How to design the perfect search bar to sell more with your e-commerce site

October 19, 2022

Surely you invest a lot of money every month in SEM and SEO to attract customers to the website of your online shop. But what if you were wasting part of that investment because customers are not able to find the products they want?

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How to design the perfect search bar to sell more with your e-commerce site

It has been calculated that 72% of internal search engines don’t meet users’ expectations. If you use a smart search engine, you can get conversions to go up – and by a lot. As an example, remember that the customers who use the Doofinder smart search get up to 20% more sales.

So, what is a “smart” search anyway? Let us explain that to you.

The 5 aspects that make an internal search engine a powerful weapon for sales

You already know that the search bar for your e-commerce site must:

  • Have a size and colors that make the user see it as soon as they land on your website.
  • Be located at the top of the screen (in the right corner or in the center), because that is where people are used to finding it.
  • Include predefined text inviting the user to search for something.

But that’s not enough. If you want the search to help you sell more, what you need is for it to be an advanced internal search engine. Or, as we like to say, it should be a “smart” search.

One that uses artificial intelligence to better understand your customers and improve the shopping experience. Because happy customers = higher conversion rates. Let’s see how this can be done.

1. It learns from your customers in order to better serve them (personalized search results)

To explain this to you, we are going to put ourselves in John’s shoes. John is a regular customer on a clothing e-commerce site. Not long ago, he was looking at the anorak jackets on the site because he was going to take a skiing trip – and he ended up buying one.

A few days later, Pepe visited the website again. He went to the search bar and wrote “boots” in the field.

And the first results that he got were snow boots. By taking into account the products that he was looking at and that he clicked on, the search engine (which remembered John) thought that the boots that he was looking for were probably snow boots.

And what would have happened if John had been looking at mountaineering equipment? In that case, when he typed “boots” into the search box, it would have shown him boots for climbing first.

Thanks to artificial intelligence and automatic learning, the search engine is able to better understand each user so as to personalize the search experience and give customers just the product they were looking for.

In just a few clicks, that user can have the product they are looking for in their shopping cart (and you get another sale).

2. It knows what you’re thinking

When someone connects to your shop, what they want to do is find the product they are interested in as soon as possible.

And that is much easier if your search engine offers suggestions to automatically complete search queries.

Take a look at the DosFarma website (one of Doofinder’s customers) as an example. Look at what happens if you write “gel” in the search bar:

Captura de pantalla 2021-02-24 a las 11.47.37

When we do this, the search engine gives us the option to go directly to hydroalcoholic hand sanitizer gels and to shower gels.

3. It “forgives” you for your spelling mistakes

Anyone can have a lapsus. For example, suppose that you have an online computer shop. A customer (let’s call him Mark this time) connects with the intention of buying a Xiaomi cell phone. Of course, as people are never too sure about how to spell the brand’s name, he writes “Shaomi.” The results? Xiaomi cell phones appear.

And that is because the search engine, which is quite smart, knows what brand people are looking for when they write “Shaomi” (or “Chaomi” or “Xaomi”).

But we can make things even more difficult for the search engine. What would have happened if Mark had searched for “Xiaomi cell phone” but you call these products “smartphones” in your descriptions? There’s still no problem because the search engine is able to understand synonyms.

4. It never leaves you with empty hands

Let’s go on with the previous example. After looking at different cell phones on your site, Mark finally decides on a Xiaomi model and it’s in his cart.

What would happen if he suddenly remembers that he’d also better update his headphones? He goes to the search engine again and writes, “Xiaomi wireless headphones.” The problem is that you’ve just run out of those headphones and there are none in stock.

In that case, a normal search engine would only tell Mark that there are no products that meet his search criteria. Or, worse yet, it would show him the product pages for Xiaomi headphones because, as it is not connected to your product feed, it cannot know that you haven’t got any in stock.

But remember that we aren’t using a normal search engine but instead a smart one. And what a smart search engine does is show Mark the wireless headphones by other brands that you do indeed have in stock, because it understands that he may also be interested in them.

Thus, it’s very likely that Mark will decide not to wait and buy an alternative make when he sees that there are brands available that are compatible with his new cell phone.

5.It studies the users and helps you to improve

Up until now, we’ve only touched upon how a smart search engine can improve the customer’s experience. But, can it help you to improve your sales strategy?

For example, by offering you data like:

  • What product pages get more clicks when appearing in search results.
  • What products have a greater conversion rate (to show those products first amongst the results) and what products have a lower conversion rate (a sign that you have to write a product description that is more attractive or that the price is too high, for example).
  • The products that customers are looking for and that you don’t have in your catalog (if you don’t sell raincoats on your ecommerce site but a lot of people are looking for them, those are lost sales).
    Dashboard Doofinder
    That data, in addition to the basic KPIs for your ecommerce site, can be quite useful to you for decision making.

Has your internal search engine passed the test?

As you have seen, the search bar of your ecommerce site plays a fundamental role in your sales. If the search experience is positive, your customers will feel more comfortable and your conversion rates will rise sky high.

For example, we were telling you before that increases in sales reach 20% for Doofinder customers.
But we know that perhaps you prefer to find that out for yourself. In that case, you can click here to download Doofinder and try it for free for 30 days on your online shop. If you aren’t convinced, you just have to uninstall it when the free trial period has finished. And if you find that it works for you… then get ready to sell.

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Chiara AlgarottiInternational Marketing Specialist at Doofinder, the powerful site search technology for ecommerce. More than 5000 online shops of all sizes are already selling more with our tool.

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