▷ Internal search engine: essential for your e-commerce

It is a tool integrated into a website, such as an online store, which allows the Internet user to easily find a particular product. Its operation resembles that of Google and other “classic” engines. The user enters keywords corresponding to his order in a search bar. The internal search engine will then analyze the terms present in this field to present you with relevant results…

What is an internal search engine?

As its name suggests, this search engine is “internal”. This means that it will only offer results specific to your site (and not the entire internet).

This search system is particularly appreciated by Internet users. It allows them to find what they need quickly and easily, even in stores with many references.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of the built-in search engine for e-commerce.

Why is this tool essential on your website?

The presence of a built-in search engine on an e-commerce website is of particular importance. It is a key element of what is called searchandising🇧🇷

This anglicism is formed by the juxtaposition of the terms Search for and merchandising🇧🇷 In short, this corresponds to optimizing the search functions of a sales website to boost its performance.

So what are the top three benefits of this tool for your online store?

1- A better user experience (UX)

72%: The number of consumers who say they use an e-commerce site’s internal search engine to find a product they intend to buy. Comparatively, it’s “only” 55% to go through the website’s menus.

These numbers, from a study carried out in 2022 by Sensefuel among French, German and British internet users, clearly demonstrate that this system has become essential!

It should be noted that it is not just used to find a particular product. Today, consumers are also:

  • 43% use it to find out what a site has to offer;
  • 52% use it to make a compulsive purchase;
  • 44% use this tool to explore a product category.

On the other hand, 10% of mobile users systematically use it when visiting an online store.

That simple little search bar is now an integral part of a successful user experience.

2- An increased conversion rate

By helping the visitor to find what he needs, the internal search engine becomes an engine… of conversion!

There are relatively few recent statistics on the subject. However, numerous case studies tend to show that visitors who use a website’s search bar are between 1.8 and 3 times more likely to make a purchase than others.

It’s worth integrating an internal search engine into your e-commerce, isn’t it?

3- An easy anticipation of trends

Third and not least, your website’s internal search engine is a precious ally to collect useful information.

By analyzing unsuccessful searches, for example, you can find out what your visitors need and add the product(s) in question to your catalogue.

You can also scrutinize queries typed by Internet users and thus anticipate trends. Do you sell heating systems and notice that wood stoves are now more in demand in your area than pellet stoves? This gives you a good idea of ​​which models you will need to order in larger quantities from your supplier.

Whether you use the one built into your CMS, or call a programmer to create one for you, it’s important that your internal search engine has some functionality.[1] 🇧🇷 This will help you to increase your conversion rate.

1- Focus on relevance

Still according to the Sensefuel study, only 14% of users say they are satisfied with the results of the internal search. In question ? Their lack of relevance. Consumers would like their requests to be better understood in order to be able to consult products that really meet their expectations.

2- Make typing easier with autocomplete

As we have seen, Internet users mostly use the internal search engine to find a specific reference. Autocomplete is therefore a way to simplify your task and make your experience smoother and faster.

3- Improve typo tolerance

What could be more frustrating for a consumer than not finding the “coffee pot” they’re looking for because of a forgotten accent, or the latest “Bridgetsone” tire because of two backwards letters?

Help with correcting queries and accounting for typos will help you convert more!

4- Guide the user with suggestions

Sometimes it happens that users do not know what phrase to type in the search bar to find what they need. In those cases, they tend to appreciate a nudge with suggestions that match the terms they used.

5- Offer a voice or image search

“OK Google”, “say Siri”… Internet users are used to using voice commands to carry out their searches in traditional search engines. So it makes sense that they would expect the same from internal search engines.

The same goes for visual search (by image), which allows consumers to find the product they are looking for based on a photo.

6- Optimize the display of results

An effective search engine is also and above all one that will be able to present its results in a logical and ergonomic way! Let us not forget that navigation on smartphones is the majority in the world today: it will therefore be imperative that this display be mobile friendly🇧🇷

Now you know the importance of the internal search engine for your e-commerce: it’s up to you!

About the author

Olivier CLEMENCE: E-Commerce Trainer. Since 2006 I support e-merchants to help them develop their sales through my blog: https://www.reussir-mon-ecommerce.fr, training and Prestashop modules.

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