Not every search term results in a rendered ‘Search Results’ page. In fact, many terms site visitors search for will return a ‘No Results’ page for a variety of reasons. For example, a site visitor could be searching for beluga caviar on a gourmet food site, and the site is either out of stock or never carried it in the first place. Still, a ‘No Results’ page can play an important part of the site search experience. Using it to your best advantage can improve your conversion rate and deliver a better customer experience. 

SLI’s reports show which search terms visitors use on your site, and which terms generate zero results or poor results (defined as those with less than a 10% clickthrough rate). This information is invaluable, because you can use it to keep site visitors engaged even when their exact search was unsuccessful. Keeping them on the site longer to consider their alternatives can make all the difference to their shopping experience and your bottom line. Here are 5 ways to improve the outcome of a ‘No Results’ search:

  1. Add synonyms: See which terms your site visitors are using, and incorporate those terms (and their synonyms) into both your site and the SLI Merchandising Console
  2. Create tuning rules: if a search phrase does not return any products, you can use SLI’s Tune Results module to manually add select products for that specific search phrase 
  3. Expand your stock offerings: Review your SLI reporting data to look for trends and see if you need to expand your product line to help you increase sales. 
  4. Show popular products: Use SLI’s basic templates to add popular products to your ‘No Results’ page quickly and easily.  
  5. Use keyword-specific banners: Banners can help lead customers to related content or products that are likely to be of interest. For example, when customers search for  a product that you no longer stock, a keyword banner can cleverly relay a message that while you no longer carry the searched-for product, there are other alternatives to consider.

Like so many elements of a good shopping experience, using the ‘No Results’ page to your advantage can be subtle, but still have a big impact on how your customer perceives their time on your site. Make sure they don’t ever experience a dead-end during their browsing and shopping. That way, you demonstrate respect for their time and an earnest desire to meet their needs with whatever you do have in stock at any given moment. Customers appreciate this; it’s part of what keeps them visiting again and again.