When it comes to driving sales via search, many store owners just think about organic and paid and don’t consider their own website’s search engine as a source of revenue. Yes, having a good onsite search allows customers to find what they’re looking for, but it’s also a powerful sales and marketing tool.
Store owners who are using their shopping cart’s out-of-the-box search engine are missing out on many advanced features 3rd party search apps, like our own Search Magic, offer. While others who are using 3rd party search apps may not be using them to their advantage.
Today, we’re going to take a look at three features advanced search applications offer that can help you increase conversions.
Zero Term Results
We’ve all been there. You find an online store that looks like they could have just what you’re looking for, however, when you type your query in the search box all that comes up is “no results found.”
That may be the case, however, the merchant may have something very similar, or even better, than what you were looking for.
By looking at your store’s zero term results you can quickly see what your shoppers are looking for that you don’t carry. You can then use this information to set up redirects either to category pages with similar products, or in the case of a very specific search, directly to an item that is very similar.
This provides your shoppers with a path forward instead of an exit plan. They’re more likely to continue on and browse the items you recommend as a substitute rather than leave. By giving them alternatives rather than a “no results found” message, you’re increasing your chances of gaining a sale.
Most Popular Searches
Your search dashboard contains a wealth of information about your shoppers and shouldn’t be ignored. One area that you should pay attention to is what you shoppers are searching for. By looking at your search stats you can see what the most popular search terms are for your store and use it to your advantage.
Items that result in multiple queries can be promoted more heavily on your site, such as in homepage hero images, featured product areas, or offsite in places such as paid ad campaigns or in your own email or social media marketing.
If your search engine allows it, you can also assign priority or “weight” to particular items that you want to show up for first the search query or last for the query.
For example, if one of your most popular searches is for “iPhone X waterproof case” and you want your customers to buy your own brand over the others, you can manipulate the results to do just that. By doing so, you’re promoting your own product that may have a higher profit margin which means more money in your pocket.
Read Your Customer’s Minds
You don’t have to have psychic powers to read your customer’s minds and figure out what they’re looking for, but your site’s search engine should. This feature is called “predictive search” and chances are you see it in use all the time.
Here’s how it works. You start typing in the store’s search box and all of a sudden results are displayed for items the engine thinks you’re looking for. This not only speeds up the time it takes for the customer to get from results to items, it also guides them to just the right categories that they’re most likely to find the items in.
Without predictive search, shoppers would be presented with multiple categories and items that may or may not be what they’re looking for. This leads to confusion, multiple clicks, wasted time, and frustration.
By providing your shoppers with a clear path to items you think they’re looking for, you’ll see sales and customer satisfaction grow.
At the end of the day, your store’s onsite search should be as much of a money maker as it is a tool. By setting it up correctly and using the data it provides, your search can be a powerful marketing tool that pays for itself many times over.
Search Magic from Your Store Wizards is our own 3rd party search application that provides these features and more for Yahoo! Store, Shopify and coming soon for BigCommerce. For more information, or to schedule a demo, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at email@example.com.