It has been seen that websites having convincing search options manage to convert better than those that lack search options. It is hence, essential for ecommerce sites to come out with actionable search options. The purpose for the same is to offer visitors with an improvised user experience and encourage them to continue looking for the product they wish to purchase. You will have to make sure that the search results are something that matches the search queries left by the visitors. To help you come across the best search practices, here are some tips along with examples from leading retailers. You will have to work closely upon the boxes and their functionality. What matters the most in this case is the placement and design of the boxes as each of them could make a great difference in usage and the search experience for user. To help you come across the best search practices, here are some tips along with examples from leading retailers.
Easy to locate search box
Considering the prominence of search box over a particular webpage, the user’s decision to search for a required product and make the purchase could be affected. It is an important feature and should be hence displayed over the site in a way that it seems prominently visible. A mistake that most of the designers commit while creating websites is that in an attempt to maintain a clean website they make it difficult for the users to locate the search boxes. Consider the webpage of Zara which is so clean and subtle in design that the search option gets overlooked. What manages to justify the situation is the fact that search option is not crowded by other navigational elements.
Bigger search boxes for typical queries
There are times when the users feel that their search options have been confined owing to the space available in the search bar. Depending upon what sort of website it is, the length for query could vary. It is important to consider the average length of the products stocked over the website to decide the search box size. Consider the example of websites that sell electrical products which are usually long character wise. As the text starts to disappear, there are chances for the user to face difficultly in reviewing the search term.
Facilitate auto complete for site search
Nothing could be more convenient than helping the users in completing their search. Sometimes the user has an idea about what to search for but does not know what to write in the search bar. This is when features like auto complete could help in completing the search. This feature improves the search experience while limiting the task of users. As the user starts typing, he or she starts getting suggestions regarding the terms that match the search query. Based upon the search terms, the website would then manage to suggest data and serve the matching products at first. This would also help when the user is not sure about the spelling of the term he or she is searching for.
Auto-complete for merchandising
Just like auto complete option is required for user search, auto complete feature that suggests merchandise as per the search terms. Auto-complete is quite helpful in suggesting the customers products as per the search term. This would handle issues such as misspellings and also lets you highlight all the major brands that you wish to promote. For example, if the user is looking for a gift basket, this feature would start recommending products along with complete price and image.
All pages should have site search box
You do not have to restrict the search box till the main website instead you will have to place a search box over all the web pages. With a search box over each of the web page, the user would not have to visit the homepage again and again to make a new search. However, this has to be done carefully else the user might feel distracted by the search box when available over pages such as the checkout page where they just need to make the final purchase. Therefore, this particular area should be left without a search box.
Leave no zero result pages
There are times when a user searches for a product that is not available in the catalogue. This is when the site shows a product with ‘0 zero results found’. Such a message seems highly distracting for the user and eventually makes him head for some other site, without actually evaluating the available options. Auto complete would always lead to some relevant product but if in case it is not available, you will need to be sure that there is no dead end for users. Make sure that the user is shown some alternative or related products instead. Consider the website for House of Fraser where they have achieved relevant results from almost every section. It retains the search term to let the user modify it as per convenience.