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How To Increase Your Revenue by 47% by Optimizing eCommerce Site Search

September 2, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Paige Tyrrell, Head of Marketing at Prefixbox

Shopping is one of the most popular online activities. Online retail sales totaled $3.53 trillion US dollars in 2019 and analysts expect that total to increase to $6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022.

Despite this growth, consumers can’t always find what they’re looking for. According to research by Baymard, 31% of all site product searches end with no results. Not optimizing site search causes a huge loss in revenue.

Here are a few quick facts about site search optimization:

-Semantic search can increase site revenue by 47%.
– Autocomplete can boost cart value by 19% and decrease 0-result searches by 31%.
– Related search functions cause a 6.16% growth in revenue from search and a 6.76% jump in conversion rates.

Optimizing your site search function is an easy win for your website. Let us help you out with 9 optimization steps you can take to grow your revenue and help your customers.

1. Finish Their Thoughts with Autocomplete to Make Search Easier

Customers expect Autocomplete. Predictive text and searches help people find results better, even if it can be a little slower. Because of these expectations, your site should use Autocomplete.

Autocomplete is a powerful tool for marketing your products. 60% of users will choose suggested searches over their own text. You can use this tendency to lead shoppers to your most successful products.

There are some simple things you can do to make your site’s autocomplete a winner:

– Create a visual difference between the searcher’s text and the suggestions.
– Eliminate any competing visual elements. Darken the background, avoid pop-ups, and stop any other functions while the search box is in use.
– Keep the autocomplete list short and manageable. 6-9 results are enough to help most shoppers.

Autocomplete is one of the easiest wins for your site search.

2. Tolerate or Gently Correct Errors to Improve UX of the Search Box

Everyone makes mistakes. Pointing them out to your customers or returning zero results for their search costs you sales.

In fact, 34% of the top 50 e-commerce sites don’t give useful results when a searcher misspells a single letter in a product name. There is a better way to manage errors.

You can configure your site search to recognize common misspellings and redirect searchers to the correct product.

Suggest related products using natural language processing instead of ending with a zero results page.

Avoid zero results searches through search customization.

3. Improve Search UX with Guided Navigation

Helping customers find the best products is the goal of site search. If you have a large store, then this can be challenging due to the size of your catalog. You can implement better navigation in your search feature.

One way to do this is to use faceted search. Faceted filtering, or guided navigation, uses dynamic filters to help people sort through products according to their search query. This differs from standard filters because users can apply multiple facet filters simultaneously.

Faceted filtering is a better way to search. Shoppers employ multiple filters to search through different categories. The benefit for the shopper is a specific search process leading to better search results

4. Analyze Your Data to Close Exits and Open Opportunities

Improving your site search is not magic or guesswork.

There are real numbers, even science, involved.

You can use analytics to discover when customers leave your site without buying and what people want to buy but might not be finding.

Here are a few ways to use analytics to improve your revenue and UX:

Use Popular Search Terms to Identify Trends

You can use popular search terms data to identify trending products, search mismatches, and products that aren’t converting. Armed with this information, you can customize your search results to point customers towards more relevant products or higher-converting items.

Zero Results Pages are Opportunities for Growth

Your analytics should provide you with a list of searches that produced no results. This is the worst way for a customer search to end. There are at least two things you can do with these:

– Map zero results search terms to products in your catalog to drive sales.
– Identify items people want but you do not sell. These may be growth opportunities for your website.

You should avoid zero results pages at all costs. Use these techniques to move customers to a better outcome.

Find Early Exits and Close Them

If you can identify when visitors leave your site early, then you can create strategies for moving them to a purchase.

One of the most common exit points are zero results pages. We’ve already mentioned these so let’s focus on a couple of other examples.

First, you can spot when people leave your site due to many irrelevant search results. This can be avoided by better natural language processing, synonym management, or faceted filtering. Second, you can see when customers leave the site after seeing search results. These results might be irrelevant or not optimized.

Once you find the exits, you can take steps to close them.

Use CTR Data to Enhance Product Selection

Click-Through Rate (CTR) is a great metric for measuring how appealing your products are to your customers. If customers see search results but do not click on them, then you can look for ways to make those products more attractive. Likewise, you might think of altering your search results to lead customers to products that sell better.

5. Improve Search Result Relevance to Boost Sales

When people search for products on your site, they want to find a product matching their desire. Irrelevant search results are frustrating and can lead to bounce or cart abandonment.

The opposite is also true: improving search result relevance will increase sales.

Increasing search result relevance is going to use similar technologies and processes as the next two optimization methods: machine learning and synonym management.

Search relevance can be increased by using semantic search. This combines natural language processing with AI analytics to generate the best results for each search. This technique should rank results based on their relevance and popularity.

6. Use Machine Learning to Personalize Results for Shoppers

Machine learning isn’t creepy like Terminator. Instead, your site can harness the power of the shopper’s browsing history to deliver customized results.

This could be simple, such as showing women’s clothes to female browsers, or more complex.

Complex machine learning could apply several characteristics of the shopper to suggest more specific results.

The benefit of machine learning is a streamlined search process for the user. As search results and suggestions increase in relevance, engagement, click-through rates, and conversion rates also increase.

The massive growth in ecommerce means increasing availability of data. Harnessing the power of data and machine learning will give some websites the edge over websites that adopt this technology later.

7. Great Synonym Management Produces Better Results

When someone searches for a ‘side table,’ they might want a bedside table, a hall table, or a small coffee table for the sofa suite.

In showing this variety of results, you’re leveraging synonym management.

Synonym management is a difficult task – as you can see, even our simple table example produced three synonyms in just a few moments of thought.

In order to effectively leverage synonym management, you should use a site search tool that has this function built in.

8. Keep the Search Function Available on the Results Page to Help Shoppers Zero In on Their Target

After someone executes a search, they may not see the product they want.

If their original query has disappeared, they feel like they have to start over again. This is a discouraging message

Instead, keep the search available on the results page.

This will help your shoppers add to their original search if they don’t find their desired product.

The second search will feel like a step closer instead of a start over.

9. Mobile Shoppers Buy More So Optimize for Their Screens

Mobile shoppers spend more money and make more impulse purchases, so it makes good business sense to target these customers.

A mobile-optimized site search will convert more visitors to buyers.

To achieve this, try to do a few simple things:

– Have a typo tolerant Autocomplete – typos occur much more frequently on mobile devices.
– Keep the search results list to a shorter length. Mobile visitors might have room for only one, two, or maybe three products. Showing them too many will waste space and could be confusing.
– Pay careful attention to competing widgets and visual clutter. Small screens can be overwhelmed by too many things happening. When the customer is searching, disable any opt-in widgets, up-selling tactics, or anything else that will distract the customer.


Implementing these 9 optimization methods will improve the customer experience on your site and increase your online revenue.

Put these into practice and watch your revenue grow.

– leverage a typo-tolerant Autocomplete
– implement faceted search
– analyze data to make improvements
– optimize for mobile visits


Author bio:

Paige Tyrrell is the Head of Marketing at Prefixbox, a leading eCommerce site search solution provider. She’s an American who’s been living in Budapest since 2017 and loves giving #alwayslearning sessions to help people optimize their online stores.


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