Navigation vs. Search Box: Which is Better for User Experience and Conversion Rates?

Search Box
Time to read
10min to read
March 10 2023
By Roman
Have you searched for a specific product on a website only to find that the search function and navigation options could be more transparent and relevant? The result is often a frustrating and time-wasting experience that leaves you empty-handed. This is a prime example of how poor website navigation and site search can negatively impact the user experience.

Take, for instance, searching for an electric guitar in an online store. You type in the "electric guitar" keyword and get general search results. You can't find the specific electric guitar you want despite navigating through menus. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common for many online shoppers.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. Optimizing the website's search and navigation can enhance the user experience, keep visitors engaged, and drive sales. This article will thoroughly examine where to begin, how best to do it, comprehensive recommendations, and the expert opinion of Searchanise. Let's commence with a simple step.

What is a Search Box?

A search box plays an essential role in the user experience of an e-commerce website. It helps customers find the products they need quickly and efficiently by using keywords that accurately describe them. However, it's not enough to just have a search bar; it's essential to ensure it returns relevant results to the user.
Amazon Search Box
To illustrate the importance of the search box, let's consider the example of Amazon. This e-commerce giant has mastered the art of providing relevant results for millions of users daily, which results in a seamless, easy, comfortable, and efficient experience for customers. So, having a well-designed search bar that delivers relevant results is crucial in enhancing the overall customer experience and driving sales on an e-commerce website.

Navigation Search

Finding specific information or specific pages can often be a challenge. Here is the navigation search that comes in to make the process easier. This feature combines website search and browsing functions, allowing users to find specific information or pages by entering keywords in the search box.

For instance, if you're looking for a website's Privacy Policy, simply typing "Privacy Policy" in the search should return relevant results, including the actual policy page. Navigation search streamlines the process of finding information within a website's structure.

The Importance of the Search Bar

Consider the following statistics further to emphasize the significance of a website search bar. These numbers demonstrate the importance of having a search function in an online store to enhance customer engagement and drive sales.
Up to 30% of visitors use a search box when provided

This is how many people might use the on-site search feature. But remember, even if the number seems low, it represents a large percentage of your website's visitors and is very important to your success.
43% of users who browse retail websites start by searching for a product

Almost half of all retail visitors start their searches directly on the site, bypassing any other navigation options. It’s not surprising since retail sites usually offer many products – finding a specific item among the many just by navigation is nearly impossible.
Site search users are 1.8 percent more likely to convert

Those who actively search for products on a website are more likely to purchase than those who do not. This is because they can find what they are looking for. You can boost conversion rates by improving the functionality of your website's search.
Sites with poor search can lose up to 68% of their customers

People have come to expect excellent search engine functions from the giants of tech – companies like Google and Amazon. If you want the in-site search to keep visitors and give a competitive edge in an already crowded market, it must be done well.
Discover how Searchanise has helped an online store boost its conversion rates by 50% with one of our success stories.

When Should a Site Search be Used?

A well-designed search bar for a website can significantly enhance the customer experience of a website. But it may not work for everyone, so let’s look at signs indicating you should use the search box:

  1. When the customer knows exactly what they want from a product down to its very name.
  2. When the customer is at the last stage of the sales funnel and is ready to purchase the product.
  3. When the navigation is complex or takes too many steps.
  4. When the store is relatively large or sells many products.

One of the signs or a combination of signs can help you determine if you need a sophisticated search on a website.

What is a Navigation Box?

Similar to the website search, the navigation bar enhances the customer experience. It enables users to browse websites while easily discovering and accessing pages and content, making website browsing seamless and effortless. To further improve the customer's shopping experience, consider incorporating faceted navigation. This feature enables users to filter results based on criteria such as price, color, size, and so on, giving them a tailored list of results that meet their needs.
Amazon Navigation Box
Again, Amazon is a great example. Its menu organization makes it easy to find any product you'd like by navigating through drop-down lists and submenus. For instance, if you're looking for an electric bass guitar, all you have to do is click on "Musical Instruments," then "Bass Guitars," and then "Electric Basses." And if you need to break down your search results, you can select specific values such as price, state, and seller.

The Importance of Website Navigation

To grasp the importance of having a navigation search for organizing menus and its impact on user experience, examine some statistics supporting this claim.
A staggering 37% of users abandon websites due to poor navigation

In order to retain customer interest and minimize bounce rates, it is imperative to have a well-organized engine navigator. By offering a navigation search that is easy for users to utilize and locate desired information, the customer experience can be improved and increase visitor retention.
38% of users care about page layout

With 38% of users placing importance on page layout, it's crucial to consider this aspect when designing website navigation. The layout and search navigational links should be visually appealing and functional, making it easy for customers to navigate the website. This way, you can offer an additional reason for them to explore your store.
94% of people prioritize ease of navigation

Simplicity is vital in today's world, extending to the navigation search. Nearly 94% want a simple yet effective navigation experience at the online store. Nothing more, nothing less.

When Should Navigation be Used?

Navigation search e-commerce is an essential function of any online store, allowing users to search queries navigational, find and access the content and pages they need. But when is the right time to optimize the search navigator?

  1. When people are just browsing websites without a buying intention.
  2. When users are aware of their needs but have yet to decide to buy a product, they are in the early stages of the sales pipeline.
  3. When customers compare products before buying one.
  4. When the store is relevantly small or sells few products.

These signs hint at whether you need to conduct a good navigation search at the e-store.

Prioritizing Search vs. Navigation: The Key Considerations

Now knowing what search and navigation are, let's try to answer the question: where better to invest time and energy – in optimizing the search bar or navigation menu first? The answer depends on what your particular circumstances are.

Troublesome tool

You may have one of the tools causing too many problems. If it’s the search, investing time and energy in optimizing website search can help improve the customer experience and achieve your business goals more effectively. If website navigation is confusing or difficult to use, then optimizing it may be a better starting point.

Size of the store

Large stores with hundreds of products that are similar to each other need to optimize the search function. In contrast, smaller stores with a limited number of products need the navigation search to help users find specific items quickly and easily.

Google Analytics

Furthermore, Google Analytics can evaluate the search phrases visitors use on your website, the pages they access following a search, and their actions on those pages. This data can aid in determining if users require assistance locating desired information and whether enhancing search on website or navigation would be more advantageous.
A few words from one of Searchanise's top advisors:

"Data-driven optimization is key to improving user experience on the website. Analyze your customers and address their challenges, whether it's difficulty finding specific products or pages, to determine the focus of your optimization efforts on site search or navigation box".

Dinar, Searchanise Data Analyst

Elevate the power of data collection with insights on how to create personalized customer experience through behavioral marketing.

Optimizing the Search Box and Navigation Bar for Higher Sales

It is imperative to grasp the concept of enhancing search and navigation functionality to improve customer experience, increase customer engagement, reduce bounce rates, and enhance conversion rates.

Optimizing Internal Site Search

Optimize your website's search function effortlessly with Searchanise – the app that implements smart search and product filters to your online store, boosts conversion rate, and improves UX. Use these app's features to reduce bounce rate by 70% and get more out of the store:
1. Autocomplete Search Queries

This feature predicts and displays a list of suggested query completions as the user types their search query, making a product search easier and more convenient. The whole point of autocomplete is to save the user time by quickly providing possible results based on the characters that have been entered and also to assist in refining the search query for more accurate results.

Searchanise search engine simplifies the search process and, along the way, eliminates spelling errors for your customers, making their experience smoother and stress-free.
Searchanise suggestions
2. Personalize Search Suggestions

The utilization of personalized search results can greatly affect sales and conversion rates. Many users are willing to provide their personal information in return for personalized results that cater to their specific needs and preferences.

To deepen your understanding of improving user experience and driving sales in your store with Seacrhanise smart search, check out our article on personalization.
3. Enhance Search with Synonyms

Different individuals might use different phrases or keywords to refer to the same item. Synonyms can provide a solution by ensuring alternate terminology doesn't obstruct search findings and providing a more comprehensive and user-friendly smart search experience.

By utilizing Google Analytics to analyze their search keywords, you can create a comprehensive list of synonyms in the Searchanise app to enhance the product search experience for your customers, making it easier for them to find what they're looking for.
4. Maximize Search Efficiency with Filters

Filters play a critical role in any search. They allow users to narrow their search results by specifying criteria such as price, product type, color, and more. This type of search, known as faceted search, eliminates irrelevant results and helps users quickly find what they're looking for, significantly improving the customer experience.
Searchanise Filters
With the Searchanise search engine, you have a range of filters, such as price, vendor, and color, to make the bar more effective. In addition, you add a custom product filter explicitly tailored to your catalog. This provides an optimized search experience for the users.
To further improve search efficiency, read our article to learn how to improve search relevance.
5. Promote Products and Collections

Today's tech-savvy consumers have little patience and often limit their search to the first page of results. However, you can provide customers with a seamless shopping experience by displaying products and collections on the first page of the search outcomes, ensuring they see promoted products.

