Don’t be fooled by the humble blank white box at the top of your website. It packs powerful potential. According to recent research, almost one-third of all digital shoppers use the site search box; and is two-times more effective at capturing conversions.
And this is despite the fact that site search functionality is pretty much neglected by ecommerce shops, with 84% not measuring or optimizing its capabilities.
In an era of all digital most of the time, every inch of a site and every functionality has been under supervision and analysis in order to produce better and more effective online experiences for consumers – who are increasingly demanding and expecting their digital journeys to be personalized.
And one of the more unsung, unsexy, aspects of the digital journey is the site search box – poor fella. But it does have its fans, who appreciate exactly what this unsung hero can offer. One place where it is appreciated is within the functionalities of Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC).
Much like the rest of the leading ecommerce platform, you can customize many aspects of the site search functionality: you can include or exclude items from the search, prioritize certain items within the results, enable or disable autocorrect. SFCC also enables brands to build into their site search driven redirects.
So if you don’t like the look of your current search box and its limited capabilities, give it a makeover. Add some zhuzh. Here’s how.
The ground zero of what all search engines should do is returning relevant results from user searches. If it cannot carry out this well then online shoppers are not only not going to use it but are going to browse on competitor sites.
Machines and AI won’t always be able to figure out the intent of shoppers all the time, especially if their queries are susceptible to cataclysmic errors in spelling or foggy trains of thought. Take for example a user who wants to look for earphones and so searches for “erfones”. A standard return would likely read “What the hell are erfones, stupid?” or something similar at least.
You can set rules for your returns to ensure accuracy. For example allow for the misspelling of 3 to 5 letters, or even allow for exact matches only if you have two items that are very similar in spelling.
Set for synonyms
The best and most used search engine, Google, has become so dominant that it has become a verb. To google something has become an everyday phrase, with its masterful natural language processing abilities. And it’s resulted in online shoppers expecting similar performances on ecommerce sites.
Perhaps you’re a huge Sherlock Holmes fan – or a Sherlockian if you prefer – and are desperate for a deerstalker, the famed hat that Sherlock is fond of wearing. But you don’t know the exact name of the hat, so you try searching for “Sherlock hat” or “detective hat”. But you’re a serious and respectable store and don’t sell gimmicky products. And so “Sherlock” and “detective” are not mentioned in the product description.
Building a synonym list ensures that you capture these types of searches that can go undetected and lead to higher conversions. It can be as simple as fitting in the term “sweater” as a synonym for “pullover.”
Avoid “No Results Found” at all costs
There is no longer any excuse to return “no results” from your website’s queries. Because whatever a visitor is attempting to find, you’re going to have something similar. You’re going to have recommended products.
Let’s say a user searches for the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but you don’t have it. You can instead return results that include similar titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 or WWII. Or rather, return different games of similar first-person shooter genre like Battlefield 5.
The search behavior of online shoppers is a reliable source of data to help construct accurate search results. Knowing what each customer has been trying to find and how they react to the results can aid in figuring out how the search capability is working and where it’s not.
Of course, these site search capabilities are going to depend on where your ecommerce site is hosted. On a platform like Salesforce Commerce Cloud all of the above is possible while if you’re on WordPress (on the WooCommerce ecommerce platform) your options are going to be much more limited.
PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware) development & strategy teams. Contact us to see how we can work together.