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  GERMAN Personalisation Software Services (SaaS) Intelligent Search
Reduce the bounce rate
Guided Selling
Reduce the return rate
Recommendation Engine
Increase the basket value
Personalised Shopping Area
Increase the repurchase rate
Personalised Email
Increase traffic
Campaigns & Usage Customer Targeting Realisation & Expertise AI Technology Data Science Integration & Optimisation Customer Service Customer Success Monitoring & Controlling Control Desk Other Topics Partner Data protection
References Company Software Geeks Team
100% concentrated personalization competence – even without suit & tie
Jobs
Do you also like to wear trainers and are interested in this internet?
Company News Events
Be it lectures, trade fairs, webinars or other e-commerce events – we’re sometimes here, sometimes there. Get to know us!
Press
We are constantly growing and evolving. New customers, partners, products and much more. Find out now!
Blog Insights Concepts for success Case Studies
Learn how our customers personalize and increase their KPIs.
Webinars
We share our best practices in personalisation with you.
Knowledge transfer Publications
We also share our knowledge in various media.
Info material Press
What’s new about us and our personalisation.

Info about Corona Virus

We continue to work for you from home office

Learn more
Zur Übersicht Startseite / Blog / Onsite Search in E-Commerce – How Shop Customers Find What They Are Looking For

Onsite Search in E-Commerce - How Shop Customers Find What They Are Looking For

08. Apr 2016 | Updated on 16. November 2020 | | Sarah Birk | Reducing Bounce Rate

The search function is of great importance for both shop customers and shop operators. In the best case, it enables users to quickly and easily find the product they want to buy. If the onsite search instead delivers no results or unsuitable results, this quickly leads to online shoppers aborting the search process and leaving the site. To prevent this, intelligent onsite search is essential. Why you should rely on an optimised onsite search and which functions it should include, we will tell you in the blog article.

 

In this blog article, we will cover the following topics:

What is an onsite search?

Why is an optimised onsite search so important?

What do integrated onsite searches of shop systems offer?
Standard search with important basic functions
Higher satisfaction when using intelligent search

What functions should an optimal onsite search offer?
Thesaurus for the consideration of language use
Error tolerance to avoid zero-hit pages
Semantics for search word combinations with properties
Autosuggest for the display of product suggestions
Result management for manual configuration options
Link Finder for the implementation of content commerce
Facet navigation and sorting function to narrow down and sort results

Conclusion: Optimise your onsite search and provide important functions – it’s worth it!

 

What is an onsite search?

Onsite search is often also referred to as site search or internal search. However, whatever you call it, it always refers to the internal search function of a website or online shop. Shop customers can use this search field to search all the contents of the page in brief. It is often used to save time, but also if the page is unclear or unstructured or if a customer already knows what he wants and can search for it specifically.

Instead of clicking through an online shop for a long time, many shop visitors use the internal search to quickly find what they are looking for. However, if the search is unsuccessful, they may leave the online shop immediately – and you will lose potential sales. The importance of an optimised onsite search in e-commerce becomes clear here.

 

Why is an optimised onsite search so important?

According to a study by the eCommerce-Leitfaden (2016), 80% of the online retailers surveyed consider the search function in the online shop to be “very important”.¹ And they should, because if the search does not find a suitable result, the probability that users will immediately bounce is high. An immature onsite search therefore often leads to high abandonment rates, as customers do not find what they are looking for and may even land on a zero-hit page. So there are plenty of reasons why online shops should actively optimise their site search. Because an optimised onsite search

  • leads to shop customers finding the product they are looking for faster and more accurately, which improves usability.
  • provides a better user experience.
  • results in a better conversion rate and consequently more sales.
  • motivates customers to visit the relevant online shop again after a successful search.²

All in all, an intelligent search thus ensures a lower bounce rate and satisfied customers in the online shop. It can therefore be said that the search function – regardless of the industry – is of great importance. However, the weighting of the individual search functionalities can differ from shop to shop.

Example: In an online shop that offers electronics articles, an extensive facet filter is of great importance for the onsite search, which helps shop visitors to find exactly the right article from countless, multifaceted articles. In the fashion shop, on the other hand, functions such as Type Ahead with preview images or banners gain a higher weighting. The articles in a fashion shop are also subject to seasonal fluctuations, which is why an intelligent ranking is advantageous.

Example of a facet navigation in the online shop of iba (left) and a type-ahead function with preview images in the fashion shop of Peek & Cloppenburg Hamburg (right).
Example of a facet navigation in the online shop of iba (left) and a type-ahead function with preview images in the fashion shop of Peek & Cloppenburg Hamburg (right)

What do integrated onsite searches of shop systems offer?

According to the study by the eCommerce-Leitfaden, around 23% of online shops use the standard search of the shop system used.³ These are usually included free of charge in the subscription price and are easy to integrate.

 

Standard search with important basic functions

Standard searches vary in maturity depending on the shop system, but usually offer the essential basic functions such as a full-text search and simple filters.⁴ Efficient and user-oriented functions such as error tolerance, autosuggest or the option of weighting the search results yourself are usually missing. However, this is exactly what shop operators expect from an onsite search: a high quality search function and many search functionalities.⁵

Standard searches also reach their limits when it comes to implementing individual shop requirements. This can include, for example, the mapping of business-specific processes or the adaptation of the search to the shop’s own product data model.

As a shop operator, it must be weighed up here whether the advantages (no further costs and no additional integration effort) compensate for the disadvantage (usually inefficient). However, especially for smaller shops and newcomers, an onsite search of the shop system is a good variant so that a search is offered in the online shop at all. At the latest, however, if the search function has to be adapted due to individual requirements, you will not be able to avoid an intelligent onsite search.

 

Higher satisfaction when using intelligent search

Only 10% of shop operators who use the standard search function of the shop system are “very satisfied”. As many as 60% of shop operators use additional modules from third-party providers. These show a significantly higher level of satisfaction: at 52%, the most satisfied shop operators are those who use an additional module or an intelligent search instead of the standard search.⁷

The high satisfaction of shop operators with an intelligent search in use shows: Optimising the onsite search is worthwhile and the potential should be exploited. We will now introduce you to the important functions that an intelligent onsite search should contain.

What is your situation? Do you use the standard search of your shop system or do you rely on an additional module from an external provider? And how satisfied are you with your onsite search? Share your opinion with us!

 

What functions should an optimal onsite search offer?

There are many advisors and tips for an optimal onsite search. In addition to the “right” placement in the online shop, the colour used or the search icon used, the functionality plays an important role. This is what determines how quickly and easily shop customers can ultimately find the desired products with the help of the search function.

An onsite search should fulfil the following criteria: Accuracy, user-friendliness and speed. This is also confirmed by the study of the eCommerce-Leitfaden. Here, 73 % of respondents stated that they mainly expect a high quality of search (e.g. very error-tolerant, very accurate and very fast).⁸ Speed guarantees that the search results are calculated and displayed within the shortest possible time (usually within milliseconds) and that the autosuggest is also loaded immediately. An intelligent search also includes an intelligent algorithm that calculates the search results in a targeted manner, takes automatic and manual adjustments into account and thus displays the appropriate results. Your onsite search should also be able to handle the following functions so that your shop customers can find what they are looking for:

 

Thesaurus for the consideration of language use

Every shop customer searches differently. On the one hand, this depends on the respective level of knowledge, but also on geographical or demographic differences as well as personal preferences. The search algorithm must therefore cope with different terms and spellings and understand the search input. This starts with singular and plural differences, but also concerns the recognition of synonyms (e.g. socks = stockings). To avoid problems here, the thesaurus can help. This function can be used to set synonyms or alternative terms.

 

Error tolerance to avoid zero-hit pages

Even the most attentive user sometimes makes a typo. An error-tolerant search has therefore long been a must in e-commerce. It recognises errors (e.g. careless mistakes and incorrect spellings) in the search entry and suggests alternative search terms to the customer that he could mean with his incorrect entry. This prevents shop customers from ending up on a zero-hit page.

