Create a User-Friendly Search Bar for Your Online Store

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

It can be very frustrating if you have visited a website looking for something but don't know where to find it or how to go about it. You either exit the website or look for a search bar to resolve the problem.

However, it will be more daunting if you find it difficult to use the search bar. This is how potential customers feel when they visit an online store without an intuitive search bar. They tend to exit the store, leading to the loss of potential customers.

One way to provide a smooth shopping experience for your customers is by creating a user-friendly search bar. You have to design your online store so shoppers find it easy to navigate.

Websites with search boxes yield 1.8 times higher conversion rate than websites without a search box. The following are how you can optimize the search box for a potential increase in sales.

1. Add a Search Button and a Text Field

Virtually all search boxes have a text field where shoppers enter their search and a search button to initiate the search. The text should be clear to shoppers and placed horizontally on a single line adjacent to the search button. You can add your preferred color, background contrast, and rounded edges; just ensure that shades are visible.

The search button should be placed on the right-hand side. The button has to be clickable when visitors and shoppers click on it. If users have to click on the search icon twice, it may increase interaction costs.

2. Place in the Right Location

Most websites with search bars place them at the top, center, or top right corner of the website. If your e-commerce store has the shopping carts, settings, and so on at the top right corner, you can place the search box at the top left corner. The choice is yours to make; both placements are nice and are visible to visitors.

Research shows that people will not return to a site if they have a bad search experience. Refrain from hiding the search box inside a menu or placing it at the bottom of the page. It will get visitors worked up, and they may lose interest somewhere along the line.

3. Add the Search Icon

Instead of text, you can also use the search icon. The icon is better than text; it can be easily magnified and save space. You can place it in the search box or a button that reveals or hides the entire search box. Be careful not to place it outside the box to prevent visitors from thinking it’s another button.
Photo by William Fortunato

4. Size Accurately

The size of the search box depends on the kind of website you own and the length of the search. You need to research whether your audience tends to type in complete or short form. This will determine the size of the search box. You also need to be careful not to design a search bar that takes up the whole screen.

5. Add Autocomplete

Another way to make searches smoother and increase conversion rates is by adding autocomplete features to your site. When a visitor or customer types, the autocomplete helps predict suggestions on a menu that drops below the search box.

Predictions can be tailored to suit your content, so users can feel confident when placing their search. Allow users to click on the suggestions and scroll through them without bombarding them with too many suggestions.

6. Add Placeholder Text

Placeholder texts are found in the search box when the box isn't in focus. The aim is to trigger users to take action. It could serve as a hint for visitors to do their searches. You can add texts like “try bags,” “see jeans,” etc. The placeholder text has to be lighter than the typed search, and it should be erased when the user starts typing.

Final Thoughts

A few changes to your e-commerce website's search bar can impact your conversion rate and revenue. They can apply to your online store whether you use a self-built tool like WordPress, or preset host Shoplazza.

Try the steps discussed above to reduce the stress shoppers pass through when looking for something on your website. Doing this can help you potentially increase the number of customers, thereby increasing sales.

(Contributed by Ayotomiwa Omotosho & Hermes Fang)

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6 years experience in digital marketing. A gracious loser, not a lousy winner.


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