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How to Handle “No Results” Page

The Dreaded Message?

“We’re sorry, your search returned no results”

It’s the page many Search and Merchandizing teams hope will never appear to their customers. And of course, good search should avoid the “No Results” page showing unnecessarily – for example, if a spelling mistake has been made. However, customers may be searching for products that are simply not available in the product catalog and therefore “No Results” pages are sometimes inevitable. But they don’t have to be a dead-end for potential customers; they can be an opportunity to engage with your users.

Never simply apologize to your customers, use the “No Results” page as a landing page in one or more of the following ways:

 

Show the shopper some products anyway

This is an opportunity to promote specific products. You might show products that are related to the current search or product suggestions based on the shopper’s search history. Alternatively, you might display top sellers or campaign-related products, for example, summer specials. Here is an example from thenorthface.com:

Make some search suggestions

The possibilities here for using the “No Results” page are numerous. Include one or more of the following:

  • Make some search suggestions that will return results using some of the words from the original search
  • Suggest that the customer removes one or more filters from their search
  • Display the top 3 trending searches made on the site (clickable)

Invite the shopper to further action

Leaving a shopper with no other options is a wasted opportunity. There are always further ways to engage after a “No Results” search:

  • Suggest that the shopper browses the site by category and direct them to where on the page they can do this. You might display some clickable popular categories. Here is an example from timberland.com:
  • If you stock numerous brands, you might suggest popular brands or featured designers, or even just list all available brands
  • Display a ‘Still can’t find what you’re looking for?’ section, giving the opportunity for a chatbot to step in or providing a telephone number or email address. The following pop-up was triggered from the No Results page, once again on timberland.com:
  • Provide a means for the shopper to give feedback on their search experience: ‘Tell us how we can improve our search’.

No need to give Search Tips

So many sites send a message to customers asking them to check their spelling or to use more general words. For example: “Your search returned no results. Try checking the spelling or using fewer or more general terms, e.g. ‘red’ or ‘frame’ – you can refine your results later.”

Some sites even advise users to try to think of different words to describe what they are looking for. And this process is necessary for most site search engines. But EasyAsk’s site search engine eliminates the need to provide such search tips. Using Natural Language Processing, EasyAsk will understand the shopper’s request no matter how many terms or spelling mistakes are present.

No excuses for dead-ends

With so many possibilities, there is never a reason to simply say “sorry for returning no results”. No matter how good search is, users will see a “No Results” page at some point.

Whatever information is displayed on the “No Results” page, it is important that the business user has control over it. Rather than being a fixed page, it should be dynamic and controlled by the merchandiser, so that they can see what’s happening and adjust the page accordingly. For this to happen, it is important that the business’ search tool provides good analytics. The merchandiser can then see which searches are resulting in no results and tune searches or adjust the “No Results” page. For example, they might notice that shoppers are searching for a brand or product that is not stocked currently and decide to start selling that brand or product. It might just become a top-selling brand.

Dynamic “No Results” page messaging and insightful analytics are just two of the many EasyAsk search solution features.

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