TheCovid-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for exponential growth within the ecommerce space, with the industry achieving 10 years’ worth of growth in just three months. This reinforces that while there is potential for success, there is also risk of failure. A saturated market and increasingly competitive digital offerings that bridge the gap between in-store and online present a requirement for retailers to supercharge their most powerful on-site tool: the search function. The search function sits at the epicentre of a user’s customer journey – to be gold-standard, it must guide, inspire and suggest relevant search results to each individual user.
Mobile Commerce Sites and UX
In 2021, mobile commerce sales are projected to account for 72.9% of total ecommerce sales.
While mobile commerce has become ubiquitous, many retailers are failing to recognize that the flow state for mobile differs greatly from desktop.
Did you know?
63% of people will abandon a product or website as a result of preventable usability issues.
Compared to desktop, m-commerce presents a multitude of additional UX challenges due to limited screen real estate. One thing to keep front of mind is that the layout is intuitive. Key features for enhanced usability include:
In experiences powered by tech giants such as Facebook or Instagram, touchpoints are identifiable instantly with central elements that have become almost instinctive in our everyday lives. Replicating this experience within m-commerce and minimizing discrepancies between the channel’s users interact with every day provides a more instinctive path to purchase. The below is an example of Findologic’s mobile UX with A.I. based shopping assistant, Li.S.A® – DELIFE:
These are collapsible filters and will be hidden when not in use to make use of screen space, like in the below example from Pour Moi:
When searching for products, the search overlay should cover the entire screen. It is also best practice to keep the number of search suggestions deliberately limited. Users shouldn’t have to scroll to view suggestions and will typically choose from the first three on mobile.
It is evident that mobile screens are restrictive. Voice commerce provides a much more natural way for users to search, eliminating the manual process and introducing a more conversational interface that minimised friction.
Sticky filters are small icons that remain visible on a user’s screen as they scroll and are available at all times – when selected it presents off canvas filters. These are easily accessible throughout, eliminating the need to scroll to the top to amend filters.
Autocomplete has a knock-on effect on the search function, potentially steering customers down a path that may be of little relevance to them. Consequently, the quality of suggestions is of paramount importance. Findologic have set out clear guidelines to assist in navigating the intricacies of autocompletion:
- Visually separate the autocomplete menu from the rest of the website. Ensure the autocomplete box stands out from the rest of the site.
2. Include search and product suggestions, but keep them separate. Search suggestions and product suggestions are two different functions. Search suggestions deliver multiple products under an umbrella term, while product suggestions deliver specific product pages, so it is best to visually separate the two.
3. Keep search suggestions relevant. Harness user data to display relevant suggestions that encourage users.
Search Results Page
Following search guidance, aided by previously mentioned features, the user has now arrived at the search results page. Unfortunately, this isn’t an indication of success – the content on this page will determine whether or not a user is satisfied and will proceed to click on products.
Let’s run through some updates you can make that will encourage journey progression once the user has made it to this stage:
- Highlight the relationship between search query and search result. Sometimes, a user may be confused about why a certain product has appeared in their search results. There is logic behind the products that have been selected to appear based on a search query – this should be highlighted so that users don’t assume that the search function is ineffective.
- Thumbnails should correspond with search variants: If a user filters shirts by the color red, even if a particular shirt is also available in blue, green and pink, the red variant should appear as the default preview image.
- Use category relevant filters to refine search: All too often retailers will implement a one-size-fits-all approach and display a range of universal filter options, such as price, brand or availability. None of these are category-specific and the user isn’t able to refine their search effectively. In fashion, size is a universal filter, however when browsing trousers specifically, a leg length filter would be applicable.
- Filter by accessories: When searching for a specific product, accessories related to that product are often presented, flooding the search results page with items that were not on the user’s agenda. The severity of this pain point is exacerbated when sorting products by ‘cheapest first’. A simple accessory filter resolves this issue.
- Optimize search results layout: Results are typically layout in grid view or list view. The success of each layout is largely dependent on whether your products are visually driven and benefit from an image led grid view (such as clothes) or spec driven and benefit from specifications (such as laptops).
Rethinking Ecommerce Site Search in 2021 and Beyond
As customer expectations rise in line with the experience that ecommerce giants are delivering, it is more important than ever for retailers to make changes now and avoid falling victim to dissatisfied users. Retailers looking to improve performance must be realistic about where their pain points lie and what actionable strategies can be implemented to achieve success. Incremental changes such as those mentioned in this article can significantly impact customer experience, however, these are fundamentals. Transitioning towards a digital-centric business model and arming your store with innovative technologies can supercharge your on-site search and build upon these fundamentals, maximizing business success in the processes.
Written by Findologic
FINDOLOGIC has been developing modern search solutions for online stores since 2008 and is one of the leading providers. What the competent salesperson is for the stationary customer – is the digital shopping assistance for the online shopper. This is exactly what our unique approach aims at. Together with our technology partners, agencies, store systems and customers, we are breaking new ground with unparalleled efficiency. To learn more, visit www.findologic.com.