Effective site search is fundamental to the eCommerce experience. Shoppers use it to find products on every website, yet conventional site search solutions often disappoint.
For example, does this scenario sound familiar?
Last week during your work commute, you saw a gorgeous home inspiration photo on Pinterest. It showed a Nordic mirror that you thought would look perfect in your guest bathroom. Then the train doors opened, you closed your browser, put your phone away, and ran off to the office. Now it’s the weekend and you have the time to make this perfect purchase, so you go to a home decor site that your friend raved about. You excitedly click on the search bar and type in “Nordic design mirror 13×4,” expecting to see results that resemble the Pinterest item that caught your eye on the train. Your enthusiasm, however, quickly wears off. Most of the search results are the wrong aesthetic, and several don’t come in the dimensions you specified. “Does this brand even know what Nordic is?” you ask yourself. After just a few seconds of scrolling, you exit the page.
When there is a disconnect between your shoppers and their ability to find the right home decor products due to poor search experiences, it leads to missed opportunities not only in terms of sales but also meaningful customer relationships. That’s why improving your site search is so important — it can literally turn things around, giving shoppers a reason to complete a purchase and become loyal to your brand.
In this first installment of our guide to eCommerce site search for home decor, we’ll discuss what site search is, how modern solutions should work, and why it’s so crucial for your business to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.
What is Site Search and How Should It Work?
Site search is perhaps one of the most obvious and needed functions on an eCommerce site. While all websites have it, many fail to make the most of its strategic value.
Traditionally, site search functions as a free text box in which shoppers type in a text-based query that represents what they are looking for. The search engine will then surface items that match the keywords the shopper input, relying on data like product titles and tags, descriptions, and category names.
Modern solutions should also be able to recognize and surface results for plural queries, spelling mistakes, and synonyms to the keywords included in product tags. For example, if a shopper writes “convertible sofa beige,” the search results should include all visually similar results, even if they are tagged as “pullout sofa” or “sleeper.” After all, what your shopper cares about is finding a sofa that can also function as a bed, not the specific terminology you use in your product catalogue.
The actual shopping experience, however, is usually not so straightforward. Irrelevant items and “no results” pages add friction and frustration to the customer journey — which has a real impact on your bottom line.
The Consequences of Poor Site Search Experiences
Search experiences that culminate in shoppers leaving a site because of inaccurate product results are far too common, and the consequences for home decor brands and retailers are huge.
For example, 68% of shoppers say they are driven away from websites by the frustration of a poor product search experience. Data also shows that 21% of shoppers exit a website straight from the search results page.
This is a real shame, considering that home decor shoppers who use effective site search engines convert at a rate 186% higher than those who don’t, according to Syte’s data. And because they have extremely high intent (think: they search for what they already know they want), people who use advanced site search engines typically spend 2.8X more per purchase than shoppers who search on conventional search engines.
Why Effective Site Search is Crucial for Your Business
On-site search is one of the most powerful facilitators of conversion because it directly connects highly motivated potential customers to the items they want to buy. In addition to shortening the path to purchase, highly accurate site search improves the overall customer experience by making shoppers feel like the brand or retailer really gets them.
In an era where customer loyalty is hard to win and even harder to sustain, this is big. According to Salesforce, 70% of consumers say a brand’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty.
Speed is another crucial element of effective on-site search. A fast load time positions your company to fulfill shoppers’ rising expectations for convenience and efficiency. In our on-demand world, consumers have little patience for search results that take too long to appear. Nearly half of shoppers (47%) expect a two-second page load time or less, with 40% abandoning a site if it exceeds three.
Set Up Your Brand for Success
By optimizing your site search to improve its speed, accuracy, and ability to correctly understand what shoppers are looking for, you’ll be poised to capture the motivation of high-intent shoppers and inspire them to buy. With an elevated site search experience, conversion is sure to follow.
In part two of this series, we’ll take a closer look at the limitations of conventional site search and the exciting opportunities that a newer infrastructure creates for home decor shoppers.