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Improve conversions with an effective website search function

If you’re looking for great ecommerce tips then you’ve come to the right place – and this week, we’re going to take a look at your website search function, and why it’s so important for converting visitors into buyers.

When you think about the way that people use the internet, search clearly plays a significant role in finding the information you’re looking for – after all, Google or a similar search engine is the first port of call for most users. Therefore, surely it makes sense to ensure that your onsite search function is well designed too?

The problem is that this is an element often overlooked on modern websites, with a trend especially among responsive sites to hide the search behind a button. But let’s be clear about this: your search box needs to be clear!

Our tips for creating an effective search function

Modifying or improving your site search functionality probably doesn’t rank highly on your ‘to do’ list – but by making life easier for your visitors, they’re more likely to:

  • Find what they’re looking for
  • Spend money
  • Come back again
  • Recommend your website

Here are some things to consider when it comes to onsite search – make these improvements and you could soon see better conversion rates:

1. Prominence – don’t make users have to fight to find a function – make sure your search box is clear and obvious so visitors can quickly see it when they need to use it. Make sure it’s on every page and in the same place.

2. Speed – search is supposed to speed things up, so if this functionality is lagging and takes ages to return results, what you’re giving in one hand, you’re taking from the other. Look into better hosting if your searches take longer than a second.

3. Autocomplete – offering a dropdown menu of some suggestions based on the beginnings of their search query can make things faster, plus also provide some other ideas that may inspire an additional purchase.

4. Size – if you limit the amount of text allowed, you’re limiting functionality and effectiveness. Make sure your search box is big enough for several words, enabling users to narrow down items to more specific and relevant terms.

5. Departments – rather than just allow searches for an overall product, go one step further and offer the option to select the department too – it makes finding things faster and easier, which is exactly what your customers want.

There are lots of things you can do to help with searches on your website, but essentially for the function to work well you need to make sure that all products have good clear descriptions and tags too. Don’t overlook your website search function, otherwise it looks like you’re overlooking your customer experience – and that is not what great reputations are made of!

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