One of the most important elements of a successful e-commerce site is the search bar. With the constant addition of new products, the competition against the likes of Google and Amazon, and the fact that it’s estimated that 95% of sales will be made online by 2040, your business can’t afford to not optimize this feature.

How is This the Key to Creating and Maintaining your Customer Base?

Many shoppers will arrive at your site, not knowing quite what they want. Intentional customers, impulsive shoppers, browsing fiends, and curious, referred friends will all visit your site at some point. Half of all customers who use an inbuilt search system will end up buying products on your site. However, only 30% of all shoppers will even utilize the site search component. Since it clearly indicates an inclination to buy, we want to make it as prominent and user-friendly as possible.

What Does an Optimal Search Feature Look Like?

Generally, a search bar with a magnifying glass symbol works best. It isn’t original, but it’s now universally recognized as a place to click to search for items. Simply, it works. Part of the reason it works is that the human mind responds more quickly to graphics than words. The text field should be highly visible and long enough to enter multiple words—no one likes seeing partial text disappear when hunting. This bar should show up on every page, not just the homepage. Even in the middle of a search, it should still be easy to look for the next item. Visibility is important here, making simplicity ideal. We want users to find the search bar easily and quickly, so make sure it is distinguished from the rest of the site with contrasting colors and a submit button that is distinct from other clickable links. Also, the use of filters can help narrow searches.

Directing the User with the Search Feature for Optimal Sales

Users won’t always know exactly what product they want, or the name of said product. In this case, they may try several similar or related words. Your website’s keyword features should be top-notch to assist the customer in finding the desired product. This means having a drop-down list based on the words they enter, ensuring that synonymous words are included, that poor spelling doesn’t lose you a sale and offering auto-suggestions even before a word is completed. Even suggestive text in the search bar encourages fresh thoughts and prompts the user in the right direction. Autocomplete can also inspire a user to view new products, and images appearing with autocomplete can catch the attention by providing visual appeal, once again catching the eye.

Most importantly, make sure it’s fast. Searching too long can make a user give up and assume you don’t have the item they want. There is a definite correlation between the number of purchasers and the load time on a website. Users want an intelligent and efficient system that produces the most relevant product recommendations, and that delivers them as quickly as possible. This type of well-designed search system will increase revenue and help in maintaining a faithful client base.