Lots of online retailers incorporate personalization into different aspects of their websites to give customers a more intimate and familiar shopping experience. Did you know you can also personalize your site search? Some of our customers are doing interesting things in this area that might work well on your site too, as described below.

Search history: A list of the visitor’s recent searches, or a search history, is a nice way to say “welcome back” to customers – it means shoppers don’t need to remember the exact spelling of a product, and can remind them about a previous search. See how FTD.com does this — they show previous search terms when visitors return to the site and click on the search icon next to the search box, listing “Recent Searches” above the refinement options.

Include brand or product preferences: You can allow customers to narrow down the content or product choices they see when they search your site by storing their preferences so that on future visits, they don’t need to reenter them. For example, Cruiser Customizing lets shoppers preselect a make and model for their motorcycle so that site searches only yield items suitable for that particular bike.

Localize site search results: Ask shoppers to enter their address or zip code as they search so they only see results relevant to their location. Tractor Supply asks visitors for their zip codes as soon as they come to the site’s home page, allowing the company to deliver product availability and pricing based on location.

Link with social networks: Consider allowing visitors to use their Facebook profile as their account login, so they can see who in their social networks have “liked” a product or “pinned” it to their Pinterest board, or other activities they’ve engaged in.

Personalize by device: As consumers switch from PCs, tablets, and smartphones, it’s a plus when a website can tailor the experience based on which device they’re using, and perhaps even where they are. You can display merchandising banners on site search or other pages that highlight past activities or purchases on the particular device, and show local content such as store addresses and promotions when visitors  log in to your site from a mobile device. Consider also adding the “Search History” described above to your mobile site, so the visitor can access their past search terms no matter what platform they’re on.

What other ways are you personalizing the shopping experience on your own site?