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Design the search-elements for better conversion funnel

Friday, January 17th, 2014 by Servage

We are living in the age of a tech-savvy generation. Our modern visitors are thus jumping directly to the search feature of an e-commerce storefront, unless they are simply browsing or not clear on what they want to buy. Our complex e-commerce websites are equipped with the latest search functionality and its features. Therefore, I discuss some important aspects of search features and their role in conversion.

Designing Search

Let’s first think about designing the product search. We need to conceive of two things during designing. First is the placement for the product search. Generally, a search field is placed on the top of the page, sometimes just above or just under the main menu, depending on the types of products and what is appropriate to layout. If you were to place the search field at the bottom or in the middle portion of the web page, it would look odd and your visitors may not even find it.

The second important consideration is its prominence among other design elements. If your search field is difficult to notice at first glance, your bounce rate could be high, if you are attracting a tech-savvy audience. So, make it visible and easily accessible. From the designer perspective, if we make our search aesthetically pleasing, we can lure more visitors, as well as gain the positive impression that we truly care about our customers. By this, I don’t mean making extravagant graphics, but we do need a subtle design using minimum images and a good combination of mild colors that should fit well with our theme for the e-commerce store. A pleasing and prominent field border is a desirable characteristic, along with sumptuous fonts and their colors.

Care with Search

In addition, we need a highly functional search engine in our e-commerce web design. For instance, we can use Celbros or SOLR search engines to make our search responses quick and accurate. Yes, accuracy is an important factor for your visitors in deciding whether to stay or not. I say this because, if your search does not return relevant results from a single keyword search, or is even returning the same results for both plural and singular keywords, then the user will likely trust you less. Therefore, your search results should be differing in both cases.

On the other side of the coin, your search results need not be an exact match, but should demonstrate intelligence and give appropriate results when singular, plural and misspelled words have been entered. If your search functionality is not user friendly, then you will probably observe a high bounce rate from your home page.

Today, we have auto-suggestions that are common in many search engines, so this is a must have type feature which will manifest an appropriate keyword recommendation for the initial characters typed into the search field. This is important, as I have seen many users who don’t have an exact idea of the products. So they try to place some near matching product names to get desired products in the auto-suggestion fields.

Advanced Search

Currently, we have very powerful and customized search engines, which are capable of giving us a multi-faceted search, suggestive search, filtered search, as well as other options where we see search results with product thumbnails, price and other product properties. These make search results more refined and customized, according to our products and their categories. In advanced search engines, you can go deeper by further filtering products by using advance search criteria and that reach the desired product within moments, despite your store having thousands of products and hundreds of product categories.

With advanced search engines, you have enough scope to compare similar products by price and other properties before reaching the actual product page. Therefore, incorporating these grand search engines, according to the size and nature of your e-commerce website, is a wise decision by the web designer.

References & More Reading

Holy Grail of eCommerce Conversion Optimization – 91 Point Checklist and Infographic

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