Ecommerce Navigation and Search: 5 Tips for Better User Experience

NavigationTaggingE commerceData Extraction
By Junichi Yato, 6月 29,2020

Although website navigation is one the most important elements in the success of an eCommerce website, it’s often overlooked. The success of an eCommerce website is dependent on many elements with varying degrees of importance. Sure, anyone can tell you that an eye catching design and speed are important, but site navigation is by no means less important. After all, the design and speed of the website are there to make the navigation in the website - and user experience - better. The point of good website navigation is to get the potential customers to the products they want, with a minimum amount of time and clicks.
In this post we will discuss some simple methods to significantly optimize and enhance your eCommerce website’s navigability. All you have to do is to incorporate these in your website, and watch your conversion rate and sales go up.

1. Add an Internal Search

An internal search engine is not only a useful tool that will help customers find exactly what they are looking for (instead of browsing), but it’s also a very useful conversion tool, which increases conversion rates by TWICE as much as in a site without an internal search function.  It’s important to emphasize the search bar in the website by giving it contrasting colors, making sure it’s prominent enough, and adding a call-to-action, for example ‘find’ or ‘search’ to entice customers to use it. It is also helpful to “stick” the search bar, so no matter what page the customer goes to, the search bar will always be at the same spot on the page.  Once the search bar is up and running, you can then use the data it collects to improve conversions. For example, you can look up search terms that didn’t return any results, and learn how you may improve these product pages to increase conversion.  

2. Enhance Your Search Engine

In order to improve the user experience of the website even further, we recommend you incorporate an autocomplete function in the site’s search engine. The autocomplete function obviously saves customers a lot of time, but it also helps direct them to their desired products without returning empty results. We all know misspelling and misphrasing happen quite often, and it’s quite annoying to receive no results when you know the website sells the product you are looking for. Autocomplete function eliminates this frustrating error, and you can also use it to push suggestions to customers, by placing certain items at the top of the suggestion list. Another terrific way to increase conversions and to enhance your internal search engine, is to incorporate in it a thumbnail of the product alongside the autocomplete suggestions. Visualization always helps to promote sales, and the thumbnail tool allows you to put a visual of the product in front of the customer faster than ever. No wonder that the average per-visit value of customers who use the thumbnail function is SIX TIMES higher than visitors who don't use the search function at all. In order to improve the user experience of the website even further, we recommend you incorporate an autocomplete function in the site’s search engine. The autocomplete function obviously saves customers a lot of time, but it also helps direct them to their desired products without returning empty results. We all know misspelling and misphrasing happen quite often, and it’s quite annoying to receive no results when you know the website sells the product you are looking for. Autocomplete function eliminates this frustrating error, and you can also use it to push suggestions to customers, by placing certain items at the top of the suggestion list. Another terrific way to increase conversions and to enhance your internal search engine, is to incorporate in it a thumbnail of the product alongside the autocomplete suggestions. Visualization always helps to promote sales, and the thumbnail tool allows you to put a visual of the product in front of the customer faster than ever. No wonder that the average per-visit value of customers who use the thumbnail function is SIX TIMES higher than visitors who don't use the search function at all.   

3. Classify and Tag Products for Better Results

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic nowadays, as its range of uses continues to expand, from cyber security to social media, and of course, eCommerce. One of the most helpful uses of AI in eCommerce is in the vital processes called classification and tagging, which help increase products’ exposure tremendously, and more importantly, save the seller hours upon hours.  In classification, once you have uploaded a new product to your eCommerce site and have entered the product description, the AI system automatically classifies the product into its specific and relevant category, which in turn enables customers to find it more easily on the platform. Next, in the process of tagging, the AI system can automatically tag the product with different characteristics, such as brand, color, etc., which further increases the product’s exposure.  In essence, the AI system “learns” to identify a product’s specific characteristics, and tag it appropriately, not only saving plenty of time for the seller, but also eliminating the risk of a product “getting lost” in the website, and not appearing searches because they weren’t appropriately described. 

4. Personalize Your Website

Recent studies have shown that people are beginning to ignore the traditional brand strategy of repeating the same general slogans and messages over and over again, and that the majority of consumers prefer to be approached in a more personal way. This trend corresponds to the rising trend of personalization, which washes over the internet, but has a special importance in the eCommerce world.  Learning the behavior, tendencies and preferences of your customers, based on past interactions, allows you to provide each one with a personalized experience, which is a guarantee for increased sales. For example, a potential customer browses through a specific category or products, but does not complete a purchase. By using cookies to monitor potential customers’ activity on your site, you learn which categories or products interest them, and the next time they visit the site, direct them straight to their previously searched category. This way, you are not only getting the potential clients to where they want to get on the website faster, but you are also giving them a personalized experience, which goes a long way.

5. Eliminate ‘No Results’

One of the most frustrating things for customers of eCommerce websites is when you get no results for product search, sometimes even when you know the site sells these products. It’s like hitting a brick wall, and as a seller avoid it. There are several ways to do it. First, as mentioned above, you can use the search data collected from the search engine to see which searches return no results, and then modify the relevant product page to show up in future searches. Another way is, instead of leaving the customer hanging with a ‘No Results’ notification, you may suggest other products or categories for them to browse, or use the chance to advertise any special offers or discounts you may want to prompte at the moment. But whatever you do, don’t just leave the customers at a dead end. Even if something went wrong during the search, you can still convert the potential customer. 

Although website navigation is one the most important elements in the success of an eCommerce website, it’s often overlooked. Not to take anything away from the importance of design, but as mentioned above, customers’ preferences nowadays trend less towards dazzling graphics and more towards efficiency and personalization. Incorporating the suggestions described above will help your website move towards the trends, and will surely improve your website’s performance.  

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