Top 6 Best Practices for eCommerce Search with Examples

Top 6 Best Practices for eCommerce Search with Examples


Site search is a key function of a website, particularly an online store. Sadly, the eCommerce search feature is underrated, and it hurts conversions and revenue. Did you believe that only 1 in 10 customers can find exactly what they want every time they use the search feature? And 52% of shoppers would abandon their carts and go elsewhere to look for their favorite items.

Today, we’ll cover 6 site search optimization tweaks that will help you win your customers' hearts and grow your profits in 2024. 

What is eCommerce Search? 

eCommerce search or eCommerce site search is beyond a search box on your store. It refers to a search engine solution that, in a few words, leads e-shoppers to the items they're looking for by understanding the intent of search queries.

In fact, studies indicated that 78% of online shoppers report encountering roadblocks when searching a retailer’s website. A consumer comes to you with a product in mind. They’re not there to browse an endless list of thousands of items. Keep in mind that they’re highly motivated to purchase with minimal effort. Hence, you must eliminate common product discovery problems and optimize online stores for purchase-ready customers.

Why Does eCommerce Search Matter?

eCommerce search on The INKEY List store

Identifying patterns and relationships between a search term and available products is a key feature of an intelligent search algorithm - which saves your customers a ton of time. (Source: The INKEY List)

 If you need more proof, look at some benefits an efficient site search solution can offer.

According to Forrester Research, around 43% of visitors go directly to the search bar when they land on a website.

And those who used the on-site search converted at about double the rate of those who didn't.

We can sum up a few things about the advantages of a high-performing eCommerce search engine:

  • Return hyper-relevant results within seconds
  • Provide a better customer experience that will keep shoppers engaged
  • Achieve higher conversion rates via search results that match shoppers’ intent
  • Have insightful search analytics data for online merchants to make better business decisions

Best Practices For eCommerce Search 2024

Do you still think that a search tool works by matching keywords?

If your answer is YES, it’s incorrect, unfortunately. It can do so(actually) - but it should do far more than that!

With the help of AI and advanced technology, eCommerce search is now equipped with many features, like a secret weapon to set brands like yours ahead of the competition.

Here are some tweaks to upgrade your current search solution and win more sales!

Synonym Detection

At times, customers may struggle to locate specific products in your store­. This can occur due to various terminologie­s or distinct spellings compared to your stored data.

Think about a customer shopping for ‘sne­akers’. They might really want ‘traine­rs’ or ‘running shoes’, just like someone searching for a ‘jumper’ on a clothing website - they could actually be looking for a ‘sweate­r’ or ‘pullover’.

Rollie Nations's onsite search

If a customer types in ‘gray', the search engine immediately recognizes that the word should be ‘grey', so they display some products with the grey variant. (Source: Rollie Nation)

Rollie is an Aussie brand doing shoes for women. Their items are now sold in leading stores in countries worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, South of France, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and the USA.

To improve the search experience on the storefront, the Rollie team enables AI synonyms to get shoppers to the right items they’re searching:

  • Gold Rose → Rose Gold
  • Totepack → Tote bag
  • Shoes/Shoe → Sneakers
  • Gray → Grey

Semantic Search

This term is no longer new to leading e-retailers as they’ve been taking advantage of semantic search to drive personalized search experiences.

Beyond the old keyword matching, semantic se­arch explores what customers re­ally mean with their queries. Using the sophisticate­d algorithm and the natural language processing (NLP) techniques provides a search experience that unde­rstands user intent better, making each search more effective and e­njoyable.

Semantic search is an important feature of the eCommerce search engine.

It's easier for your site search if people are specific about what they want to buy. However, shoppers often just get a general idea or don't know precisely what your brand offers. So, we did a small experiment, once with semantic search and the other without it.

As you can see, with a generic term like ‘dress in dark color', the semantic search can provide consumers with feasible results despite the unmatched keywords in their search query, while the other leads to a dead end.

Allow Search Access To More Than Just Your Items

While browsing your store, visitors may still explore various product-related information instead of looking for a specific item. Thus, ensure your onsite­ search brings them their desired results. In addition to product name­s, it should incorporate size charts, category summarie­s, technical details, and other resources. Your search helps shoppe­rs learn more about options as they consider their purchase.

Dermalogica's onsite search allows visitors to access to their blog posts

Source: Dermalogica
Dermalogica is a skincare firm based in the United States. They focus on cleansers, exfoliants, toners, masques, eye treatments, moisturizers, and an acne treatment line for teens. When prospects search for pimples, their engine lets them choose to find more details about a specific product or broaden their knowledge of ance-prone skin through some blog articles.

Faceted Search

Let shoppers search the way they want to search!
Some will want to filter by department or topic. Others are interested in the best reviews. Some want the lowest price first, while others want the highest price first. Nancy may look for red, Jamie desires violet, and Lia wants yellow.

faceted search on Esports Gear


With the faceted search, the Esports Gear’s conversion rate has witnessed a noticeable growth of 29%. (Source: Esports Gear)
The filtering options save Esports Gear valuable time in customer service and keep the customer engaged and in ‘purchase mode’ rather than having to contact them or navigate off the site to find the answer to common questions.

Configure Search Functions On Mobile With Care

Mobile commerce is the norm if you want to succeed in this industry.
You'll lose loyal customers if it's tough for mobile users to click on that small magnifying glass or engage with your mobile search box. Buttons may be more effective than links. You may want the search field to open automatically. Whatever you decide to do with the search design, do some usability testing to find the approach that works.
eCommerce search on the mobile version
Source: Orka

On Orka’s mobile site, the search bar takes center stage, and it's simple to utilize with just a few taps.

Read more: 5 Ecommerce UX Best Practices That Increase Sales

Site Search Reports

Stop setting up everything by hunch and hope it turns out well.

Instead, you should look at data about shoppers' search behaviors to make decisions.

Reports on search behaviors

Gain detailed reports on search results & learn what items are doing great and which ones may need a boost. (Source: Boost AI Search & Discovery)

Consider this: you can learn exactly which products are the most sought after (and, if they aren't also the most purchased, it may indicate that the product page isn't as effective as it might be), what terms people use to locate things, and which items they're most likely to click on in search results. Furthermore, a filtering system may reveal more about their favorite style, size, color preferences, and other aspects.

What's Next?

And that’s all for now!

Start using outline best practices for eCommerce search to match shoppers’ intent with your products. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so don’t be afraid of having some tests to find out what works for you. Your customers will thank you for the smooth shopping journey a great search brings.

We wish you a very prosperous New Year! May the upcoming year be filled with success and wealth.

CiCi Nguyen

Content Specialist at Boost Commerce

Cici is a Content Specialist at Boost Commerce. She loves doing research and writing to share helpful information with readers. Outside of work, she is a food lover and passionate about cooking and reading comics.