The logic behind the theory
We drew two hypotheses based on the challenges we identified.
1) If we could encourage more users to use the site search, we would make more sales.
Logic: We know that site search users are more likely to convert. If we can get more users using the search functionality, we will naturally convert more.
2) Optimising the site search functionality would improve conversion rates for site search users.
Logic: If a user is using site search, they most likely have a good idea of what they are looking for. If we get more users to where they want to be quicker, filter out the things they don’t want and improve their experience, we will convert more of them.
How to get more users to use the search function
Our solution for increasing site search use was easy; we’d make the search bar more prominent by placing it in the centre of the header and using the placeholder text as a Call to Action (CTA). We went for “Search by author, title or subject”, as the data from Google Analytics suggested that most searches could be categorised into one of these three.
Because the changes we were making needed to be sitewide and not on a single page, it made split testing the changes a costly option. Whilst split testing was possible, a far more cost-effective way was to roll out the changes and compare any changes to benchmark data we had collected.
When we compared the performance of the changes against the benchmark data, we found that the simple changes we made had resulted in a 17% increase in users using the site search function.
How to improve the user journey for site search users
Part 2 needed more planning as we wanted to improve the site search functionality. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we researched available plugins for Shopify. We went for one with AI learning so the search functionality could constantly evolve.
We also needed to work with the client to develop a sensible tagging/labelling system so we could use filters to optimise the results pages.
At the end of the trial period, we analysed the data and found that the conversion rate for site search users had increased by 56%. Remember, this segment of users was already converting at a very high rate anyway, which makes the results even more impressive.
In our initial chat following the extensive audit of my site, Robert suggested that based on the data they had gathered his instinct was telling him that reworking search would see the biggest instant impact on the sales. We accordingly did… and the results bore his thesis out.
Benefits that last for years
Both parts of our strategy and the hypotheses behind them were based the idea that getting more users to where they wanted to be quicker via the site search would result in more conversions.
With 17% more users using the site search function and site search users converting 56% higher than they did, we’ve proven this hypothesis to be true.
The industry standard suggests that site owners can feel benefits from conversion rate uplifts for 2-3 years. Because we’ve improved the way the user moves through the site, it is likely that, in this case, the benefits will have much more longevity.
To benefit from a similar approach, get in touch today. Alternatively, check out our CRO Audits page – and learn more about how the CRO journey gets started.