[10 Minute Tune-Up]
Optimizing Site Search Functionality For Easier Product Discovery

In the first “10 Minute Tune-Up” episode, host Scott Reid focuses on enhancing product discovery with effective site search optimization for Ecommerce sites. This series delivers actionable strategies in traffic and website optimization within a succinct 10-minute format. Highlighting the importance of A/B testing, Scott zeroes in on mobile site search improvements, addressing common oversights. He critiques real Ecommerce sites like Joyrich and Nutiva, pointing out frequent mistakes such as invisible search icons and confusing mobile ‘go’ buttons. Stressing site search’s role in product discovery, especially for extensive catalogs, Scott advocates for user research to pinpoint and address navigational challenges. He concludes by encouraging Ecommerce professionals to benchmark their site search features against discussed best practices, underscoring that streamlined product discovery can markedly enhance sales.

EPISODE SNAPSHOT

  • [2:21] Improving site search functionality for mobile users.
  • [5:12] Mobile search functionality in e-commerce.
  • [7:08] Website search functionality and user experience.

ACCOMPANYING VIDEO

EPISODE DESCRIPTION

In this debut episode of the “10 Minute Tune-Up” series, host Scott Reid delves into a crucial aspect of Ecommerce: enhancing product discovery through effective site search optimization.

The 10 Minute Tune-Up series aims to provide Ecommerce professionals with one actionable strategy within a 10-minute span, focusing on either traffic or website optimization.

Scott emphasizes the importance of A/B testing for website optimization ideas, highlighting that strategies successful on one site might not universally apply. This episode primarily concentrates on improving site search functionality, especially on mobile platforms, where user challenges are often overlooked.

Through real examples from various Ecommerce sites, Scott illustrates common pitfalls and best practices in site search. He points out issues like the absence of a visible search icon, the confusion around the ‘go’ button on mobile devices, and the effective use of search bars and icons.

Brands reviewed in this episode include:

https://joyrich.com/

https://www.nutiva.com/

https://hippeas.com/

https://www.getwelly.com/

Scott also discusses the necessity of site search functionality in correlation with the number of products offered. He suggests conducting user research to understand product discovery challenges better and whether implementing site search (if not present) could alleviate these issues.

The episode concludes with Scott urging listeners to evaluate their own websites’ search functionalities against the best practices discussed and to understand that facilitating easier and more intuitive product discovery can significantly boost sales.

SPONSOR

This episode is brought to you by Ecommerce Optimizers

At Ecommerce Optimizers, we specialize in helping Ecommerce brands in one focused area: and that’s making your website easier to use so that more of your visitors buy from you. 

An easy-to-use website delivers a highly intuitive, straightforward, and smooth experience throughout the customer journey – making it much easier and more enjoyable to do business with you. This translates into a wide variety of business-building benefits, including increased revenue, higher profits, and happier, loyal customers who buy from you time and time again. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we make Ecommerce sites easier to use and how our services might benefit your business, head on over to our website at EcommerceOptimizers.com and check out all the details.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

