Findability on any e-commerce site is a beast all on its own. What if visitors’ searches return no results? Will they continue to search or did you lose your chance at a sale?
While product findability is a key factor of success in e-commerce, it is predominantly enabled by simple search alone. And while simple search usually doesn’t fulfill complex needs among users, website developers and owners still regard advanced search as just another boring to-do item during development. Owners won’t go so far as to leave it out, because every e-commerce website has some kind of advanced search functionality, but they probably do not believe it brings in much revenue.
- 50% of online buyers go straight to the search function
- 34% of visitors leave the site if they can’t find an (available) product
- Buyers are more likely than Browsers to use search (91%)
What can’t be found, can’t be bought:
- Search is often mission critical in e-commerce
- Users don’t know how to spell
- Users often don’t even know how to describe it
First of all, Findability can accelerate the sales process. And faster sales can increase conversions, because you will not be losing customers who give up trying to find products. Furthermore, fast, precise and successful searches increase your customers’ trust.
On both e-commerce and shopping comparison sites, users can find products in two different ways: searching and browsing. Searching obviously means using the site search whilst browsing involves drilling down through the categories provided by the website. The most common location for a site search on e-commerce sites is at the top of the page, and generally on the right side. Many e-commerce sites have a site search, user login, and shopping cart info all located in the same general area. Keeping the site search in a location that is pretty common will help it to be easier to find for some of your visitors who are accustomed to this trend.
Faceted search should be the de facto standard for an e-commerce website. When a user performs a simple search first, but then on the results page, he or she can narrow the search through a drill-down link (for a single choice) or a check box selection (for multiple non-overlapping choices). The structure of the search results page must also be crystal clear. The results must be ranked in a logical order (i.e. for the user, not for you) by relevance. Users should be able to scan and comprehend the results easily. Queries should be easy to refine and resubmit, and the search results page should show the query itself.
Spell-check is also crucial. Many products have names that are hard to remember or type correctly. Users might think to correct their misspelling when they find poor results, but they will be annoyed at having to do that… or worse, they might think that the website either doesn’t work properly or does not have their product.
Query completion can decrease the problems caused by mistyping or not knowing the proper terminology. Queries usually start with words; so unambiguous character inputting is crucial.
Search analytics, contextual advertisement and behavioral targeting is more than just finding a page or a product. When people search they tell you something about their interests, time, location and what is in demand right now, they say something about search quality by the way they navigate and click in result pages and finally what they do after they found what they were looking for.
A good e-commerce solution uses search technology to:
- Dynamically tailor a site to suit the visitors’ interests
- Help the user to find and explore
- Relate information and promote up- and cross sales
- Improve visitor satisfaction
- Increase stickiness
- Increase sales of related products or accessories
- Inspire visitors to explore new products/areas
- Provide-increased understanding of visitor needs/preferences
–> Convert visitors into returning customers!