With Searchanise’s smart search, you can increase the visibility of promoted products, streamline the path to purchase for customers, and drive higher conversions. Also, with search bar designs, you can choose from various templates and colors that best-fit the brand's aesthetic, making the search more visually appealing.
Start using all the Searchanise features and improve your sales for free!
Give us a try!

Optimizing Your Website Navigation

A user-friendly navigation search is essential for a positive user experience on your website. An effective navigation bar should guide users to the desired information easily, minimizing frustration and enhancing their overall interaction with the site, leading to increased customer engagement and extended time spent on it.

Creating an optimal navigation system covers all aspects of the website, from the main menu to the hamburger menu and everything in between.

The main menu, in particular, deserves special attention in navigation.
1. Main Menu

The main menu, also known as the navigation box, is the first thing visitors see when they visit your site, with the most important and frequently visited site pages. It's the most critical part of the site's navigation.

So make sure you follow these few best practices for optimizing your menu for maximum UX impact:

  • Keep it simple: Make sure the menu is easy to understand and contains concise labels. Avoid using technical jargon or overly complex language.
  • Use clear and readable font: Choose a legible and easily readable font on any device.
  • Highlight important pages: Place essential pages near the top of the menu and ensure they're easy to spot.
  • Group similar items: Organize items into categories and subcategories to make it easier for visitors to find what they want.
  • Limit the number of menu items: A menu with too many things can be overwhelming and confusing for visitors. Limit the number of menu items to 7 or 8 at most.
  • Make it responsive: Ensure the menu is optimized for different screen sizes and devices so it's easily navigable on any device.
2. Breadcrumbs

Drop-down menus are additional site navigation typically adopted by large e-commerce stores rather than small to medium ones because they can be overwhelming when you have a limited selection of products. So, use it only if you have a large Shopify store.
3. Footer

Have you given any thought to enhancing the website's footer design? This area can impact customer engagement rates, as people navigating a website usually scroll to the bottom of the page. To make the most of this space and increase conversion rates, bringing customers back into the sales pipeline, consider incorporating the following elements:

  • Links to popular products or collections.
  • Blog post links.
  • Important legal pages, such as privacy and shipping policies.
  • Connections to social media channels.
  • An email sign-up bar.

Additionally, if your website has many blog posts, consider implementing a blog search feature to make it easier for visitors to quickly find the content they're interested in.

In Conclusion

Optimizing your site's search bar or navigation box first will depend primarily upon what you want to accomplish with the website and how people use it. If you have a large store with many products, it's worth investing time and effort into site search. That way, customers can quickly find what they're looking for without digging through hundreds or thousands of results – which will positively impact UX.

However, if you run a small online shop, it may be wise to consider improving the website's navigation bar. The reason is that doing so will ease the navigating websites experience of customers and allow them to explore different products – as well as pages within collections – in just a few clicks. No matter what you choose, make sure your site includes both components, so it functions properly.

Install Searchanise and get your internal site search to a new level of performance!

“Rock solid performance! I wish we knew about this app a year ago! The intuitive nature of the searches and speed of information make this a perfect app for our web store."
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"Works great for our needs!
The Searchanise plugin/service excels where other leading (and much more expensive) search providers have fallen short on our site. We have over 17,000 products and this plugin indexes them flawlessly and creates a top-notch search experience for our customers. Really pleased that we found this one."
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My last hope was to try Searchanise. I was, and I am still amazed! The search results are PERFECT! The sync speed is AMAZING without bags or delays. And I have never seen such great support. The Searchanise App is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I really hope someday to find again such a nice team and support."
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"Searching for a Search app? Try Searchanise. We are totally impressed, works great, it's faster than the default BC search and looks gorgeous in our shop - it's form and function! Supported by wonderful people. Many thanks to Alexey and the team! Excellent app and awesome team"
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"The results are fantastic.
We use it on many customers and they are all satisfied. It greatly enhances Magento's search."
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"I could say a lot of great things about this add-on, but I think this one line suffices; adding the Searchanise feature to your store is one of the most important and rewarding decisions you will make for your business and customers. Not to mention, the team is an absolute delight to work with, namely Angelina Morozova!"
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Senior Content Marketing Manager at Searchanise

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