5 Must-Haves for Online Retail Websites

1.  Enhance Search with Rich Auto Complete

Rich Auto Complete is a powerful feature that takes the search experience to a new level, by making it easier for visitors to see items that match their search term before they’ve even finished typing.  Similar to standard auto-complete, which shows suggestions for search terms as soon as visitors start typing, Rich Auto Complete goes a step further and shows a pop-up box with products, images and other useful information that match the suggested search terms, so visitors can easily click on an item they might be interested in without searching or navigating further.

2.  Categorize Search Results

Site visitors are accustomed to seeing search results divided into categories.  On your own site you can categorize site search results so shoppers can easily see just results that are product listings, or only results that are videos, or just results that include some type of social media content.  You should also create additional appropriate categories based on your metadata and the content you have on your own site.

3.  Ratings and Reviews in Search Results

Most retailers now offer the capability for customers to rate and review products they purchase.  If you’re one of those companies, give these ratings even more impact by adding them to site search results — and then allow site visitors to refine results based on reviews (for instance, enabling them to see only products with a particular rating).

4.  Search Results with Social Feeds

Your customers are likely avid users of social networking sites — and even if they’re not, they can still benefit by seeing content from blog posts, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and others.  By enhancing your site search to include this material, you bring a greater wealth of information about your products and services to your visitors, and help inform their purchasing decisions.

5.  Mobile Version of Your Site

Visitors to mobile retail sites are usually “hunting” for specific information rather than “browsing,” and the Search box is key to that experience.  As you develop or enhance your M-commerce strategy, make sure site search is the focal point of your mobile site — and keep it fast, simple and relevant.  Don’t bog down the results pages with lots of graphics and images that take time to load, and make sure the information that’s presented is highly relevant (i.e.  showing user ratings is useful and doesn’t take up extra space).


To succeed in online business, retailers must continually innovate and enhance their web storefronts to keep up with shopper demands.  While it is a challenge to keep up with the pace of change, don’t let your competitors get ahead of the game and innovate before you do.

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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