Fast on the heels of our “Big Book of Site Search Tips,” we’ve published another whitepaper about e-commerce site search and how companies can leverage it to improve the way people buy online.

This newest paper discusses how site search should act on an e-commerce site much in the same way store clerks guide customers to products in brick and mortar stores. In other words, if a customer walks in the door – or visits your site – and you don’t carry the shoes she wants in her size, or you don’t have the particular color pants he’s looking for, would you simply let them walk out the door without offering other alternatives, or at least offering to order the particular item for them? Probably not – and your site search shouldn’t either.

Likewise, if a customer finds an item in your offline store that they wish to purchase, wouldn’t you take that opportunity to suggest other items they might also be interested in – or point out items on sale? Your site search should do this too. It’s called ‘searchandising’ and it’s a way to guide customers to other products that might be of interest when they’re searching your site.

Research shows that people who use the search box on an online retail site convert at three times the rate of those who don’t, so search is obviously an important function that deserves great attention. But don’t just think of your site search as a search box and results, and nothing more. You can actually leverage visitors’ search activities to promote products through additional search suggestions and banner ads on results pages, as well as through SEO and paid search placements. Additionally, you want to make sure results are relevant and contain the right information that will help your customers more easily make a purchase – like price, availability, images and video (if available), and user ratings/reviews (if available).

Download our free white paper here and learn how your site search can be improved so that more people make purchases on your site. Simple enhancements can result in big conversion increases when implemented properly.