How to Optimize Onsite Search to Generate More Revenue

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Onsite search is a key component of ecommerce websites. Make it effective and use the information you collect to generate more revenue.

Onsite search helps users navigate a website, find a specific item quickly, figure out an answer to a question, and more. Having onsite search that is not only functional, but also flexible to how users search is key in reducing user frustration and preventing people from exiting your site after a search (and before completing a purchase!)

How can I use my onsite search data to generate more revenue or leads?

  1. Use the search results page to cross-sell products that are closely related to the item they are searching for. For example, this outdoor retailer uses the right-hand area of the search results page to promote three different categories of products—Related Category, Recently Viewed, and the Top Sellers in the category most closely related to my search for "fishing rods".

  2. Learn what people are looking for. Analyze your onsite search queries in your Google Analytics account. Do you have something similar? Should you start carrying a new product line that users anticipate you to have in stock.
  3. Account for misspellings, plurals, and synonyms. Every safeguard should be taken to ensure that a user can get the most relevant search results, even if they misspell a term or use a plural form. If a search returns no results, it can lead to a higher % Search Exit rate. Accounting for commonly misspelled and plural queries can provide the best results for that user and save the sale.
  4. Discover which products users are searching for and are then generating revenue. Promote these revenue generating products on your home page or other high-level pages.
  5. Allow for users to search by product ID. If a user has done comparative shopping and is closer to the point of purchase, it is likely that they know what the vendor product ID is for the specific product they are looking for. Ensure your search functionality takes into account this vendor product IDs so that you're able to return a search result for the exact product when a user is ready to buy.
  6. Make it easy to find and easy to use. Most onsite search boxes are located in the upper-right hand area of the site and is persistent in the same location across all pages. Use JavaScript to clear the placeholder text in the box when a user starts to search. Allow people to submit a search by hitting the enter button on the keyword and not just have the ability to click the search button on the screen.
  7. Use auto-completion functionality. Auto-completion can help provide users with a more specific search query to help them get to the proper product or content..
  8. Offer related products in addition to the primary item a user is searching for in your search results. Presenting complimentary items that can be easily added to the cart can increase the transaction value. If a user is searching for a camera, it's likely they are also in the market for a camera case, additional lenses, or a tripod stand.

We have seen higher conversion rates for some of our clients who have integrated onsite search according to best practices.


An effective search function’s impact on the rate of conversion is impressive: customers who use an onsite search box result in an average conversion rate of 2.4% against the 1.7% rate of customers who don’t. This alone should be enough to convince any marketer that implementing a smart onsite search function is well worth the effort. - Allyson Tremblay, UK sales director, SDL Fredhopper

Properly setting up onsite search is important for all websites, especially ecommerce sites. Making improvements to your existing onsite search can increase conversion rates and lead to more revenue.

Need help constructing the best onsite search to increase sales?

PixelMEDIA, a digital experience agency, helps lifestyle brands launch, manage and grow their eCommerce channels. Keep up with the latest news and updates on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.