A shopper comes to your site with a product in mind and a high intent to purchase. They go straight to your search bar, enter the item they’re looking for, and instantly land on a no results found page. At best, they might attempt a couple of variations of their search term before ultimately giving up and heading to a competitor.
Any instance of no results found is a lost sales opportunity. With an abundance of creative ways to prevent customers hitting this dead end, there’s no excuse for a dull, conversion-killing no results found page.
Why were there no results found, anyway?
It’s probably one of two reasons. The first is that you have a relevant product to offer, but your search experience is poorly configured. This is easy to rectify with the right site search solution. Stay on top of your no results reporting, clean up your product data, set up search redirects for common keywords, implement ‘did you mean’ suggestions for common misspellings, and don’t let it happen again. Check out our Ultimate Ecommerce Site Search Guide to learn more about avoiding this outcome.
The second reason is you simply don’t carry the product in question. It happens. But that doesn’t mean the shopping experience has to end there. On occasions where you really don’t have relevant results to display, there are a number of approaches you can take to keep the shopper engaged and browsing.
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Use your no results found page to display what you do have in stock. Whether it’s your bestsellers or most popular categories, highlight the products that your customers search for and buy most often.
Moen does this well by including a product finder feature on their no results pages. With a product catalog that features a wide range of similar products, the shopper may not be familiar with the specific terminology needed for a successful search. Many sites are guilty of using highly technical or jargon-filled product names that require the shopper to have extensive knowledge of the industry in question. Moen’s approach, on the other hand, is user-centric. The product finder focuses on the criteria that a shopper will be most familiar with, and filters results from there. The first step is which room they are shopping for:
They go on to refine results further by category, product type, and other details:
The end result is a carefully refined list of results that are highly specific to the shopper’s preferences. The user is guided to their ‘Sip Chrome One-Handle High Arc Beverage Faucet’, without having to search for such a specific term.
People who searched for X also viewed Y
Perhaps you see regular searches for a specific brand that you don’t carry. Consider whether any of the brands or products that you do stock might be of interest to a shopper searching for that brand. Create landing pages with ‘you might also like’ suggestions for these searches.
For example, Borsheims jewelers has a redirect in place for users who search for ‘Tiffany’, which takes them to a dedicated landing page for solitaire engagement rings instead of a no results found page.
Offer content search on your no results found page
Search isn’t just for products, sometimes a shopper might use the search bar when researching your refund policy or shipping costs. Without content search, they could easily land on your no results found page because they aren’t searching for a product. Avoid this by redirecting the user straight to the relevant page.
Patagonia takes this to the next level by offering shoppers the option to choose whether they want to filter their search results by products or content. With an in-depth blog covering topics related to their product line, this content can help educate shoppers to the point of purchase if they are currently in the process of researching the right sleeping bag for their needs, for example.
Include multiple contact options
Not everyone is ‘search literate’ and there will always be unexpected or unusual search terms that you couldn’t have predicted. This doesn’t mean you can’t help that shopper out with some human contact and direction. Make sure you offer a number of different ways to contact your customer service team on no results pages, including a live chat option if you have it.
BTO Sports has a link to their full contact us page, an email address, two phone numbers, and links to their social profiles on their no results page. They also encourage shoppers to get in touch if they need help finding something. This may seem like an obvious statement, but simply letting customers know that they are welcome to reach out is far more personal than a list of phone numbers alone.
Whatever you do, don’t send shoppers to a no results dead end. Acknowledge that the specific product they are searching for might not be available, but suggest alternatives, guide them to relevant categories, present your content, and offer further assistance to drive down that search to exit rate. Whatever the reason may be for ‘no results found’, there is always a way to continue the shopping journey.
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Jessica has worked as a content writer for B2B and B2C businesses in a variety of industries. An avid online shopper, she has become immersed in everything that goes on behind the scenes of ecommerce and loves writing about the latest trends and happenings in the industry.
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