Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales
Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales

On-site search: how the customer journey in your online shop leads to a purchase

A good on-site search is the basic requirement for a successful online shop. Find out here which functionalities the internal search should offer with the aim of maximising your sales.

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On-site search: the most important tool of an online shop

An online shop can have as many great offers as possible – but if consumers have difficulty finding them, they give up. Which is why a user-friendly and variable on-site search is the most important sales tool for every shop. If a consumer enters a word in the search function, they want to find the things they’re searching for at the top of the results list. Especially when – like with mobile devices – the view is limited due to a small display.

An example: if a customer is looking for a printer, they probably want to buy a printer and not printer accessories. The search function should fulfil this wish. Everything else is of little interest to the customer. After receiving an unmatching result, they quickly lose interest and try their luck on a competitor’s site.

According to onlinehaendler-news (German), 88 per cent of B2B experts estimate that a good internal search function is essential. After all, those who use the shop’s search are normally also more likely to make a purchase.

The most important functionalities of a good on-site search

Ideally, customers don’t need the online shop’s search function because the website is so easy to navigate through that the path to the desired product is intuitive. But this is not always possible when the range of offers is so comprehensive. In this case, the search function is the easiest and shortest way to the right product. The following functionalities are what an on-site search needs in order to maximise shop sales:

  • It should be integrated prominently on the home page. If visitors have to first search for the search function, they quickly leave the site.
  • A suggest functionality displays the right search recommendations so that customers do not have to enter the full keyword.
  • When a user enters a typo or misspells a word, the search should lead to the desired product anyway. The same goes for the use of synonyms (e.g. carpet instead of rug).
  • Longtail searches promise the best conversion rate. Particularly with such a focused search featuring many words, the matching recommendations should definitely be shown.
  • The sorting of the results should, on the one hand, take place according to relevance and, on the other hand, consider special offers, products with high margins or slow sellers which should absolutely be sold.
  • Thanks to artificial intelligence, the on-site search can also learn on top. In this way, the results, whether involving a personal preference or customers at large, can be influenced.
  • All the functionalities should be available in every relevant language.

On-site search: three best practices of leading B2B shops

These three B2B shops have successfully optimised their on-site search:

  • MEVACO is, in their own words, Europe’s leading seller of expanded metals, perforated sheets, crimped mesh and welded mesh. The B2B shop relies on artificial intelligence: algorithms continually improve the search by integrating the number of product clicks and purchases in the sorting of the hits. The result: 94 per cent of the items searched for are quickly found.
  • Ratioform considers itself a full-range seller of all packaging possibilities in the B2B segment. The company was satisfied with its on-site search, but in 2020 chose to place it more prominently on the home page. The long bar is now easy to find. The result: the use of the search function has grown by 23 per cent and conversions have increased—along with sales.
  • Berner Group is a trade company which offers a large range of products—from professional tools to fastening materials to special chemicals. A total of 230,000 items are listed in their online shop. As the on-site search is the most important start to a purchase for the company, synonyms were factored in and the number of relevant hits increased significantly. What’s more, the purchasing process was shortened by blending in a shopping trolly functionality with every product recommendation.
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