How to Exploit Site Search to Improve Your eCommerce Results

Site search is one of the most important things when managing an eCommerce. You probably already know that… 😉

So, if you’re here now is because you’re interested in improving your site search and your conversion. And, of course, here we’ll talk about that important thing and the improvements you can make to get more sales. 

First of all, we should start giving you a couple of very surprising numbers that most people don’t know about. 

  • Between 10-30 percent of people use site search, depending on your vertical, the number of products you have, where your search bar is located… etc
  • Between 30-70 percent of eCommerce revenue comes from people who search

Yes… 30-70%. That’s a lot of money inside a 4.2 trillion-dollar market!

So, as you can see, every person who visits your store and uses your product search matters a lot. If you lose them, this means that you are more likely to be losing sales. 

And we’re sure that’s exactly what you are trying to avoid. 

👉  Zero results in your site searches? You have a problem

As we were saying, people who search are between 4 and 8 times more likely to end up buying. But, what happens when they try to search for a specific product and they get that Sorry, no results found” message?

That happens way more often than it should.

15% of searches done with the standard ecommerce search that comes with your eCommerce platform get zero results. 15%!

But why does this happen?

Most of the time, it’s not because you don’t have the product they are searching for, but because your search engine is not smart enough to understand what they want.

Zero results can happen for several reasons, two of the most common are:

  1. Because people are searching in a way that your search engine does nor recognize as a synonym
  1. Because you have an alternative product you should be showing but you are not.

Zero results are something you should be trying to avoid because whoever sees a zero result page, is probably not going to come back to your store.

In order to avoid losing sales, you need to fix this ASAP. And the way to do it is easier than you think: show your customers relevant results related to the term they’re looking for. Yes!

For example, if people are searching for “trainers”, instead of “sports shoes”, just add “trainers” as a synonym to sports shoes inside your advanced site search solution and you’ll reduce zero results.

Or you could even generate a custom result for “Trainers” to show only the products that you want to be seen and in the order that you choose for that particular query.

It won’t take you more than a couple of minutes to set up but it is incredibly effective.

The optimization of your site search and your zero results usually return a 10-20% increase in your overall revenue.

👉 Other benefits of Site Search

Site search has even more benefits for your store. It can help you push your eCommerce to the next level, with improvements to your SEO strategy and positioning while improving your user experience.

How? Let’s check it out:

✅  Improve your SEO 

With an advanced search, as you’re trying to deliver the best experience for your clients, you’ll get a lot of interesting information. How they are searching, where they click…

That information can give you SEO benefits too, because it’s going to help you understand what your users really search for and the exact keywords that they use to get there.

Those very specific keywords are not going to be present in any KW research tools, because this super-long-tail doesn’t have enough volume to be on their databases.

Tools like Semrush can help you understand how hard it is to rank for keywords, what the keyword volume is… etc. But having firsthand data directly from your customers is an input that you shouldn’t miss because it can accelerate that KW research process, improve your SEO strategy and enhance your business decisions. 

Sometimes, depending on your site search solution, the data can be available in real time too, and that can be an advantage to identify search trends and generate content around them. 

For example: If you see that people are looking for “Nike Air Jordan 1”, maybe you should add this product to your catalogue. So, when customers search for those, they’ll see you have it and will end up buying the product in your store. It’s a win-win!

✅  Give your user the best experience 

A well-optimized site search also has many benefits for your user experience

Google is getting smarter, and it is focusing more and more on metrics that measure how your visitors behave inside your store in an attempt to provide more relevant results. This is, in essence, what the Core Web Vitals update is about. 

And Site search can help you optimize for that.

For example, one metric that you have probably heard about is the bounce rate: The percentage of people that visit your store and leave without having interacted with anything. 

This metric usually improves with a better search experience because the users are compelled to interact more with your site. 

The average duration of sessions also increases since your users will have a better experience inside your store that will make them navigate more and discover your products.

✅  What features do you need to look for on a Site Search Solutions?

We have some suggestions:

  • Autocomplete: for easier interactions, so that users don’t need to finish typing 
  • Real-time results: that display current stock levels 
  • Synonyms: so users can still find what they want without perfect spelling
  • Faceted navigation: to help your users to tune their search
  • Mobile search: for all that more than 70 percent of users that do “mobile search”

If you want to go one step beyond that, make sure to search for Banners, so that you can also add photos or GIFs at the top of your search results. This is an extra dimension of personalization that can provide a memorable user experience, standing out from your competitors. 

✅   Personalization can also help you

Personalization in site search can mean many different things, one is the ability to manually change the importance of a product when appearing in your search results. There are many reasons you might want to prioritize certain products in results, such as having a better commercial margin or an excess of stock you want to get rid of. 

We call this feature “boosting”, as it boosts the position of those specific products that you choose. 

We can also talk abou how to personalize the experience of your users to provide more relevant results. For example, visual search and voice search are a great way to give your users more unique ways to search.

The latest and greatest in terms of personalized search experience is the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. This allows your search engine to show different products to different people depending on what they have searched before, where they have clicked, what products they have bought etc…

This is cutting-edge stuff that uses artificial intelligence, but cool stuff, uh? 

👉 Site Search and SEO: What are the differences between them?

There’s obviously a technological difference between Google search and your eCommerce site search. But the most interesting difference is the human behavioral difference between a user that searches on Google and one that searches inside your store:

  • If people are searching for something on your site, they already think that you have what they’re looking for.
  • If they don’t get relevant results, they’ll leave your site 70% of the time and they won’t come back because they’ve had a bad user experience.

Thanks to the data you collect from your site search, you can deliver the best user experience for your audience, this will result in lots of sales for your site and tons of happy customers.

👉 Conclusion

And just to end this post, about what site search is and the improvements you can do to make it better for your clients… A quick summary, with metrics to always have in mind: 

  1. The difference between the standard search and a nice optimized advanced search is an increase of 10 to 20 percent in revenue.
  1. Having a good search engine improves the user experience, what impacts your SEO 
  1. It also gives you first hand information directly from users to make better business decisions, such as product integration or boosting on your website

How to Manage Out of Stock Products in Site Search?

A great tip is to bring up related products that the user might also be interested in. Or, you could put a sign-up form for a mailing list so customers can sign up to get informed about when the product is back in stock. A potential way to incentivize signups could be to apologize for the out-of-stock product and offer a 5 percent discount in return for signing up. 

You can also let users know when the item will be back in stock. If the opportunity is there, let the user pre-order the item. 

Ranking Tips for Site Search

Always use human-oriented language as a part of your content strategy, primarily because users usually spend less than a second to decide whether or not that link is something that they want to click on or not.

Another tip is to make sure that your navigation is crawlable. Exposing those details to the search engines as pages that are indexable is going to give them a landing page. Those pages are a whole lot closer to the product that people want to buy. 

You can also get good success by indexing certain URLs that are created when somebody searches for a product because those are great landing pages as well. Category pages are really good too. 

Optimizing Category Pages

If you can get the right five words onto a page up at the top, maybe by the heading or an image with text, you can anchor the keyword theme on those category pages while keeping them brandable. A few sentences can go a long way.

Customer Service Queries with Site Search

Not everyone uses site search to find products that they want. Some users search for answers to customer-service queries about your site or your products. What you can do is build a customs search result for when people ask support questions. You can simply redirect all such queries to a support landing page or an FAQ page.