Auto-complete is a search prediction solution that starts displaying relevant search results for queries as the search terms are being typed. The search box is a small part of a website but when equipped with auto-complete, it enhances the user experience to a great extent.
Auto-complete can accomplish a lot more than just predicting words before they are typed. Following are some of the best practices to optimize it:
Make Sure It Is Fast
People prefer online shopping because of speed. While you need to ensure that the process of purchasing is quick, that is not the only place where you should consider speed. You must also make sure that your visitors are able to find your products quickly. Auto-complete plays an important role here, but if it waits for your visitors to type in a complete word to show them the appropriate suggestions it can end up decreasing your conversion rate. Prevent this by having auto-complete on a “search-as-you-type” speed – show predictive suggestions for search terms immediately.
Optimize It Beyond Product Information
Your visitors will not only look for details about your products on your website. They will also want to see the content on the other pages of the website like your contact information, returns policy, etc. The auto-complete feature should be able to show suggestions for different pages on your website and direct your visitors to their desired pages.
Tailor Suggestions For Different Pages
Customization helps you to further increase the search accuracy and simplify the search experience of your users. Narrow down the search suggestions to the information on the pages that your visitors are on.
Provide Suggestions Based On Search Histories
Study the recent online search behavior of your customers to give them relevant product suggestions. For example, if someone has been looking for formal shoes on online search engines and is searching for shirts on your website, offer them suggestions for formal shirts. Or if someone just bought a party wear gown from your website and is looking for handbags, show them suggestions from your collection of clutches.
Customize Suggestions According To Locations
Factors like weather, festival days, wedding seasons, etc. vary according to locations. Offer your customers relevant personalized suggestions based on these factors when they search for your products. And if you have ongoing offers on those products mention that in the suggestions bar as well.
Consider The Latest Trends
Most customers like to keep up with trends, especially when it comes to products like clothes, jewelry, makeup, etc. Taking advantage of the latest trends is a popular and easy way to make more sales. If your customers are looking for makeup products during the summer season show them suggestions for sweat-proof products. For clothes, suggest those in the color of the year or seasonal color.
Promote Products On Sale
Use auto-complete as an opportunity to promote your ongoing offers. If products related to a search term are on sale, put them on top of the suggestions list.
Label The Suggestions
When you have multiple suggestions for a search term, sort them using labels to enable your visitors to distinguish between them. The most common ways of sorting are by type, brand, category, etc. This will enable visitors to directly click on their desired product instead of having to check each product and its details to find the right one.
Avoid showing irrelevant suggestions that can distract your visitors from their query-related suggestions. For instance, refrain from showing them offers on products other than what they are looking for.
Use Visual Depth
A lot of activity happens on every webpage of an ecommerce website at a time. There are product launch alerts, sale alerts, chatbot popups, email subscription popups, etc. This can take your visitors’ focus off the search bar. Prevent your visitors from getting distracted by the elements surrounding the search bar by darkening the page behind it.
Avoid Having A Scrollbar
Scrolling through multiple suggestions takes a lot of time and energy for your visitors, resulting in them abandoning your website. Have the suggestions drop-down list to expand to accommodate multiple results.
Difficulty in reading your suggestions will result in difficulty in making purchases for your customers, and losses for your business. Use the following tips to enhance the readability of the suggestions:
• Use a legible font size and font.
• Use text wrapping
• Have a suitable amount of gap between each suggestion.
• Use lines to separate the suggestions.