The importance of on-site search

An often overlooked element in eCommerce is the on-site search. When utilised properly, the onsite search can be a massive conversion rate game-changer. When we look at conversion optimisation for our clients, we make a point of optimising the on-site search, because we know how much internal search can affect an online store. In this article, we’ll discuss why search is so important, why your users love it, and how to optimise it.

Why is on-site search important?

Put simply, on-site search allows your users to shorten their customer journey, giving them a better customer experience. A better customer experience means a better brand reputation and higher conversions. A user that’s searching, knows exactly what they’re looking for so it’s worth nurturing this type of user as they’re likely to be further down the buying process.

Users that engage in search are 5 times more likely to convert.

-Klevu

On average, about 15% of monthly traffic will be using the onsite search. That’s a big proportion of your traffic all interacting in the same way on your site.

How do you optimise on-site search?

Now we know that on-site search is important, we need to optimise it. Start by looking at the UX placement of the search box, is it a small icon hidden away on the far end of the menu? Put a focus on your search by making it a key feature in the header. We’ve found that, depending on your user data, full-width search can have a huge impact on the user interaction rate.

Once you’ve got the UX and placement sorted, it’s time to look at the functionality of the on-site search. You need to make sure that each search query produces relevant results to ensure a positive site search experience. Make sure the functionality of the search bar is as friendly as possible and it allows the user to type their full query in.

Don’t forget mobile

It’s not a secret that mobile dominates the internet, but with 48% of mobile users preferring search over category navigation, you can’t afford not to optimise on-site search for mobile. We’re living in an era where speed, and especially speed on mobile, is a decision-making factor. A slow search on mobile will produce bigger bounce rates, lower conversion rates, and a bad user experience. Make sure your search isn’t just responsive, make sure it’s fast and user friendly for mobile.

Learn from your users

We love data, graphs and analytics here at ELS, it’s a great way to learn more about your customers and what they want. Collecting site search data can help you collate a holistic view on your users and their needs. Using the “not found” search terms can help you optimise the tags and content in your product pages. You can also use this data to gain some insight into potential new products.

Optimise with Klevu

Klevu is an intelligent, AI driven search module that integrates with Shopify seamlessly. They’re one of our preferred software partners, for several reasons:

    • It will learn and add search terms into your products automatically, helping produce accurate results. No need to crawl through pages of data, Klevu will do it for you.
    • Klevu’s auto-complete pulls in rich media, pushes up-sells and ultimately, keeps the user journey as engaging as possible.
    • Personalised search allows you to target the right product to the right customer from within the search experience.
    • Klevu are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in on-site search. An average conversion rate from basic search is 3-5% and with Klevu, we’ve seen sites hit a 20% conversion rate.

In our experience, shoppers are 3 times more likely to convert with search. On-site search is an important avenue for the retailer to understand the intent and the demand of the shopper. We recently analysed $1.4B of total business from 869 online stores over 7 months and recorded 27% ($360M) of revenue directly attributed to on-site search.

– Amy Marks, Marketing Manager at Klevu

What else can you do with on-site search?

Every element of your eCommerce site, user journey and omni-channels should be talking to each other. Integrating on-site search with the rest of your marketing campaigns will see a bigger ROAS in your ads, a higher conversion rate on site and higher returning customer rate.

Search with Ads

We know that users that are searching are further down the buying process. Use their search data to retarget them across several platforms. Looking at common search terms and analysing the data from Google Analytics could help you create a new list of keywords to bid on.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a super powerful tool, but only when it’s used correctly. That means linking the data from your on-site search into your email marketing channels. Setting up an automated email campaign that brings in products, up-sells and related products from a user’s search request is a very powerful tool.

Omni-Channel

Using a tool like Klevu to run your search gives you literally thousands of opportunities to grow your brand, sales and customer base. Pulling in search data into different omni-channel marketing platforms allows for a smooth, seamless user journey. The list of omni-channel marketing opportunities are endless but it’s important to include search-data along with customer profile information.

Search doesn’t stop at search

Great marketing isn’t about getting your users to interact with your eCommerce store. Great marketing is about providing an amazing user experience and putting the right product in front of the right customer. If you give your on-site search a bit of attention and create a marketing strategy around it, it can help your eCommerce store flourish.
Get in touch to find out more about on-site search, Klevu, omni-channel and eCommerce marketing.

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.