Design Guidelines for e-Commerce Product Search

Can you sell a product that your customers can’t find in your e-commerce store ?

Customers have several reasons to search on sites. Site search which is influenced from web search is becoming very popular day by day since almost every consumer are accustomed to use Google or Yahoo or other search engines to search for whatever they want. Consumers want to get what they came to the site for, not to be distracted. Hence, they rely on “search” as it is considered as their topmost hunting strategy.

Take your own example and think! If you want to quickly locate a product category, instead of using site navigation you will use search. That will make the entire process easier and faster.

Search is sometimes an alternative for navigation. Search can be particularly helpful on sites with large or diverse inventory. It really saved time when a customer is searching for a specific product. Users armed with the title of a book or name of a movie could easily enter the information directly in search.

We will review about how to build an interface that offers users the power of advanced search while preserving the clarity of simple search.

1. Don’t use Advanced Search

Although almost every e-commerce website has advanced search, visitors do not use it. The word itself is scary: “advanced.” Advanced search is usually hard to detect. Change the terrifying phrase “Advanced search” to something friendlier, like “Better search” or “Smart search.”

2. Faceted search

Also called faceted navigation or faceted browsing, it is a technique for accessing information organized according to a faceted classification system, which allow users to explore a collection of information by applying multiple filters.

- Wikipedia

3. Spell-check

Spell check is crucial. Search engines rank web sites higher when they are free from spelling errors. So it is bound to give you increased traffic and potential customers!

4. Auto-suggestions

This feature is useful because it will predict a word or phrase that the user wants to type and show it below the search box.

5. Group similar items and separate different items clearly

6. If your results are somehow able to be localized in the real world, always show them on a map.

7. Prioritize what you think best matches the search (i.e. the best bets).

8. Order facets by importance

9. Use dynamic filtering

10, Show the number of actual results as well as the number of results the user would get if they were to filter by some other options. “List” and “tiled” are the basic views, but alternative views could help users scan results more easily.

Current studies, as well as our own empirical data from clients' analytics, show that visitors who use Site Search convert better than non-searchers. This is because search is a very basic and fundamental component of web design and is getting gaining more importance day by day. Effective search can accelerate the sales process. Fast, precise and successful searches increase your customers’ trust.


They say “If they can’t find it, they can’t buy it”.

Explains it all!

Do YOU search whenever you are looking for a specific product on an e-commerce website?

How important is site search according to you, specially for the online stores. Share your views with us.

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