Best Practices For eCommerce Site Search

Best Practices For eCommerce Site Search

person using their phone to search online

In eCommerce, site search is the bridge between potential customers and the products they are searching for. This critical component of an online store plays an important role in enhancing the user experience which inevitably leads to increased customer satisfaction and sales.

The user experience experience element of an eCommerce site search feature shouldn’t be taken lightly. When a customer can quickly find what they are looking for, they are more likely to make a purchase not once but multiple times – creating profitable customer loyalty.

In order to leverage its full potential, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when building out an eCommerce site search feature. From understanding the customer journey, the placement of the site search bar, and using analytics to improve the search experience, there are tools you can use to create the best experience for your customers.

What You Need To Know About Site Search

When a customer lands on your website, their search likely begins through a search engine. Whether they are looking for a specific product or browsing through categories, an effective site search helps them get to what they are looking for faster. Streamlining this process adds less friction for the user and alleviating that starts with you understanding how customers use site search and tailoring its functionality to meet the expectations customers expect.

Imagine the journey of searching for a specific product and having to go through hoop after hoop to get to the desired destination. You’re likely to go elsewhere to find what you need. An optimized site search reduces time spent searching adding value to the overall shopping experience.

How To Optimize eCommerce Site Search

As mentioned above, there are website search best practices at your disposal to tackle the challenges users face when searching for products. We’re breaking down seven for you to use to jump-start improving your eCommerce site search capabilities.

Placement of Site Search

The best placement for eCommerce site search will always be above the fold. This makes it easily accessible to buyers without requiring more scrolling and searching. Once users land on your website’s homepage or any page, it should only take seconds for them to discover the site search.

Consistency Across Devices

Whether a customer is accessing the site through a tablet or mobile device, maintaining consistency in the placement and intuitive functionality of the search bar is important.

Search Suggestions

As users start to type their query in your search bar, relevant suggestions should soon follow. Relevant suggestions refine search queries and get them to the destination they desire.


Robust filtering options allow users to narrow down their search results based on various criteria that include relevance, price, and ratings. This not only helps users find products more efficiently but also improves the search experience.

Inventory Availability

Integrating inventory availability into search results spares customers the frustration of discovering that their perfect product is out of stock. Retailers like Ace Hardware enable shoppers to filter search results based on local store availability, allowing them to choose whether to pick up an item at a nearby location or have it shipped from the store.

Sort by Relevance, Price, etc.

Offering sorting options by relevance, price, popularity, and other factors can further enhance the usability of the search function.

Image Searching

Allowing users to search using images can improve the search experience and help them find products that match their visual preferences.

Mobile Optimization

In this day and age, mobile optimization is non-negotiable. With the increased number of users who shop via their smartphones, your site search capabilities should be just as efficient to use as it is on desktops.


Using analytics to track search queries, popular search terms, and user behavior can provide valuable insights. This data can be used to improve search functionality and address any issues that may be preventing conversions.

Avoid These Common eCommerce Site Search Mistakes

On the other side of the eCommerce site search best practices mentioned above, is the improper use of those tools.

Search Bar Prominence

Where you place your search bar matters, failing to make the search bar prominent and easily accessible can lead to a poor experience for buyers. Your site search should be one of the most prominent elements on the page.

Bad Autocomplete and Suggestions

To add to a positive search experience, ensuring that search suggestions are accurate will be helpful for buyers. Irrelevant or incorrect suggestions can lead to a poor experience.

Limited Filtering

Offering limited filtering options can hinder users’ finding what they seek. Forcing them to sift through multiple products to find the one they need creates a bad experience and decreases conversion opportunities.

Ignoring Mobile

Ignoring the mobile search experience can alienate a significant portion of potential buyers.

Ignoring User Feedback and Analytics

Failing to take user feedback and analytics into account can prevent improvements to the search function. Regulatory reviewing and using the data to take meaningful action leads to a user-friendly search experience.

Vector and Neural Search: Enhancing Accuracy and Customer Satisfaction

Vector and neural site search are advanced technologies that companies use to enhance the overall search experience in digital commerce.

Vector site search leverages vector embeddings, which are numerical representations of words or phrases that capture semantic meaning. This allows the search engine to understand context and deliver more relevant results, even for complex or ambiguous queries.

Neural site search utilizes deep learning models to comprehend user queries at a deeper level. By analyzing the query’s intent and context, neural search can provide highly accurate and personalized results, often improving over time with more data.

Benefits in eCommerce:

  • Enhanced Relevance: These technologies offer more accurate search results by understanding the nuances of language, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
  • Personalization: They can tailor search results based on individual user behavior and preferences, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
  • Better Handling of Complex Queries: Both technologies excel at managing complex or less straightforward queries, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
  • Increased Efficiency: By quickly delivering the most relevant products, these search methods can significantly reduce the time customers spend searching, leading to a more seamless shopping experience.

Improve Site Search – Drive Sales

Site search is one of the lifelines of an eCommerce platform. It directly impacts customer satisfaction, conversion rates, and overall sales. When you leverage the best practices for optimizing your site search, you open up opportunities to connect with your customers and fuel your bottom line.