If you are selling any number of goods online, you really need to have a search function on your site. If the user cannot easily find what they are looking for, without spending too much time on it, that is not a positive user experience. What’s stopping you from including a search function on your site? .
Small businesses are already at a disadvantage to larger, more established brands for the simple fact that they still have to prove themselves to customers. I don’t think you will find too many big-name online shops that don’t have search features, and if a potential customer has made it as far as your site, the last thing you want to do is drive them away by making products hard to find.
Going through the stories on the Internet marketing news and discussion forum Sphinn, I came across an article from Brody Dorland, who gives the following six reasons for why your site needs a search function:
1. Without a search function, many people will just leave.
2. People are lazy.
3. People are in a hurry.
4. Site search shows you customer intent
5. A Wealth of info for future marketing strategy
6. Integrating a search app is dirt cheap
Dorland elaborates on each of these reasons, and even lists some cheap options that are out there, but I think the list here sums it up quite nicely.
A search function on your site not only helps customers find what they’re looking for, but it can also inspire them to look for more things to buy. A customer might think, “Well, if they have this product, I wonder if they have something like this…”
You could be literally missing out on more sales, simply because you are not providing your customers a convenient way to look for additional products.
For an interesting read on what customs want out of site search, check out this article from Mike Moran, which we ran about a year ago. Do you use a site search function on your site?