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Have you ever landed on an e-commerce site with an idea of what you were looking for, but struggled to find the right product or category on the site? Perhaps you tried clicking on various links and navigating through the categories in the site’s catalog but were faced with pages of products to trawl through. Frustrated, you left the site in search of an alternative. 

If only that website had a search function for you to easily find the product you were looking for.

That search tool on your e-commerce site is an absolute must. Some customers may want to simply browse through the different products and categories on your site like they might browse the shelves in a physical store. But those who are looking for something specific or who are shopping in a hurry might not have the patience required to search your store manually.

Here are some tips and best practices for employing a search function on your e-commerce site

Fast

Online shoppers are impatient. We are now used to Google delivering us millions of search results in fractions of a second. So, if someone conducts a search on your e-commerce site and it takes a long time to fetch the results, or the results page is slow to load, then the customer may lose patience and exit your site. To be effective, your e-commerce site search tool needs to be fast. This may involve upgrading your server to improve search speed.

Predictive

Another feature that Google has developed and changed our expectations with is autocomplete. We start typing a few letters and Google instantly knows what we are looking for, or at least makes suggestions. Including this predictive feature in your e-commerce site search makes the process much more convenient for the user. This increases the likelihood that they will find what they are looking for and make a purchase.

Visible

Don’t make your customers have to search your site just to find the search tool. It shouldn’t be hidden away or surrounded by clutter. Make sure the e-commerce site search is a prominent feature on every page of your site. Your customers are more likely to use this feature if it is easy to locate.

Monitor search queries

The search terms your customers look for on your site are valuable data, offering an insight into what your customers want to buy from you. This can help you identify the most popular products or product categories on your site, and also help you predict future trends. You can create promotions around popular products to encourage more sales and higher average order values. If a lot of users are searching for a specific product that you don’t sell, then it may be worth considering expanding your product catalog.

A search box is an invaluable tool for e-commerce sites that will help your customers have a great shopping experience on your website. Does your e-commerce site have one?