What Will E-commerce Site Search Look Like In 2023?

Doki Nguyen
Jun 14, 2024
3 min read

One thing we can be certain of in eCommerce is that it is always shifting. As technology advances and customer expectations evolve, brands adapt to bring the best possible experiences to their eCommerce stores.

The search landscape is going through an exciting change, especially with the rise of AI. These changes are set to filter into eCommerce site search. In fact, 43% of shoppers on retail sites go straight to the search bar. That's why trends to do with eCommerce site search are something you can’t sleep on. So without further adieu, let’s take a look at what site search will look like in 2023.

AI-powered site search features become a standard

AI and machine learning have been making huge strides as of late. More recently, we’re beginning to see just how promising these technologies are when incorporated in search. Just look at how ChatGPT has Google shaking in their boots!

AI and ML capabilities have become way more accessible and a lot more capable of handling tasks that need a human touch. Consumers are also amply aware of these technologies and have a lot of opportunities to directly experiment with them. This could lead to a greater acceptance and even expectation of AI features. As a result, we’re set to see more businesses and tech developers apply AI and ML to their search tools.

Brands will use site search solutions with AI and ML to improve search relevance based on past purchases, browsing history, and demographic data. This will be in terms of search suggestions, and the search results that take the prime positions.

red dress site search with auto detected synonyms | latest site search trends for ecommerce

A search for trousers on Red Dress brings results for products with pants, trouser, and trousers.

We’ll also see site search solutions using AI to take the driving seat when it comes to synonyms. No longer will merchants need to manually enter words related to specific search terms. Instead, site search tools will use historical and lookalike data to automatically set up synonyms.

Another exciting, and also necessary development, will be site search tools’ ability to understand natural language. As it stands, at least 60% of consumers use three words or more in search queries. This can wreak havoc on the site search experience as a search for black and white t shirt under $20 sale displays products containing any one of the keywords. The result: a lengthy list of unrelated items and a hugely frustrated customer.

Thanks to advances in technology, personalization is growing from strength to strength. It’s now possible for it to drive every part of the shopping experience and brands are going to pay massive attention to it in 2023. A recent survey found that 71% of e-commerce merchants see personalization as a key pillar of their strategy for this year.

For site search, it’s clear how valuable it can be for the bottom line. In fact, personalization in search can increase revenue by 46%. That’s why we’ll see stores enhancing their site search to become more individualized and drive profits as 2023 chugs along.

customized search with recently viewed suggestions

One of Boost's agencies, Overdose, has successfully implemented the personalized search for our mutual client - Bata Singapore.

The team opted for a 2-column grid layout for the instant search prediction. The first column displays suggested products, tailored to the individual user based on their past interactions and preferences. The other shows recently viewed products, allowing shoppers to quickly find items that they had previously seen but not purchased.

This customization of the 'Search' section has added a small touch of personalization, helping them to find the products they are looking for more efficiently.

The customization done by Overdose based on Boost Product Filter & Search features and other integrations has brought fruitful results for Bata.

bata achieved sales increase after implementing advanced search by boost product filter and search

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Chatbots turn into personal assistants for shoppers

Although the search bar remains an important tool for product discovery, 2023 will see a shift towards chatbots to perform searches for shoppers.

chatbot is important for search and conversion

Thanks to AI and ML, chatbots are becoming a lot better at understanding all types of customer queries and finding relevant information or products. Plus, consumers will be more primed and accustomed to using chatbots to assist with search in 2023 thanks to Microsoft Bing’s upcoming chat feature. All of this is going to make chatbots a must-have feature for eCommerce stores.

Shoppers will use chatbots as a sort of personal assistant, interacting with them in a similar way to how they would with a sales assistant in a physical store. These chatbots will use NLP to comprehend more complex terminology and use ML to enhance the relevance and accuracy of its response.

Leaping forward to the end of “no search results found”

An excruciating pain point for shoppers is a site search that returns zero results. Not only is it frustrating for customers, but it can also result in a huge loss for businesses. Only 20% of shoppers will alter their search should they face no results found, and the churn rate can reach 68% if the site search experience is frustrating.

A major cause of the dreaded no search results found page is typos. This is especially true for consumers that are searching on mobile devices. Sometimes consumers are just typing too fast or are in a rush.

advanced typo tolerance reduces no result cases on salomon

Even with incorrect spelling, the right results appear on Salomon

While typo tolerance does exist within site search tools, there are often restrictions. For example, stores using Shopify’s native search tool require shoppers to have the first three characters entered correctly. A lot of the time this just isn’t enough, it’s so easy to type in balck instead of black. Hence, more stores will turn towards site search tools that offer more enhanced typo tolerance.

While typo tolerance does exist within site search tools, there are often restrictions. For example, stores using Shopify’s native search tool require shoppers to have the first three characters entered correctly. A lot of the time this just isn’t enough, it’s so easy to type in balck instead of black. Hence, more stores will turn towards site search tools that offer more enhanced typo tolerance.

Boost Product Filter & Search is a shining example of one such tool. Besides tolerating misspellings within the first few characters, it can also recognize word splitting and different character combinations. Thanks to the enhanced typo tolerance by the Boost app, you’ll be steps closer to eliminating zero results.

You may want to read:

Best Practices for Instant Search Box - What to Do With ‘No Search Results’

Stores that facilitate a multi-device search experience will stand out

It should come as no surprise that consumers use more than one device when they’re shopping. As they use and explore your store on different devices, they expect the same experience, even when it comes to search. In 2023, mobile commerce is expected to command 43.4% of eCommerce sales which makes site search via mobile even more important.

That being said, a lot of stores are failing to provide an equal site search experience on mobile devices. Hence, the stores that can get their site search experiences up to par on all devices will stand out from the crowd.

mobile search experience on protein package

Mobile users on Protein Package can enjoy familiar features like instant results, search suggestions, and trending products

The stores that design and optimize site search for mobile are going to be big hits for shoppers. This means having separate tabs for filter and sort, a full-length search field, typo tolerance, and a 2-column display for the filter options. More importantly, all of the search features your customers are familiar with on desktop must be available on your mobile site or app.

Mobile site search will also need to take into account voice search. Consumers are showing an increasing preference for this method of search. 71% favor it over traditional searching. Voice search is still quite novel in the eCommerce world, but some site search tools are beginning to incorporate it. So any early adopters of voice search for eCommerce sites are sure to set themselves apart.

Site search becomes multi-lingual

customers expert to be able to use multilingual search on ecommerce

There’s no denying that the world of eCommerce is becoming increasingly global. Shoppers have no hesitation in traversing through stores that aren't native to their homeland. In 2022, cross-border e-commerce was projected to account for 22% of e-commerce shipments and will continue to grow in the coming years.

These cross-border shoppers, however, do want to have a sense of home by being able to shop in their native language. We’ve already seen brands adapt to this phenomenon by adding multiple currencies, translating content, and creating country-specific domains. Shopify even released a comprehensive solution for international sellers - Shopify Markets.

Now, it’s time for site search to become a master of languages. The same way currencies and content language can be changed with the press of a button or by location detection, site search will have the ability to transform. Foreign customers will be able to perform searches in their mother tongue and leave the translation of product tags and keywords to the search engine itself.

Wrapping Up

E-commerce site search is going to go through some significant changes this year. As technology pushes its capabilities even further, creating solid site search experiences will get even easier. Keep up with the shift and make sure you choose a site search solution that will give your store the power to facilitate the site search trends that will define 2023.

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Doki Nguyen
Content Marketing Specialist
June 25, 2024
7 min read