Google has set a very high precedent for search tools. Most people expect the same robust search functionality on your site as they would on a search engine. This can be frustrating for your customers and even more frustrating for you when they leave your site because it doesn’t operate as they expect. You might not be Google, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer your customers a better search experience. Here are three steps you can take to create a great internal site search.
1. Make Search Easy to Find
Your customers should not have to search in order to search. Make your search tool easy to spot by putting it at the top of the page, making it stand out and clearly labeling it “Search”. For most sites, the search tool should be offered on every page of your site.
2. Make Search Easy to Use
After you make the site search tool easy to find, make it user friendly. Suggest multiple ways site visitors can search for products within the box. For example, suggest searches by keywords or product item numbers, similar to what Best Buy does.
You can make it easier to use by providing ways to filter information. Offer categories to search by in a convenient drop-down menu next to the search tool. Target provides multiple categories so their customers don’t have to search through unrelated results.
3. Make Sure Search Offers Results
The last part in ensuring a great customer search experience is providing relevant, useful results. This requires that you devote time to populating your site with the right data. First, brainstorm what terms your customers would likely use to search your site. Having good copy for the item description and attributes will increase search results. Add item numbers and organize your products into categories. The more data you can provide on your site, and to your search tool, the better the search results. Lastly, ensure that your easy-to-find, friendly search tool never offers empty search results. Search results offer a great opportunity for up-sells and cross-sells, so configure your search tool to always offer a product recommendation or suggested solution to your customers.
A great internal search tool is not only beneficial to your customers, but can also be a useful tool for you as well. It’s important to run analytics on your search tool. Keep track of what people are searching for because they are literally telling you what they want. Pay attention to the search terms being used. If a product is popular and you don’t have it, it might be time to consider adding it. Then, use search term data to improve the content on your site and continue to gain insight as to how your customers search. This might take a bit of time at first, but investing in a search tool that works will allow your customers to find and purchase what they want and keep them happy and loyal.