August 3, 2016

In defense of browsing: Is your search function actually losing online sales?

By Ella Wilson

Online Browsing Search Function
What’s happened to everyone’s favorite part of the shopping experience – browsing? Online retailers have traded browsing for more robust search features – and that’s a mistake.

I was on a particular presidential candidate’s website yesterday looking to buy some memorabilia. I’m not a particular fan of this person (I’m gonna buy some things from both candidates), but I’m a history buff and like to buy things that will have historical significance eventually. I have these fantasies of my grandkids opening up a trunk in the attic one day, finding these treasures, and thinking I’m the coolest person ever.

I went to this site with the intention of buying. But I didn’t know what I wanted. Unfortunately for me, I had to click through several individual categories of items to see what was in each, and honestly, it took too much time. I gave up without buying anything.

I wanted to browse, not be forced into making decisions

With the rise in online shopping, retailers have focused so much on making their search features slick that they’ve forgotten about one of the biggest pleasures for shoppers – browsing.

On most sites, you come to the shopping home page, there are a few featured products, and then you’re immediately expected to search for a product.

That’s great if you come to a site knowing exactly what you want. But what if you don’t?

Browsing increases sales – Just ask Target 

By eliminating a “browsing” feature, we’ve discounted the psychological triggers that make people enjoy shopping and buy more than they intended (meaning you’re losing out on potential profits).

And if you think browsing doesn’t increase sales, you’ve apparently never been to Target. Target is a running meme to the tune of “Went to Target for soap. Came out with a redecorated patio.” Target has created a fun and inviting browsing experience that keeps people in there for hours buying. (I know. My Target card looks like it’s been through a war zone. But my patio looks fabulous!)

How to create a fun and inviting browsing experience

Not all your guests are going to want to browse. So if you’ve got killer search features on your site now, by all means don’t mess with them. People who’ve got stuff to buy and things to do will love you for them.

For everyone else — the looky-loos and tire-kickers who want to shop around and see if they find anything interesting — there are several easy ways to make your site easy and engaging to browse.

“Go on a Browsing Adventure”

Who could resist that kind of invitation? Yes, you can also go with wording like “Browse All Products” if you’re into being boring.

Give your customers a chance to browse with a cleverly-worded button, and then have your search function randomly pull in products. Of course, always have your search box close at hand for when they’re hit with inspiration and are ready to buy.

Sort by unique categories

We all know the typical categories you see on every site: women, men, kids, sale, seasonal, etc. But what if you sorted by things that were interestingly out of left field, like “I want to look like a rock star” or “Things you’d see in Tahiti.” Your options are endless, and fun categories are a great way to increase engagement and “gamify” the shopping experience.

Always show suggested products

On every product listing, make sure you’re showing suggested products either in the sidebar or underneath. You don’t want to put suggested products on top where they’d overshadow the main listing.

Suggested products are a perfect way to capitalize on the interests of your customers and put products you know they’ll like right in front of them — right where they can’t help but by them.

Add browsing functionality to your site today!

Our development geniuses would love to help give your customers a browsing experience they’ll enjoy again and again. Get started today by giving us a call at 877-236-9094 or visiting us online at www.GetUWired.com.



About Ella Wilson

Ella WilsonElla Wilson is GetUWired’s “Queen of Words.” This world-class marketing copywriter is a former journalist and travel writer who’s spent the last decade weaving gripping tales for publications coast to coast. She’s got her finger on the pulse of today’s marketing trends. Notable clients who have been graced with her powerful prose include FUBU founder and Shark Tank star Daymond John, self-help star and Emmy-award winner Rhonda Britten, and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen.