Make Your Product Search Box Your Customer’s Best Friend

Friday, September 30th, 2011
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As ecommerce evolves and technology improves, online shoppers are growing more and more impatient online. It’s more important than ever to incorporate a search box on every webpage of your site. Search helps customers find what they are looking for with minimal time and limited frustrations. However, it’s not all search boxes are created equal.

Here are some key points to consider when designing search for your online store:

1. Keep the search box in a consistent place on each webpage. Once a customer finds it and uses it, they shouldn’t have to look for it again.

2. Use suggestive search when possible, making sure the suggestions return results. Have you noticed how when you start typing something into the Google search box it shows you possible queries? Take a hint from the search experts and incorporate similar technology into your site/online store.

3. A good search box allows you to track what the customers have searched for on your site giving you the ability to learn from that data. You might very well find that your customers expect to find a product that you don’t currently carry.

4. Display the number of results and reiterate the search query on the search results page.

5. Do not forget to incorporate a search box on your 404 page. People landing on a 404 page probably need a search box more than anyone.

6. Make sure your product database can accept searchable words that aren’t necessarily displayed on your product detail screen. This can be handy for misspellings and the like.

7. Provide advanced search options for people that want to do some fancy querying like looking for products in a specific price range.

Believe it or not, many merchants that setup an online store and do not ever simulate the shopping experience themselves. Take some time to pretend you are a customer in your store and make sure your search feature is friendly.

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If you are an existing Nexternal customer:
Consider using the Search Suggestions feature. This feature controls whether or not Keyword Search textboxes in the Online Store list suggestions while typing. This feature thus assists your customers in finding what they are looking for by suggesting words and phrases that will return at least one result. To activate this, login to your OMS and visit Settings/Boolean Options/Keyword Search Suggestions. Also, to include a search on other pages of your website, use the Search Suggestion Widget (Products/Widgets).

Coming from a medical and non-profit management background, Taryn has extensive experience in customer service and marketing. She is a Senior Account Manager for Nexternal and loves working with her clients to develop social media and marketing strategies to improve their online presence. In her spare time, she also runs a successful eCommerce jewelry and essential oils business.

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