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The Top Benefits of Faceted Search for E-Commerce

Aug 29 2018 | by Loop54

While the freedom and abject minimalism of an empty search box provides a platform of discovery for Googlers, in the realm of e-commerce websites, such liberty isn’t always a welcome sight.

When shoppers arrive at an online store with a particular product in mind, they want the quickest way to find, survey, and purchase that item.

Faceted search – which provides certain product attributes as criteria that visitors can apply to refine their search queries and category listing – is often a more effective alternative than relying on the site's basic filters and navigation. 

Using this method, shoppers can better locate the product they desire by selecting the faceted criteria that matches its description. Here are a handful of benefits of adopting faceted search on your e-commerce site.

1. Improves Product Findability

Findability is the holy grail for e-commerce organisations. Shoppers cannot buy what they cannot find, therefore the key to improved on-site conversions is making it as easy as possible for prospective customers to pinpoint what they're looking for.

Faceted search provides such a service by removing your shopper’s keyword responsibilities. Instead of having consider the best way to direct the search engine – what should I type into this box? – it appeals to the psychology of recognition – which of these facets most describes what I’m looking for? – and is a site-search element that is beneficial for all your shoppers.

For those who aren't sure what they want, it outlines some of the attributes they might want to consider and offers suggestions on their search, while for those who do, it narrows by what's important, without limiting their choice to exactly one item.

2. Enhances Customer Experience

Simplifying your customer’s journey from search to purchase is one of the most effective ways to increase conversion and sales, but it also helps to delight the consumer.

In comparison to traditional e-commerce site-search – where shoppers are forced to outline their own criteria for what they want – faceted search provides a long list of sub-sections or facets that can be explored gradually, one at a time.

These facets not only help shoppers to narrow their options and find what they came for without having to guess at catalogue descriptions and structure, but it also sets accurate search result expectations, as the number of results they’re likely to find is located adjacently to the facet.

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3. Reduces Null-Result Searches

The null-result is one of the most frustrating shopper experiences. So much so, that visitors who receive null-results (i.e. no results at all) are three times more likely to leave and never return.

But with faceted search, null-results are a thing of the past. Unlike regular on-site product search – where all control is with the shopper – faceted search puts the onus on your e-commerce store to help steer the visitor in the right direction.

With the ability to configure search results to only show facets which have results in them, you can ensure your shoppers never finds themselves in a situation where there are no products available.   

4. Provides More Valuable Data

Data is the key to ongoing e-commerce optimisation and improvement. The more data you have at your disposal, the greater your ability to locate trends and patterns in shopper activity and personalise offerings to increase sales.

While the provision of on-site product search is, often, a good means to understand what shoppers are looking for, if the search terms are quite broad and don’t encompass specific keywords, they’re unlikely to be much use.

However, faceted search is much more encompassing. It provides shoppers with multiple options to drill down to their perfect product, each step revealing more and more information about the types of products that interest them.

Greater Than the Sum of its Parts

Faceted search is a truly valuable feature of on-site product search that can help simplify and streamline your customer's journey from search to purchase and create a frictionless shopping experience. To discover a number of other key tips and tricks that can help to smooth the buyer journey, as well as  download our e-commerce design guide now

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