Experts' Guides To Improve Site Search On E-commerce Stores

Ellie Ho
Jun 7, 2024
3 min read

Online purchase often starts with a search, whether it comes from an external search like Google or an internal search on the eCommerce stores. Many research pointed out that searchers can convert 5-6x better than regular visitors. That's why providing a seamless and effective site search experience is critical to the success of online stores.

The advancement in AI technology has taken global search to the next level. Customers become more demanding than ever. If they can't find the desired products in one eCommerce store, nearly a third won't hesitate to buy them elsewhere. The ability to accept typos, process natural language, recognize synonyms from different dialects, and so on used to be considered “advanced", now becomes a must.

With the ever-increasing competition, how can merchants optimize search functionality to improve user experience and increase conversions at a minimal cost? Here are some experts guides you should know to provide your shoppers with a better search.

Implement predictive search wisely

Predictive search allows “search as you type". This means shoppers will see suggested terms, products, and other content types when they are inputting the keywords into the search bar. This feature saves customers time and effort by reducing the number of keystrokes needed to find a product. It also helps prevent possible spelling errors since searchers can click the displayed suggestions instead of typing.

The following are some easy-to-set-up ways to optimize the autocomplete feature.

boost ai search and discovery

Make sure synonyms are taken into account

All the benefits of autocomplete feature are in vain if it can't generate relevant suggestions. Inaccurate search results usually occur when users use different terms to describe the same product. To address this, use Synonyms and Suggestion Dictionary in your search algorithm. For example, if a shopper looks for "sneakers," the algorithm should also return results for "tennis shoes" and "athletic footwear."

The 3.0 generation of Boost offer AI-generated Synonyms so you don’t have to spend time adding them manually.


Apply visual elements in the instant search widget

Human is visual-oriented. Our brain can process an image sixty thousand times faster than it does written text. Therefore, displaying product suggestions with images on the instant search widget is an excellent idea to arouse searchers' interest.

enhance visual on the search dropdown with product image | boost product filter and search shopify

The autocomplete suggestions with product images are more attractive.

Set up search redirects where relevant

Redirects take the searchers to a particular page instead of search results. This is of great help when it comes to searching for information like return policy, shipping policy, and payment methods. Another application for search redirects is when you want to boost seasonal or sales collections. You should set up redirects to relevant collections for search terms like “sales", “discount", “mother's day", and “Christmas".

Make use of Scoped search suggestions

Unlike regular auto-suggestion that auto-fills the query only, scoped suggestions come with context. The “scope" here means a specific category or subset of products.

For example, consider an online fashion megastore. If a customer searches for "shoes," they may be presented with thousands of results. This can be overwhelming and frustrating, leading to a poor customer experience. However, by implementing a scoped search feature, the store can offer the ability to refine their search to specific categories such as "men's athletic shoes" or "women's dress shoes." This can greatly improve the relevance of the search results and make it easier for the customer to find what they are looking for.

example of scoped suggestions

Scoped search suggestions on Walmart.

Incorporate Natural language processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a layer of AI search. It focuses on understanding the complexity of human language by adding structure and meaning to unstructured data. In the context of e-commerce search, NLP helps extract the necessary information to provide the most suitable products to the input queries.

ai powered search layers on boost ai search & discovery

NLP model in Boost 3.0 with AI power enhances accuracy for search results through:

  • Facet extraction combined with intent understanding
  • Auto-generated synonyms
  • Enhanced typo tolerance

Find details about AI Search in the epic release of Boost 3.0.

Always have filters and sorting options on search result pages

Search filters are a powerful tool for searchers to streamline product discovery. By selecting specific filters, customers can tailor their search to their preferences, making it easier for them to find the products that meet their needs. Such personalization leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as higher sales and revenue.

search filters and sorting options using boost product filter and search on ted baker london

Filter and Sort by options on Ted Baker London.

Essential product filters are different for each store. Still, some basic ones you should always have on your search result pages are:

  • Price
  • Review rating
  • Product options (size, color, etc)
  • Availability

Besides filters, Sort by options are necessary for customers to reach their desired items in an instant. Search result pages normally use Sort by Relevance as default. However, merchants should allow shoppers to sort the result list by Price, % Sale, Best selling, and Arrival/Published Date too. This caters to the needs of some customer segments like the price-sensitive and the trend followers.

Leverage product rankings on search results pages

The first 5 positions on the results are a gold mine for conversion rate optimization. Make sure that no stock-outs or left-overs from last season take these places by using some kind of “Demote" merchandising rules. You can also pin or boost your bestsellers or high-margin products here to squeeze more sales.

The new Merchandising in Boost 3.0 helps merchants manipulate the product order on collection pages and search result pages with ease. Install the app and wait for the epic release now.

new merchandising in boost ai search and discovery

Dig into site search analytics

Data is the most valuable asset of all businesses. Therefore, make sure you use a site search engine that provides analytics and reports. Below are some suggestions on how to turn site search analytics into actionable strategies

Track popular search terms

By tracking top search terms that users are typing into your site search, you can identify popular products or categories that are in high demand. This can help you optimize your inventory and product pages to better cater to your customers' needs.

site search analytics and reports on boost product filter and search

Analytics and reports on Boost 3.0 with AI Power.

Analyze search data for trends

A broad time range in site search reports can uncover trends in customer behavior and preferences. For example, a 365-day total searches graph shows which months are high season (the period that gets the most searches), and which ones are low season (the periods that has the least searches). This is useful to plan your marketing and merchandising strategies to better align with customers' rise and fall in demand.

Revamp searches without results

“No result" searches can imply new product opportunities. Based on the Searches without results on Boost Product Filter & Search, Protein Package realized that Per4m, GFuel, and C4 were unavailable brands but attracted a lot of shoppers. As a result, the store began to take on these brands and begin stocking to meet the customers' needs.

Adding synonyms or merchandising rules is another workaround to reduce failed searches and let shoppers continue exploring your store.

More actionable strategies on how to mitigate “No result” cases.

Use search data to inform product recommendations

By analyzing search data, you can identify products that are frequently searched for together or are popular among customers with similar search behavior. This can help you make more targeted and effective product recommendations to drive sales.

Every journey starts with a small step

Optimizing site search for eCommerce is an ongoing process. More and more bullet points can be added to the checklist as new technology becomes popular. Therefore, merchants should always keep an eye on the site search trends as well as the competitors. It's also a wiser choice to stay with a site search app that is scalable and proactive in acquiring cutting-edge technology. Hope that our solution, Boost Product Filter & Search with a vision to become Boost AI Search & Discovery, is among your selection.

Ellie Ho
Content Marketing Specialist
July 1, 2024
2 min read