Site search or internal search is a major drive in e-commerce sales. As a result, businesses try to keep track of the latest trends as well as apply state-of-the-art technologies to get the most out of the searchers. 2022 is already here, so let's take a look at top site search trends that will prevail this year and the next few years.
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Voice search and image search are getting popular
With the rise of AI-powered voice ecosystems, voice search is reshaping the e-commerce landscape.
The use of voice search and image search in some countries and worldwide in 2021 (Source: Data Reportal)
As far as SEO trends go, I'm sure you've heard a lot about voice search and the importance of optimizing it for user queries. Voice search was one of the latest SEO trends to emerge in 2021 and is expected to grow even more in 2022 as it becomes more intuitive. The impressive accuracy of voice search has led to a surge in SEO as teens conduct voice searches.
As such, voice search optimization will be one of the top SEO trends this year. AI assistants like Google Assistant and Siri are driving this wave of voice search through their presence on every new smartphone.
Conversational search assists buying process
People's interactions with technology are evolving as technology becomes more intuitive. One of the main drives for this is the popularity of chatbots. According to a report on Conversational marketing trends, in 2020, 24.9% of shoppers used chatbots to engage with businesses, nearly doubling the figure for 2019. The use of chatbots as a brand communication channel surged by 92% from 2019 to 2020.
The popularity of chatbots has brought light to conversational search.
People are starting to utilize more conversational search queries in search. This allows them to ask more pointed, detailed, and personally relevant inquiries about the items and services they're interested in.
To provide the customer with matching results, the chatbox needs to conduct a site search. It will search the website and provide results depending on the search queries. Conversational search via chatbox is not limited to product search but it can also embrace searching for policies such as shipping, returns, and size chart.
Personalized recommendations become a norm
Deeper personalization is an inevitable trend of e-commerce in general. Regarding site search, it is demonstrated in personalized results and recommendations.
| Check out: Latest e-commerce trends to watch in 2022
Although the use of private information in e-commerce is still controversial, one thing we can agree on is customers want to be treated as individuals. Many websites are serving different kinds of end-users with various profiles and interests. It’s vital to have personalized search experiences for each of these user groups. In a survey back in 2018, 76.5% of eCommerce store owners ranked “Personalized results” as the #1 feature for advanced search engines.
Gone are the days when the instant search widget returned universal results for all users. The drop-down suggestion list should include “Recent Searches” to remind shoppers of their previous searches and tailor results based on gender, age, location, etc.
A couple of years ago it was still enough for site search to offer results when you type in a keyword. Ideally, it would have recognized typos and offered autosuggest.
Enhanced search experience with pre-checked filters
As shoppers’ search queries become more and more natural and intuitive, we’ll see the increase of very specific searches. For example red dress size M, black and white tee for boys.
“People have realized that by being more specific in how they search, they can more quickly get to the information they’re looking for” - Think with Google.
As a result, searchers expect the Filter by Color, Filter by Size, and Filter by Category will be pre-checked in the search results. This makes the returned products more relevant to the search query. Moreover, when shoppers want to change the criteria, they just need to change the filter values, so there’s no need for them to go to the search box again.
When searching on Amazon, they will suggest the price range so that the price filter is pre-selected on the search result page.
Another thing with filters is that each option should come with a display for the quickest input. The color filter, for example, is usually a swatch while we normally have a range slider for price.
Read more: 3 Best Tips To Display Values In Product Filters - Recommendations from Shopify Experts
Website accessibility in filter and search will matter more
Making your website accessible opens the door for a substantial group of prospective shoppers, including those with disabilities. It's also compulsory by law in some regions, especially in the US. Non-compliance can lead to a fine of $75,000.
| Read more: ADA Compliance for Shopify Stores - Full Checklist and Breakdown
By applying best practices for website accessibility, you are also increasing the site's usability for all users. When we incorporate accessibility in the design of our online material, it improves usability and typically leads to a more intuitive user experience. Online material that complies with accessibility standards is more likely to be user-friendly for everyone. People who do not have impairments can benefit from the accessible design, especially if they are in a restricting position such as:
- When watching a video in a noisy or quiet area, the subtitles can be read.
- Adapt the brightness of your screen to the brightness of the environment
- Navigate throughout a website using the keyboard instead of the mouse.
A big mistake in making your website accessible is to ignore the site search and filter. Usually, e-commerce businesses use search and filter solutions from a third-party app. Therefore, it's important to choose the provider that fully complies with ADA/WCAG - the most popular guidelines for website accessibility.
Boost Shopify Product Filter & Search has implemented accessibility best practices for our products, so Shopify merchants don't have to worry about it. Look at the video below to see how it works or contact us for a demo session.
A few last words
The site search trends are changing with the introduction of new technologies like voice search and social search. This evolution in search behavior has an impact on how we should design our site and optimize our content for it. It is important to understand what queries people are typing and what queries they are speaking so that we can optimize our sites to provide an optimal user experience for both types of searches.
| Other trends to watch: