Search results pages are usually the place where online shoppers convert or leave. If your search really works and shows visitors the products they’re looking for, you’ll strengthen loyalty from those shoppers – or, if your search delivers a jumble of results that have nothing to do with the search terms used, it’s likely that shoppers will make a quick exit.
Search results pages need a little TLC so they can do the best possible job of showing off as many relevant products as possible, while allowing customers to adjust their view of results according to how they want to browse and shop. Here are a few tips to make sure your search results pages lead shoppers to buy, rather than bounce.
Create a consistent look and feel: Search results pages should not look dramatically different from the rest of your online storefront. It’s important to reinforce your brand in every element of your site, especially on the pages where visitors are making a purchase decision. Your results pages should mirror the look and feel of your overall website, brick-and-mortar stores and social channels. When all of these elements are properly coordinated, they create a positive brand experience.
Keep the search term in the search box: It is good practice to leave search terms in the search box, even when visitors are already viewing results. They may realize that they should add more descriptive words to their search terms or correct spelling errors. Some might want a reminder of what they just searched for. Whatever the reason, it’s helpful and saves time if visitors don’t have to retype their search terms.
Show a breadcrumb trail: A breadcrumb trail displays the search term and any refinements that the visitor applied to search results. It helps visitors understand where they are and how they arrived at the current page. It also makes it easy to remove search refinements and go back to a wider range of results. Breadcrumbs take up very little space on the webpage, but they can go a long way toward helping visitors navigate through search results.
There’s much more you can do to make search pages easy for visitors to browse, including allowing visitors to select the number of results they want to see on a page, or adding infinite scrolling so that visitors never have to click on a new page to see more results. For these tips and over a hundred more, download a free copy of the 2014 edition of the Big Book of Site Search Tips.