Building the Best Search Box

A search box should be like a friendly sales associate – engaging shoppers and directing them to exactly what they are looking for.  Search is the most important eCommerce navigation tool on your site.  It should be easy to find and available from all pages.  Below are a few basic things to consider:

Size of box and buttons
In general, boxes and buttons should be large and rectangular. Creative shapes may look nice, but can hurt you when it conflicts with expectations, as shoppers scan sites quickly and are accustomed to corners.

Make sure the search box is long enough to accommodate more descriptive search terms and phrases.  The submit button should also be large enough to click on in a hurry.

Think about a complimentary or bright color scheme to help the box and button jump off the page.  Also be sure to label the button “search” or “find” instead of something more ambiguous like “go.”

Always place your eCommerce site search box at the top of each page – right, left or center. Make sure it stands out from other boxes.  Subscription or other promotional boxes can create confusion if they are not clearly differentiated. You may want to consider placing other box-like promotions at mid-page or lower.

Suggestive search box
Add a phrase to your search box like “what are you looking for?” A conversational question or phrase will lead to more descriptive searches, which will produce more accurate results.  Conversely, a search box that says “product number” will suggest to shoppers that you want succinct model number versus a conversational phrase.  Shorter eCommerce site search phrases may not have enough information to match to all the relevant items in your product catalogue.

Remember: the search box is the most valuable real estate on your site. Your eCommerce merchandising and eCommerce searchandising strategies will fail if shoppers can’t find and properly utilize your search box.  Spend the time and effort upfront to get it right.

Do you have additional search box tips to share?  Drop them in the comments below or Tweet us with #EasyAsk.


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