Search and Merchandising FAQ

Everything you wanted to know about eCommerce search and never dared to ask.
We publish hands-on tips, best practice tricks, and anything that would be interesting for eTailers to engage their customers and increase conversion
through site search, navigation and merchandising.

Search

What is Site Search?

Search results differ from web search engines like Google, that search the internet to retrieve global answers, and a site search engine for the site you’re on. When you search Google, it returns results in the form of Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s), which is a long list broken up into ten results per page. An on-site search uses a local engine in conjunction with the code of the site to display the results in harmony with the sites appearance.

 
 
 

Which is best, hosted site search or cloud based?

Cloud based site search is an application run on cloud servers by the site search service provider and has the benefits of increased speed and relieving a lot of the strain on your hosting ram, bandwidth and disk limits. When you host your own site search engine you’ll need to provide the infrastructure capacity, which depending upon your current architecture could necessitate moving up to a more robust solution.

Filters

What are the best site search filters?

 
The best site search filters for your industry will vary, here are a few good examples:

Of course, there are a number of other possible filters that can be added, however, these are the most common in these major industries.
 
 

What is the best on site search UX filter design?

 
To ensure that both your desktop and mobile users have the best experience most large brands stick to a standard vertical dropdown to display filter choice options to their visitors. The vast majority of mobile users search with their devices in the vertical position. We now see that the contemporary approach for mobile is to have a filter button that toggles showing filters at the top of the search results page.

Search User Experience

 
 

What is the best search box placement for mobile?

The best search box placement for mobile will be a fixed position, always open, easy to find box in the center top of your site’s navigation bar. If due to design limitations it cannot be placed there then the upper right- or left-hand corners generally opposite your logo will be your second choice.
The reason it’s critical to get this right is that; typically, up to 30% of your visitors will use your on-site search box to help them find what they are looking for. Examples of this would be that; a large client of the software company Ibenta saw a 43% increase in consumer conversions using site search and eConsultancy claims that visitors using site search make up us much as 13.8% of total revenue.

 
 

How many search results per page?

The optimum number of results returned per page is going to be 4. The reasons are; people are conditioned by the search engines to see this number. Having more than this per page will affect loading times on mobile. Plus, a set number per page makes it easier for the search engine spiders and bots to find and categorize your results and pages.
If you have less than 10 total results you can still set your parameters to allow 10 per page and if you add more it will automatically go to the next page at number 11 and onwards.
With too many results per page, visitors, more so mobile users, begin to get lost in all the scrolling, and it simply makes it more difficult for them to decide by being given too many choices.
When they do go beyond page one, they can also more easily remember where their other favorite choices were and navigate back to them to add them to their cart.