For example, if a shop customer enters “schwatzes hemt bügelflei” in the ETERNA online shop, he does not end up on a zero-hit page despite several spelling mistakes, but is shown the desired products.

Example of error tolerance of the onsite search in the ETERNA online shop

Semantics for search word combinations with properties

If customers are looking for a specific product, their search input may include different aspects that the product should have (e.g. t-shirt black long sleeve). In this case, semantic search ensures that your onsite search also understands the context of a search query instead of only paying attention to the exact wording. Thus, semantics enables search word combinations with properties.

 

Autosuggest for the display of product suggestions

The auto-complete function generates matching suggestions for previously entered letter combinations directly below the search bar when entering search terms and is thus a welcome support for many online shoppers. In this way, spelling mistakes can be avoided and usability improved. By also displaying thumbnails, shop customers get a good idea of the products in the range and can get to a desired product detail page more quickly.

If a customer searches for water glasses in the Fackelmann online shop and starts typing the term into the search field, suitable suggestions are displayed directly below the search bar. In addition to search suggestions, shop customers can also view products with preview images and additional information such as the respective price.

Example of the autosuggest function of the onsite search in the Fackelmann online shop

Result management for manual configuration options

Sometimes, despite an intelligent algorithm, it is desirable to make manual adjustments to the search results, e.g. to support specific marketing campaigns. These can be implemented with the help of a result management system. For example, the order, weighting and prioritisation or removal of certain products from the search results can be achieved.

 

Link Finder for the implementation of content commerce

Not every user searches exclusively for products and categories in online shops. Instead, the site search is often used to find useful content. There is also a function for this, the so-called Link Finder, with the help of which, for example, the imprint, terms and conditions, blog articles and so on can be found easily. This can be especially helpful in the B2B sector, where many products require special explanation and further content is therefore welcome.

In addition to numerous products, shop customers can also find content in the form of useful care instructions for various products in the Villeroy & Boch Online Shop.

Example of finding content via onsite search in the Villeroy & Boch online shop

The After Search Navigation includes the sorting and filtering functions of the Onsite Search. Dynamic facet filters narrow down the search results according to certain criteria. Examples of facet filters are narrowing down by colour, size and brand. Once you have narrowed down the search results, only those products that match the selected criteria are displayed.
The sorting function, on the other hand, rearranges the search results only according to certain criteria such as price, offer and publication date. Both functions give the searcher a quicker overview of the products that match their search query.

Shop customers who visit the A-Z Gartenhaus online shop can use various after-search navigation options for their product research. On the product overview pages, they will find a facet navigation that allows them to narrow down products according to certain criteria with just a few clicks. For this purpose, shop customers have many different and partly visual filters at their disposal. On the other hand, customers can use the sorting function to re-sort products (e.g. by popularity or rating).

Example of sorting and filter functions of the onsite search in the A-Z Gartenhaus online shop

What functions does your onsite search include and what experiences have you had with it so far? Tell us about it and use the comment function.

 

In addition to all the functions presented, it is important to individually adapt the onsite search to the online shop. Because every shop has different requirements due to its products, their descriptions, but also its customers and their search behaviour, which can be implemented by an intelligent onsite search.

 

Conclusion: Optimise your onsite search and provide important functions – it’s worth it!

A search function is part of the basic equipment in your online shop. However, there are big differences here. By using an optimised onsite search in your online shop and providing the most important functions, you can lead your shop customers quickly and easily to the desired product and thus to a purchase. An optimised onsite search not only ensures fast and accurate search results, but also an improved user experience. This results in lower bounce rates and ultimately more sales. You should never give away this potential.

 

Sources: ¹ eCommerce Leitfaden (2016), ² IONOS (2017), ³ eCommerce Leitfaden (2016), ⁴ Internet World (2017), ⁵ eCommerce Leitfaden (2016), ⁶ Internet World (2017), ⁷ eCommerce Leitfaden (2016), ⁸ eCommerce Leitfaden (2016)

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Sarah Birk

Junior Content Marketing Managerin

Sarah is a Junior Content Marketing Manager at epoq. She is responsible for the content area from analysis and planning to creation and optimisation.

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