Sli-Systems who provide site search, navigation and merchandising solutions, has released a white-paper called “Big Book of Site Search Tips“, which contains lost of useful tips how to improve your own ecommerce website site search.
Examples of what’s covered:
1. Consider showing the available colors in the search result for products that are available in multiple colors.
You may only have room for this in a list view format.
2. Test the placement of refinements.
Businesses provide refinements in different places on their sites, often at the top of pages or in the left navigation pane. The bottom of the page is probably not the best position for refinement options, since visitors have to scroll down the page to view them. Any of these options may work for you and your site visitors, but it is important to test different positions.
3. Consider showing larger images when visitors mouse over a thumbnail image in the search results.
This is particularly suitable for product searches. Normally on the product page there are large images that allow visitors to see the product detail closely. However, search results pages usually display smaller thumbnail images that are hard to see the full detail of the image. By having a large image pop up when your customers mouse over the product listing, they can easily examine the detailed images for all the products shown on the results page without having to click into the product page.
4. Offer grid and list view options, if applicable.
A grid view is typically suitable for a product search. Depending on the size of the images you can display three, four or five across the page, and as a result, you’re able to show many more products above the fold. In a list view, you can provide a more in-depth description of the product along with other information such as category, shipping, ratings, number of reviews, etc. Conduct testing on your site to determine which view generates the best return, but consider offering your visitors the option to see results in both formats. Some people simply respond better to a list format, whereas others might like to see things in a grid. Let your customers choose how they want to see the results, and you may have a better likelihood of converting them.
5. Show ratings and reviews in search results.
Site visitors place high value on the opinions and feedback of other people who’ve shopped for similar products or services, and showing the average rating in search results helps them better determine what they want to click on. You should allow visitors to further refine or reorder their search results based on ratings. You should also show, in the search results, the number of reviews that a product has.
6. Consider adding Auto Complete to your search box.
This feature suggests possible terms when visitors start typing the first letters of a keyword. This is especially useful for hard-to-spell searches. Auto Complete also helps site visitors save time by requiring fewer keystrokes. In addition, spelling errors occur less frequently and spelling suggestions are required less often on sites with this technology.
The terms that are shown in the auto complete drop down should be drawn from the most popular search terms on your site. And you should show the most popular terms first in the list.
Download the “Big Book of Site Search Tips“…