Think about how natural it has become to use Google to search for what you are looking for, whether it be the definition of a word, a simple math problem, getting caught up on the latest news, or quickly finding the price of a shirt you are looking for. Sites like Google, iTunes, Netflix and Amazon have made it so easy that we just expect it to be a seamless experience. Now, we barely notice when we have an exceptional search experience, but it has become very obvious when it is missing or not performing how we have come to expect it to.
A lot retailers don’t think their search is meant to perform the same way as Google, they are retailers after all and Google is a search engine. But Google search has changed our behaviour and expectations and we can apply some of the logic to our online stores to improve our UX and increase revenue.
Here’s 5 ideas worth exploring to improve your on-site search!
The most obvious…make sure the people who want to use search can find the search field. Keep it in the header. Also check out some of the design trends that have made the search field actually lend itself to the design rather than take away.
2. Have you forgotten about search on other devices?
Anyone who sends texts or email on their phones knows the less you have to type (read: autocorrect/complete) and the quicker the experience, the better. By keeping search just as prominent on mobile and tablet, you can help the user quickly find what they are looking for and take away some of the frustration of tiny screen shopping.
3. Speaking of auto-correct, auto-complete and suggested search terms…
Who wasn’t slightly fascinated by the auto-complete and suggested search results when Google first launched it? Magento makes it easy for you to implement this on your commerce site as well. By completing your customers search for them or offering suggested search terms you are creating a seamless and satisfying user experience to meet the needs of your customer.
Have you ever gone into a store and told a sales associate what you are looking for and had them say “I’m sorry I can’t help you you should probably leave now.” This is the real life equivalent of 0 search results. Luckily you can use technology to make up for areas where you can’t have a physical presence online. Take the time to create related products for search terms so that when you don’t have exactly what your customer is looking for, you do have something to keep them moving through the site or at least an alternative suggestion, rather than a kick out the door.
5. Be in the know and do some QA.
My final suggestion is that you do some investigating. Use Google Analytics to find out what some of the most common search terms are on your site and put yourself in the user’s shoes. Find out what the experience is like for them and look for areas of improvement. Do some quality control and make sure that product details are complete and correct, that the photos properly represent the product, and that there is stock available. Small errors like this can be the difference between a satisfied customer and drop off.
Retention, Retention, Retention!
Something as simple as your on-site search can make a big impact! You really want to be aiming to retain your customers/site visitors in anyway possible and improving your on-site search is an easy way to begin this optimization process. Users have come to your site for a reason, and if they can’t find what they’re looking for – or at the very least be redirected to something similar – they’ll bounce right out of there. You better believe that once a customer bounces out of frustration caused by poor navigation, that they won’t be returning to your eCommerce site anytime soon. Put your strategy in place and keep these key tips on mind!