Top 5 eCommerce search best practices 2021

Top 5 eCommerce search best practices 2021
Story of AMS
Story of AMS
3 min read

Are you aware of how much impact the site search has on your eCommerce success? 43% of visitors head for the search bar straight away. Not to mention, consumers who use a search bar are 2 to 3 times more likely to convert, compared to non-searchers. In an online world where consumers expect relevant and rapid results, site search calls to be much more than just a basic search bar.

Although site search is rarely the first thing that comes to mind when trying to improve a user's experience, this doesn't take away from its increasing importance. More than 40% of consumers imply that having a well-functioning search bar may be the most convenient tool a website could offer. Consumers are fast to leave and click the next best site when not satisfied within an average of ten seconds of exploring your website.

So, what’s the best way to prevent your potential customers from returning to their Google search page? We’ll walk through the top 5 eCommerce site search practices to keep in mind:

  • User-friendly services

  • Analyzing consumer data

  • Optimization for mobile commerce

  • Intuitive result pages

  • Guided selling

1. Make the search bar user-friendly

The search bar is often the first thing consumers look for when visiting your online store. It’s considered to be the backbone of the intuitive navigation on your site. While clear navigation offers great efficiency for your customers to explore, a search bar will help to solve any potential discovery obstacles. There are several effective ways of making your search bar user-friendly and intuitive. Think of solutions like:

  • Place the search bar in a highly visible spot, while ensuring it's in the same location on all your web pages. This way, consumers will know exactly where to find it when browsing your site.

  • Make sure the search bar is large enough to bring attention to it.

  • Create a search bar that is long enough to accept the average search string. In case you need to save space, add the feature of expanding the bar when clicked.

2. Analyze your customers’ search data

Whenever a user interacts with your website, they generate valuable and convenient data you can use to identify consumer needs and drive business priorities. By analyzing your site search data, you can improve the quality of your search function, discover important keywords and gain insights to improve your conversion rate. The collected data can also deliver specific improvements like identifying the most popular products and predicting trends. By gaining these insights, you’ll be able to make popular products easy to find, highlight on-trend or on-sale items, and help visitors discover related products.

3. Optimize your website for mobile search

Underestimating the importance of creating a mobile-friendly webshop is, surprisingly enough, still a very popular misconception among merchants. Considering how mobile search is expanding rapidly, and has now surpassed desktop browsing significantly, it is more crucial than ever before to deliver a relevant and optimized mobile experience.

When expanding to a mobile approach, your website should be able to provide great impacts such as instant results, typo tolerance, and search suggestions. You should also take into account mobile-specific features, such as choosing between a tap bar, icon, or full search bar to enhance your users' experience.

4. Create intuitive result pages

Your website's result page should be clear, inclusive, and predict users' needs, without being overwhelming. Consider the following options to add value to your results page:

  • Drive consumers to find new interests in your products by using promoted banners within the results, using advertising features within your site search.

  • Consider bolding or highlighting the search terms within the results. Don’t forget to make sure there is a search bar present on every page so visitors can easily refine or change their search.

  • Avoid a blank results page at all costs. Ensure your synonym library is constantly expanding, your user profiles are well-defined, and all of your relevant pages, products, and content can be adjusted by your site search.

Instead of showing a ‘no results found’ page, direct visitors to related products or content that they could potentially be interested in, even if you don’t offer what they are looking for.

5. Take advantage of guided selling

Guided selling allows you to cater to each unique customer interaction, regardless of which target audience they belong to, by narrowing down the conversation based on previous responses. When paying attention to what customers are looking for and being able to provide suggestions and proactive assistance, you can significantly reduce your return rate, increase your revenue by an average of 8% and rocket your customer satisfaction rate by nearly 20%.

Shop quizzes like The Perfect Product Finder will elevate your site’s search experience to the next level. When able to assist your customers in finding the exact products they need through a series of questions, it transforms a brands’ online space from a searching maze to a helpful, personalized, and conversational experience.

Sounds promising, right? Try out a 14-day free trial of our Shopify app, the ‘Perfect Product Finder’ here.


When used correctly, site search can be a crucial business tool, increasing conversions, driving engagement, and providing valuable insights. By following these key practices, you'll be able to provide your website with a well-functioning site search that allows visitors to find what they're looking for - and perhaps discover things they didn't even know they needed yet. It's a simple helping hand, but an exceptional difference between satisfied customers and lost shoppers due to a negative search experience.

Interested to learn more about how to maximize your customers’ experience by improving your site search? Check out this case study:

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