Does your website have its own search engine (also known as “site search”)? That is, does it have a search box on the home page that allows users to search for keyword terms within the site? This is a vital function if your site is an ecommerce website, as it helps people find products quickly and easily. Without site search, many shoppers will become frustrated and leave your site for a more user-friendly experience.
At a recent e-commerce conference in Brazil, Mahmood Ahmad of FindWise, a site-search consulting firm, estimated that the percentage of visitors using site search was around 50 percent. Clearly, site search can have an impact on your sales.
With that in mind, what sort kinds of design choices makes an online retail site more search-centric? Here are a few recommendations.
Make Search Fields More Readable
Without site search, users are unable to navigate through a complex website. Make your site search function readable by enlarging it and making the font of the word “search” a plain, readable font. There are no tricks with a site search; it’s just a great ecommerce tool that needs to be readable to users if it’s going to be effective.
Of course, beyond making the search box large enough, you can make your site search visible by placing it prominently at the top of the home page. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and CafePress are all sites that exemplify the effectiveness of this design practice. Check them out for good site search design inspiration, and then consult your web development provider to see if the same design will work for your site.
Suggest Search Terms
It’s been said that about one third of site search users take advantage of site search suggestions if they are provided. Those users are twice as likely to make a purchase, and they spend around 17 percent more in the average order. Who knows why? The point is to tap into it when developing your ecommercesite.
Here’s what good search suggestions look like: They appear below the actual search field as a drop down. They are written in plain, readable font and are intuitive enough to be clearly relevant to the terms the user is typing. These are principles that just make good sense for all aspects of web development, but are particularly applicable to the site search aspect of website design.