Is your Magento-powered e-commerce site performing as well as you’d like? Are you like the majority of online sellers that are frustrated because their sales don’t reflect the time, effort and expense they’ve invested? Sure, the traffic is there, but the order just aren’t coming in. What if I told you that you simply need to add some leverage to one of the tools you already have to solve that problem?
There’s a “secret” to selling things online. It’s not about SEO or email marketing and actually, it’s no secret at all; it’s a matter of common sense. There are two requirements you have to meet:
- Have the products your visitors are looking for.
- Make those products easy to find and purchase.
That’s a pretty simple formula, right? Well, maybe, if you can read the minds of your potential buyers! While nothing can help you do that yet, there are Magento Search extensions that can that can help your visitors help you know what they want and get them to it fast. Magento search by Instant Search is one example of an extension that adds high-end search functionality for your site users and an important set of tools for you.
What’s Wrong with Magento Search?
You already know what a powerful e-commerce platform you’ve chosen for your site and you also know that it came with a customizable search engine built in. So, are we saying that there’s something wrong with it? Absolutely not. What we’re saying is that, while it’s a reasonably good tool for your visitors, it can be enhanced to provide an even better search experience, while becoming a powerful tool for your merchandising and promotions. The end result is a higher conversion rate for your site.
Here’s what needs to happen if you want to maximize the selling potential of the website search on your Magento site:
The most successful online stores incorporate site search engine tools that allow the application to “learn”. This lets it deliver quick suggestions based on a keystroke or two, correct typos and offer synonyms. It also enables prioritization of results, based on what’s popular in past searches.
This is a feature that online shoppers have come to expect and they expect it to be as automated as possible, without the need to click a “show me similar items” button, etc. It should just happen.
The entire search experience should be visually-oriented. That means even the suggestions that load should include at least a thumbnail photo and a price. That lets your visitors know at a glance whether an item is what they’re looking for and if it’s affordable.
Statistically speaking, the majority of today’s online shoppers (81%) research products before they set out to buy them. That means they’re coming to your store knowing exactly what they want, what it looks like and what they should expect to pay. If you can show them the right product quickly at the right price, you’re well on your way to making a sale.
Search Refinement Options
If a potential buyer doesn’t see what he or she is looking for quickly, the next thing he/she will look for is a menu with navigation options and filters to narrow down the search results. The most effective website search engines automatically generate this feature when results start to appear. The strategy is to allow that well-informed prospective customer to get to the right item, including color, size, etc. without having to jump through several hoops.
When visitors see a matching item, they should be able to get a better look and read some details without having to lad a separate product page. This lets them avoid jumping back and forth to find the exact match and saves time. Keep in mind that today’s “power shoppers” want instant gratification.
The best strategy for this is a site search tool that includes a button in the preview that pops up a details page with a larger photograph and the most pertinent information about the product. It doesn’t replace your product page; it simply makes it easier for knowledgeable buyers to verify that item is what they want.
“Quick and easy” is the operative term for online shopping. Once your customers have found the right products, they’re going to want to buy them with the fewest possible number of steps. That applies even if they’re not done shopping.
It goes like this: Joe Customer finds the first item on his list and wants to buy it, but sees some other things he might want in the search results, too. Joe doesn’t want to leave the results page, so he pops up the details for his item and looks for the “Add to Cart” button. If it’s there, you made a sale and he’s going to look at more merchandise. If not, this may be the last time you see Joe on your site.
Your search results should offer a one-click purchasing option, separate from your product pages. The “Quick View” popup is a great place to add that.
Speed, Speed and more Speed.
There’s nothing more annoying to a potential customer than waiting. That’s even more true in the online world than it is in a brick-and-mortar store. All of those neat things we’ve mentioned above need to happen very quickly if you want to convert shoppers into buyers.
With the multi-tasking required for many of the features we’ve talked about, especially in a multi-user environment, it’s easy to overload your server. Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid that, by utilizing cloud-based applications. Magento advanced search engine extensions utilize the cloud and that’s what your search needs to do.
Analytics and Merchandising
So far, we’ve covered a lot of things your Magento search should do for your visitors. How about using it to help you with product placement, promotions, purchasing and all those other tedious tasks you face in running your online store?
If your search extension is providing the suggestions and prioritization mentioned earlier, it’s already retrieving and analyzing the search data. Why not use that stream for your own analytics? What could be more valuable than the ability to see what your visitors are looking for, finding and buying? Just one thing: the ability to use that information for marketing and merchandising.
Putting it all Together
Alright, we’ve laid out quite a list of features that you might want to look for in a Magento Search extension. By now, I’m sure you know that there are several available that offer one or more of the features we’ve listed. The one mentioned earlier in this article provides everything listed and takes 2 minutes to install.