00:00
Welcome to the E commerce optimizer Show. I’m your host, Scott Reid. So I’m really excited about today’s episode because it is the very first 10 minute tune up episode. So this is going to be an ongoing series, during which within 10 minutes or less, each episode is going to provide you with one actionable strategy tip tactic technique in either traffic optimization, or website optimization across those two disciplines. All right, one thing that I want to say on that is that with anything that I am sharing, in terms of specifically website optimization ideas, is that you should always a B test these on your site to make sure that they are making a positive impact. It’s not always the case, just because something’s a best practice and works on one site does not mean that it’s going to work on your site. Okay, so that’s just one just kind of blanket statement I want to get out there. This is a post production at it, we had originally recorded this episode with a video component to it. And there still is, but on the podcast channels, we’re just going to have audio. And then we’re going to include the video for episodes that do have video components on our website and on our YouTube channel. It just wasn’t proving to be as effective as we would have liked. I guess it’s one of those growing pains type things where we’re getting started with the podcast, we’re trying to deliver as much value as we can. And as part of delivering that value, we really wanted to show some real life live examples of different implementations on actual sites rather than just talking about these best practices on these 10, minute tuneups, and perhaps other types of episodes, certainly not all of them, but some of them will have a video component to enhance the learning experience. And what I would recommend is listen to the audio. And you’re probably going to get, I’d say like 80 to 90% of it just through listening to me talk about it. But if you want to drill down deeper, and you want to look and see exactly what I’m talking about with these case, study examples, just go over our website at ecommerce optimizers.com, go to the podcast page, and then all the videos with each episode will be listed on that podcast page. Okay, it’ll also be on the YouTube channel. So sorry for the confusion, just wanted to do as much as we can in terms of a learning experience. And hopefully, this is something that will stick and be effective for everybody. Thanks a lot. And now back to the episode. That being said, this episode is all about it’s focusing on one thing, which is making product discovery easier for your website visitors. Now there are a lot of different ways your visitors discover the products and get to the products that they’re looking to purchase or researcher or whatever. And those are using navigation categories, filters, those types of things. But there’s also one that’s incredibly important. And that is your site search functionality. Specifically in mobile, we see this a lot as being a challenge for many users. Because sometimes there’s a group of users that when they’re using the touch keyboard on the mobile device to enter a search query, they’re not noticing that they can push search or go down to the upper side down in the lower right hand corner to initiate that search. And so they fumble around, up around that search input box, the search bar to try to get that search to go through. So let me just show you what I mean. In real terms thing I’m going to do is I’m going to just see if there’s search at the top, there’s not there’s not an icon, that’s that’s clearly visible. To me, that’s kind of on a different note. But there’s not a magnifying glass or a loop depending on what you refer to that as. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to open up on my iPhone here, the hamburger menu, and I’m going to go to the search, I do see search. So I’m going to click on it there. But now what I’m going to do is search for something. So I’m going to type in here shirt. Now you’ll notice in the lower right hand corner, we have the Go button. And that may be very obvious to you. But as I said many people are there’s a certain group of people where that’s not obvious. And so what they do is they go up here, and they start trying to enter and they can’t do it, okay, and it leads to confusion. So a best practice is to have some type of button around that input box that says Search or something or search now or whatever it is, whatever text it is that works best, so that it’s really clear for your users that when they push that button that that will initiate the search, okay, and that can be an icon. It can be words, there’s a bunch of different things. Now on the desktop version of this ecommerce brand. We do have an icon we have the magnifying glass up here. So I want to click on that. I want to make the point. I’m using this as an example because it’s not nearly as big of a deal when you’re working on a desktop and Experience, alright, because people just use the the enter button, I’m already on my keyboard. From a user experience standpoint, the easiest thing for me is to is to hit enter. And that’s what I see. So that’s fine to me. The next example is nutiva@nutiva.com. And I’m on my iPhone. So I’m going to click on I see that there’s a magnifying glass or loop icon right in the top, which is wonderful, I know that their search, I’m going to click on that. Now in the search bar, I’m going to type in coconut, because I know that they have some a lot of coconut products. And so I can do one of two things, I can click the Go button down in the lower right hand corner, or, what I can do is click that magnifying glass on the left hand side of the search bar. And when I click that, it displays a search results. Now, that’s a less obvious alternative than having a button that says Search. But it still works. And it’s a good implementation. So from a desktop version, they had a great implementation. With this, I see the magnifying glass right up here at the top, I click on that, and what happens we get a nice, beautiful, very clear and crisp search bar right at the top. So this is a great implementation of search functionality in terms of locating it. All right, our next example is a brand by the name of hippies, H I P P e, a s.com. It’s a chickpea based snack product. And I gotta tell you, I’ve been a fan of this for years. On to the side, it’s just a, it’s just a really, really, really tasty product. But in any event, let’s take a look at the mobile search functionality. So I’m on my iPhone, I’m going to click on the magnifying glass. And you can see that again in the upper left hand corner. So that’s obvious. I come in here and I’m going to search for vegan because I know that that is something on this site that is irrelevant. So I see that. And this is a this is a fantastic implementation. It shows me a couple different choices, it says products, and then it says View all. So I know that if I click intuitively, if I know that if I click View All that it’s going to come up. And so this is a great implementation in terms of search functionality. Now, interestingly, when we go to the desktop version of the site, there is no search functionality. Okay? Now, there’s a couple of reasons for this. And I just wanted to talk about this, this is not a critique or anything, it’s just more of a comment or an observation. When I go to shop, and I go to shop all there are 14 products. So do we need to have search on a site with 14 products? That’s really a question best to be answered through user research. Through user research, what you can do is identify to see if there are any product discovery challenges that people are experiencing. And if there were, and those could be potentially alleviated fixed through using or implementing site search, then that’s what you would do. But with 14 products, it’s kinda like six of one half dozen of another site search functionality would be something that should be included or not. So that being said, I just wanted to comment on that, I thought it was an interesting observation and kind of an interesting case study in the use of desktop search functionality. All right, now we’re on our final example, we are at wellI, the brand wellI at get welly.com. So I wanted to start out by talking about this by reviewing the desktop version of the site first, and I found their use of site search functionality to be really top top notch. Alright, we haven’t right up here in the upper right has a magnifying glass says search, we can put the cursor right in there, and we can type in whatever we want. So it was very, very clear and obvious to me as a website visitor where I could go to search for products. But the mobile version was really interesting to me, because there was no site search, I went to the site, and across the top nav bar, there’s nothing.

08:58
There’s no icon. So I go went over here to the hamburger menu to check out, see if there’s anything here that was revealed, and there was nothing. So on the mobile version, there was no site search, I’m guessing that that’s some type of an oversight. And it’s not by design, because clearly, if you have a wide variety of products, you have site search on your desktop site, it would only make sense to also have it on your mobile site, because product discovery is going to be more challenging on mobile, just by nature of the device than it would be on desktop. That being said, we are closing in on our 10 minute timeframe. So I just wanted to conclude this episode by giving you a little bit of homework. And that homework is to go to your mobile site. See how your site search functionality compares against the best practices that I just reviewed with you on this episode. Then after that, go over your desktop experience and see how that performs. The bottom line is this if you make product discovery easier and more intuitive for your website visitors you just going to sell more product it’s as simple as that I hope you got a lot of value out of this episode please hit subscribe if you haven’t already and we will see you on the next episode Have a great day