addition to finding a result quickly, visitors expect to find the right results. Search tools that group similar synonyms together and correct misspellings and typos can create a more intuitive search experience for users. Relevancy as a whole not only saves the user time in search, it helps to assure shoppers that they’re in the right place and that your website can deliver what they want.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is fundamental to the success of any eCommerce website. SEO is the process of optimizing your site to rank as highly as possible in major search engines so that shoppers can see your site and click on it. There are a number of ways that on-site search tools can help boost SEO. Hawksearch’s SEO Influencer, for example, automatically indexes the facets, or product attributes, throughout an eCommerce site and creates expansive sitemaps. An eCommerce seller’s most popular product search terms can be added to the site map, which helps Google recognize these important keywords.
Tools like SEO Influencer also allow merchandisers to choose terms to avoid. Because attributes like clothing type and color tend to apply to many different products, a site’s search ranking can be negatively impacted by what Google may perceive to be duplicate content. A search tool that gives companies more control over the content search engines use can be very beneficial for SEO.
Effective search tools can engage in machine learning, which is a form of artificial intelligence. Machine learning allows on-site search engines to analyze huge amounts of real shopper data and then make predictions about what shoppers most likely want to see in search results.
Robust search tools, merchants can track and analyze every visitor, interaction, and abandoned search to automate merchandising efforts. At Hawksearch, we’ve seen major increases in time on site and conversions when automated tools like these are implemented on a site.
Machine learning technology can also power automatic product recommendations and display similar or alternative items of interest for site visitors to buy. Econsultancy found that conversion rates can increase by 32% when a recommendations engine is used. Retailers that take full advantage of artificial intelligence can provide a more intuitive search experience for their users.
When a search tool uses knowledge about the shopper to improve results, it can greatly increase the chance of a conversion taking place. By using known visitor attributes such as gender, age, zip code, prior purchases, and other data, online retailers can narrow down search results to refine personalization and optimize search satisfaction.
For example, let’s say an online retailer has a customer searching for a black winter jacket and, through established information about this shopper, we know that she lives in California. Visitor targeting technology will automatically display lighter weight coats higher in search results, as compared to a person who lives in Chicago and would need a heavier jacket to wear.
Visitor targeted search results create a buying environment that makes the decision-making process much easier for shoppers. Studies show that the chance of conversion greatly increases with optimized relevancy for the online shopper. Shoppers have come to expect it, too. According to research by Infosys, 59% of shoppers who have experienced personalization believe it has a noticeable influence on their decision to purchase. Hawksearch’s visitor targeting can even integrate custom criteria into search results for further fine-tuning.
Search Result Metrics
One of the most important developments in recent years regarding search technology has been the availability of shopper data. Online sellers looking to increase their conversion rates can do so by carefully studying visitor trends and behaviors. Hawksearch provides data that helps merchants target lower performing areas and expand what has been successful.
In addition, reports such as top facets, conversion summary, and top keywords can all be utilized to continue to perfect the quality of the search results you are providing for shoppers. For example, the “Searches with Poor Results” report on Hawksearch logs the description of search queries that return little to no results and the number of times it has occurred.
This data is an excellent way to see which visitor search terms are not syncing up with those that are recognized by the site. Conversely, this information can also suggest to a retailer that they might want to consider carrying a certain brand of product if there are search results that show a demand for it.
The on-site search tool is the lifeblood of nearly all eCommerce sites. There are so many opportunities for online sellers to capitalize on the technology available in today’s advanced search solutions. As the world of eCommerce continues to grow, the buying public’s expectation of personalized and relevant search results will expand as well. Victory in eCommerce will go to the sellers that get to know their shoppers as unique individuals.
To learn more about how Hawksearch, a leading on-site search and recommendations tool, can help you take your B2C or B2B eCommerce sales to a new level, click here.