Commentary

Help 'Spearfisher' Shoppers With Smart Search

When you’re trying to turn shoppers into buyers, it’s important to know which shoppers should get most of your attention. (Hint: It’s not browsers.)

According to the recent Forrester Research report “Must-Have eCommerce Features,” it’s critical that retailers support “spearfishers” -- or shoppers who already have a specific product or brand in mind (versus those aimlessly browsing).

To achieve this, Forrester suggests casting one’s hook with easy-to-use site search, including auto-complete, and clear site departments to support spearfishers who want to find, buy, and move on. Additional research upholds Forrester’s findings as:

  • 8 seconds is the average time visitors spend before deciding whether or not to remain on a site.
  • 43% of visitors immediately go to the search box and searchers are two to three times more likely to convert to customers than non-searchers.

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It’s clear that many online shoppers are spearfishers, which is why it is important for retailers to quickly serve up the products they are looking for.

Top Tips To Hook Spearfishers for E-Commerce Success

Here are top tips to help provide your most focused shoppers with a satisfying search experience that leads to improved conversions and sales:

Autocomplete with Graphics – Type Less, Buy More

A critical feature for speed in site search is the ability to auto-populate product results and images from the first letter a searcher types. It gives shoppers one-click access to products they want to buy, reducing the number of clicks from search to purchase.

For even better guidance, show search suggestions based on category, brand or department to let shoppers quickly jump to the right section of results. For example, a generic search for “wine” at a wine retailer could show more specific categories and popular choices for wine gifts, wine glasses, wine and cheese, etc.

Moreover, allow users to preview products of interest right within the auto-complete box. To increase engagement and give shoppers more choices, update the products displayed when users hover over search suggestions.

Jump Directly to a Results Page When You Know the Answer

Help shoppers find exactly what they are looking for with as few clicks as possible. Use redirects when you want to take visitors to a particular page on your site rather than showing search results for a query (or class of queries).

For example, if there is only one result for a particular search, it may make sense to take the visitor directly to that result, rather than showing them the search results page. Similarly, when visitors type in a specific product or SKU number, take them directly to the product page.

Create Landing Pages Related to Specific Keywords

To increase relevance and user experience for very popular search terms, redirect users to a specific landing page tailored to that search keyword. For example, you may already have landing pages dedicated to particular brands. When visitors search for specific brands, you can send them to the related brand page instead of a generic search results page.

We recommend examining your site search reports to identify the most popular searches. Then consider whether you can provide a better experience by having dedicated landing pages for some searches.

Don’t Forget Mobile

To ensure that they don’t abandon their shopping session early, speed and ease are especially critical for mobile “spearfisher” shoppers. Make sure your auto-complete helps you capture sales from your small-screen shoppers with dedicated mobile and tablet designs that automatically display options correctly regardless of device size and orientation.

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