How to Create a Great On-Site Search Function for Your Store


Think about the last time you used the on-site search function on an online store and didn’t get what you were looking for. Or when you had to wade through eight pages of search results to find a product. How did that make you feel? Chances are you closed that window and moved to another site—likely one that belongs to a competitor. And that’s what every other customer would have done.

It’s no surprise that 72% of online businesses fail to deliver on-site search expectations. Keep in mind, prospective customers prefer using the on-site search function to find products because it’s faster than category navigation. As such, site search usability is one of the most important areas you need to optimize so your visitors can find what they want easily and faster.

The job of an ecommerce site search function is to filter the products in your store based on user search queries. Visitors who use the on-site search function to find the products they want are more likely to convert than regular site visitors. Creating a great on-site function should, therefore, be a priority if you want to boost conversions and profitability. Here’s how you can do it:

Use Autocomplete

Autocomplete is a great site search time saver for your prospective customers and site visitors; it helps you guide and assist shoppers in their buying process. Implementing autocomplete on your site search function through a tool Magento search can improve customer engagement and increase sales and order values. In fact, shoppers who click through an item from an autocomplete suggestion while using site search are six times more likely to convert than regular site visitors.

Unlike scoped search, autocomplete doesn’t limit visitors to searching one category. Instead, it predicts and provides shoppers with a list of drop-down suggestions based on what they have started typing. This helps them save time as they can quickly and easily find the product they’re looking for.

Include Search Input Within Result Pages

Imagine this: you visit a departmental store and ask one of the employees to get you product A. But as soon as they get the product, you realize that’s not what you want. You didn’t give them all the details. You ask them to get you Product A but of a different size or brand. They get it for you. And now you’re happy and satisfied.

As an ecommerce business, you need to give your shoppers an opportunity to quickly amend their search without having to type the search query again. Including search input within the search result pages can make it easier for them to change part of the description or add more detail so they can find what they’re looking for.

Allow Visitors to Search Product Codes

In a report titled The Current State of Ecommerce Search, Baymard Institute states that 60% of ecommerce websites don’t support searches with abbreviations and symbols. The report also finds that searches by product model number or name are not supported by 16% of online stores—despite having these details on the product page.

These statistics point to the fact that your eCommerce site search shouldn’t limit visitors to product names only. It should allow visitors to search for products using abbreviations, symbols, model numbers, and product codes. Searching for product codes and model numbers will make it easy for visitors to find the exact item they’re looking for. This may not apply to all shoppers but will definitely boost your conversions.

Allow Visitors to Filter the Results Page

The search results page is one of the factors that determine whether a shopper moves an item to the cart or leaves your site. Why not customize your site search to allow customers to refine items based on attributes such as price, new arrivals, latest trends, size, brand name, etc.? They can search using broad phrases like “long dress” and get a wide range of products, which they can now sort based on the brand, price, and other features they’re looking for. This will save them time and give them an improved search experience.

Place the Search Box Strategically

If you choose to have an on-site search bar on your website, make sure it’s visible on all your pages. You’re including it to make it easier for online shoppers to find the items they want from your store. It, therefore, makes sense to make sure your visitors can find it. It’s recommended to stick it in the header, either beside or above the navigation.

Ensure the search bar is at the same location throughout the pages. You can’t have it beside your navigation on the home page then as a separate element below the page on your other pages. Your visitors will expect to find it in the same place. Don’t make it hard for them.