How to Increase Conversion with On-Site Search

On-Site Search is Your Customers’ Personal Assistant

They say that running an offline store and online store is absolutely different. Probably in some cases. But there are basic things that are canonic for both ways and cannot be neglected.

Imagine yourself searching for some boots or a dress. You come in the store with thousands of products and there is no one there! You start searching without being sure that this store even has something you need or at least something close to it. What are the chances you will buy there? Nobody knows.

But if you have a personal assistant by your side who can shortcut you to the product or help you with variants that can suit your needs, you are more likely to make a purchase.

Your on-site search is the personal assistant that grabs a visitor by the hand and leads to the product. This is the best tool to organize visitors journey in your store.

Who Uses On-Site Search Anyway? Is the Effort Worth It?

You have many options to segment your online store audience. One of them is “searchers/non-searchers”.

“Non-searchers” are those e-surfers who come to your storefront without a certain need to buy something. They can convert only after they go through the full-range sales funnel. First you have to attract them with your design, then engage with your product range, make them desire to buy with special offer and convert with convenient checkout. This process takes time and gives 1,5-3% average conversion.

But there are others—“searchers”—people who are looking for a certain product that you have. According to a report by Forrester Research 43% of online store visitors navigate immediately to the search box trying to find what they want and miss two steps of your sales funnel. Those “searchers” are 2-3x more likely to convert compared to “non-searchers” because they are here to buy.

Why Invest in Mobile Search

When it comes to mobile having a search box becoming critical. A recent study by Google shows that 80% of people in the world use mobile devices. And they are expecting to get fast, relevant and “less-typing” results. Especially while searching a product.

43% of the US citizens declared they search for goods online and buy them online. Though there are people who prefer to shop offline, they do the search online before going to the store. Altogether 72% of the US citizens search for goods online.

Google is saying that only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site if it doesn’t satisfy their needs—finding information or navigating quickly.

What is the Perfect Selling Search

Search has become a sales tool now. But the search itself doesn’t give your store an advantage. It should be performed the right way. Moreover major ecommerce platforms provide poor on-site search.

Let’s find out what the perfect high-quality selling search has to do to impact your sales and raise conversion.

Reduce the path

Show visitors exactly what they want to see. Give them a shortcut to the product from the instant search right from the search box by giving suggestions. Even in case of mistyping the product name a smart search will understand the request and will offer relevant variants. At the same time, the suggestions have to occur fast no matter how many products you have in the catalog.

Understand visitors

Built-in analytics tool is an inalienable part of the perfect search. It helps to follow your visitors and their preferences while they search. Find out what they are looking for, what they find, what suggestions help them. With this analytics in hands you can improve customers experience, adjust your search relevancy and improve conversion. Let your visitors tell you what they really want from you.

Be responsive

Even if your search is functionally very helpful it will fail if the visitor won’t be able to see it, find the “search” button, or will get a mess in search results. Especially on mobile. The design, usability and perfect look on any device is not the last thing to consider. The perfect search should have the ability to change the colours and the fonts. Or even have custom CSS and HTML.

Assist sales

If the search is smart and selling than why not let it do the upselling. Built-in promotion tool will be a powerful add allowing you to create simple promotions and show them in the instant search relevantly to the request. A search results page with rich filters allowing customers to filter out the products they are searching for on a single page can also influence the conversion rate in a positive way.

Real Examples of How Online Stores Increased Conversion by Optimizing On-Site Search

Active in Style

The guys didn’t have relevant search on Magento. Searching for a product customers along with the searched product saw other stuff not even close to what they were looking for and that distracted their attention and finally lead away from the purchase. Smart search changed the situation. The visitor now can access the exact product or relevant offers while typing in the word in a search box. Or from search results page which was generated by the search tool and overrode the default one. The page has lots of filters which can help to segment the products and can be customized.

The result is 31% conversion growth with increased number of visitors by 65%.


The owner of the store on Shopify was absolutely not happy with the default platform search. He saw that returning customers were not able to find the exact product they previously saw on his site. People came to the store, saw the product, left to compare prices on other sites and came back, but could not find that product again quickly. The owner tried to fix the problem by hiding the search box forcing visitors to browse the catalog looking for a product, but it didn’t help. Things changed with smart search which lead visitors to the product search immediately skipping the catalog.

The conversion through search increased by 45% and overall by 10%.

How to know that you need to optimise your on-site search

Google Analytics is the perfect way to measure out your on-site search effectiveness.

    • Monitor how often customers use search box
    • Compare search and non-search conversion
    • Measure the revenue and the average order
    • Track searchers’ behavior
  • Estimate how soon your investments in search optimisation will return

To have Google Analytics tracking your search statistics you need to activate Enhanced Ecommerce in the CS-Cart admin panel and in your GA account, connect them and turn on Site Search Tracking.

If the conversion without search is higher than the one with search—you have something to think over. There is a huge potential to reveal with the right search tool! Go for it!

Oleg SilakovOleg Silakov, Searchanise Product Manager

Searchanise is a smart on-site search tool for online stores that convert visitors into customers. It makes suggestions and autocorrections as you type and improves search results page with rich filters. Searchanise includes instruments to make customer’s navigation through collections more convenient, and store merchandising more effective. It looks and performs excellent on desktop and mobile.

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