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Customers who use the search visit a webshop because they’re ready to buy a specific product. When they can’t find the product they’re looking for, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.
A great search engine is critical to a webshop’s success because it quickly directs shoppers to products they’re looking to buy. A search user converts, on average, 4-6 times better than someone who just browses.
Search relevance is the most important feature of any search engine – a good search is one that gives the most accurate results for the given query, so increasing relevance should be a top priority. Along with reducing the number of queries that lead to 0-results.
In order to achieve these goals, a search engine has to be able to decode the search user’s intent through processes such as language support, tolerating/deciphering typos, synonym management etc.
These features should help the user narrow down the relevant results, if there are multiple, to match the one the user is searching for.
While the search engine is responsible for displaying the most relevant results, it’s a good practice to add a related products section under the results. This way you can display less relevant, but still good suggestions to shoppers. For example, if someone searches for “Samsung 128gb ssd” you can recommend “Samsung 512gb ssd” as well.
In addition, a search engine should be able to decipher everyday language and translate it into terms that match a shop’s product naming convention. For example, someone might search for “bike”, while all listed bikes are tagged as “bicycles”. A search engine that isn’t able to understand that these two terms are the same, isn’t very useful.
Search engines need to be able to decipher accent characters (diacritics). If a word is usually written with an accent, but someone types the plain characters into the search, the engine needs to be able to recognize these two words are the same. For example, if one person searches for “kávé” and another searches for “kave”, they should each see the same results.
Filtering, paging, sorting, and faceted navigation are all critical pieces of a search engine. These features augment a shopper’s experience on your site by helping them sort through results in an easy and effective way.
Search result filters are generally placed on the left side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for eCommerce sites and help users refine their initial query.
You should automatically sort your results by an algorithm that puts the most relevant and popular first. However, your web visitors might want to sort products in a different way, so be sure to give them options. Include filters that allow sorting by price, new additions, brand, or most relevant.