Why Autocomplete is Essential to Site Search

February 10, 2017 Katherine Belshae, Sales Director at SLI Systems

In today’s e-commerce environment, using a robust site search system with autocomplete has been recognized as one of the key steps in generating higher revenue. Shoppers that use site search have higher average order values and higher revenue per visit than shoppers that simply browse.

Additionally, shoppers that search for items are more likely to be converted from browsers to buyers, and less likely to move on to other vendors. While site search functionality can be found on nearly every e-commerce site today, many sites fail to capitalize on the power of search because they don’t incorporate a powerful autocomplete feature in their search design.

First, let’s cover some of the top reasons why autocomplete is essential for site search functionality, particularly in the changing e-commerce landscape of 2017. Finally, I’ll discuss how autocomplete can be enhanced to provide a rich shopping experience that leads to even higher conversions.

More Mobile Shoppers Than Ever Before

For the first time ever, more people are shopping from mobile over desktop devices. This trend is expected to continue throughout 2017 and beyond. Autocomplete is essential for catering to mobile shoppers on your site. Many shoppers on mobile devices expect a powerful autocomplete function so that they can easily navigate between different products.

Shoppers desire the convenience of not having to type out complete product names or descriptions on a small screen keyboard. Accommodating this will result in higher revenue per visit and greater customer retention.

Seamless Desktop-to-Mobile Shopping Experience

Autocomplete functionality for both desktop and mobile devices allows you to deliver a consistent shopping experience across all devices. Users on mobile devices have begun to expect a similar shopping experience regardless of the device they access your site through, and it is up to you to deliver on this expectation.

Autocomplete assures desktop and mobile users that they can quickly access whatever product they are searching for without having to deal with lengthy search terms or search filtering options that may be unwieldy on mobile devices.

Easier Site Navigation

Intelligent site design, with a focus on simple navigation, has always been crucial to shaping a satisfactory online shopping experience. Incorporating autocomplete into your site’s search tool is an essential aspect of overall site design. Although smart site layout, menu options, and filtering tools are important aspects of ensuring shoppers can find the products they desire, autocomplete adds another dimension to these tools.

Autocomplete enables your customers to quickly and easily find the products they are looking for, without having to scroll through pages of similar products first. If customers are confident they can find products quickly and efficiently, they are more likely to be converted from one-time shoppers to repeat customers.

 A Richer Autocomplete Experience

The benefits of autocomplete are not limited to quick and easy navigation, however. While this is the core function of autocomplete, it can also be configured to learn from shopper’s behavior and offer dynamic product recommendations based on a customer’s shopping and purchasing history.

This will allow shoppers to quickly access products they repeatedly purchase, or products similar to those they have already searched for. Additionally, if a shopper is using more general search terms, autocomplete can offer category recommendations by brand, product type, or department level – allowing shoppers to quickly navigate to the level they want to browse.

Zachy’s Wine and Liquor capitalizes on the converting power of autocomplete by enhancing their standard functionality with search suggestions based on user behavior, made visually appealing with product images and short product descriptions.

By combining intelligent recommendations and product images into its autocomplete feature, Zachy’s increased conversion rate by 10x for shoppers using site search, and average order values by 2x for those same shoppers.

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These aspects of predictive autocomplete create a more customized shopping experience for your customers, and can result in higher revenue per transaction through recommendations. Leveraging a rich autocomplete platform on your site is crucial to generating greater revenue online. Autocomplete allows you to easily offer a more customized shopping experience for nearly every site visitor.

Autocomplete is an essential tool for catering to mobile shoppers by giving them the tools they need to quickly and conveniently navigate through your site to the products they want.  Autocomplete also allows you to cater to both desktop and mobile shoppers – giving shoppers the seamless shopping experience they desire regardless of the device they are using.

To learn more about autocomplete and how to improve the search functionality on your site, take a peak at our e-book The Quick Guide to Better Site Search.

 

 

 

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