It’s plain, unobtrusive, and takes up just a fraction of screen space – yet the humble search bar is one of the most powerful drivers of online retail growth today.

As the digital shopping journey becomes ever more sophisticated, consumers are increasingly selective about where and how they spend their hard-earned cash. Wise retailers understand that it’s no longer enough to merely push out the same old products and services, then leave it in the hands of fate that they find the right market. Today’s savvy shoppers expect a personalised, relevant, user-friendly experience. And every purchase starts with a search.


Successful search experiences boost conversion rates

According to our State of the Connected Customer report, shoppers who use site search account for almost a quarter of all digital sales. Meanwhile, mobile users — currently the major drivers of traffic growth — are over two-and-a-half times more likely to purchase when they click on a search bar.

The report, which draws on the responses of 8,000 consumers and business buyers, backs up the claim that the search bar is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to help shoppers find what they are looking for.

The key takeaway for retailers is that a successful search experience is proven to boost conversion rates and maximise customer satisfaction. So it’s well worth taking the time to get it right.


How to direct first-time visitors to your search bar

Direct first-time site visitors to your search bar by placing it clearly and prominently on your website’s homepage. This makes it visible on all devices. ‘Sticky’ search bars, which always remain in view while the site visitor scrolls the page, are shown to improve the search experience.

Build common misspellings into your site dictionary and review low-converting terms to see if adjustments are needed. Once you’ve got the basic tools in place, Salesforce’s across-the-board eCommerce expertise will help you to stay ahead of the field with tried-and-tested advice on personalisation and tips for improving conversion.


Personalise the search process with the power of AI

The digital search process has already gone to an exciting new level with the introduction of AI power. This is a logical next step for forward-thinking companies. In fact, the majority of customers surveyed for the Salesforce report cited personalised engagements, based on past interactions, are key to winning and maintaining their business.

AI not only streamlines the search functionality by providing more accurate and more relevant results, but it also optimises the customer experience with intelligent input, such as:

  • providing alternative recommendations when a product is unavailable

  • utilising image recognition technology to identify a product from a screenshot

  • anticipating a search term from the first few typed characters

As AI swiftly becomes the eCommerce industry standard, retailers must stay at the cutting edge to compete successfully for new business in a fast-moving world.

For more insights into the current trends in online shopping, download our State of the Connected Customer report!