How Effective Site Search Can Boost Sales

Oct 26, 2012 2:23 AM  By

During the RKG Road Show in New York City, Ed Hoffman, vice president of Global Sales and Business Development with SLI Systems, gave a few pointers at the Google offices in Manhattan on how to create the most effective and profitable site searches.

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If done correctly, Hoffman said, the site search on your ecommerce page can reduce site abandonment, increase conversion rates, and increase customer engagement. But, he cautioned, that “73% of visitors will leave a site if the search is poor.”

“The most important page on your site is site search,” he said.
Why? Because visitors who use site search are proven to convert better than those who do not, Hoffman said. Using the feature, he said, is also the best way for a consumer to find a particular item they are looking for on your site.

Hoffman said the success rate of site search all comes down to how it looks and where it is placed. Here are some tips he recommends for site search optimization.

  • Place the site search box in a consistent location such as the upper middle or upper right portion of your site.
  • Make it prominent on the page and make sure it stands out against other logos or messages.
  • Have some contrast to the site search box, make sure it stands out in the eyes of your visitor.
  • Within the site search box, make sure there is some text such as “Search products” or “Get Help Here,” letting the consumer know what options they have.
  • Give consumers the auto complete option when typing queries’.

Looking at the search analytics and seeing what your customers are looking for on your site is also a great way to greatly improve your searches and click boxes, he said. As an example, Hoffman brought up how the jelly bean company, Jelly Belly, now allows users to search for jelly beans just by color, this premise came out after the company noticed many customers requesting and searching for bags of single colored items for favors at bridal showers, weddings or parties.

Probably the best advice that Hoffman offered was to always test your site’s search capabilities on a weekly basis. This will not only make sure your search is working properly but will also ensure the best customer experience for your users.

“You will have a better user experience and you will make more money,” Hoffman said.

Erin Lynch is the associate editor at Multichannel Merchant. Erin can be reached at 203-358-3755 or by emailing her at erin.lynch@penton.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @LynchMCM or on LinkedIn.