In Site Search, Follow the Breadcrumbs

We’ve awarded the Ecommerce Outtakes Badge of Honor to plenty of outstanding site searches in the past. Truly, an awesome site search function with features like rich auto complete and thumbnail images can be the difference between an average shopping experience and an outstanding shopping experience. However, it’s understandable that not every webstore can implement these features. Today we want to showcase one way that a site search can stand out, even without all the bells and whistles. What’s the tip? Breadcrumbs.

Take a look at this example from Kohl’s. This retailer includes breadcrumbs in their search results page. As you can see, a search for “womens jacket” returned lots of results. At the top, it has been broken down to show the breadcrumbs. The shopper knows that to get to these results, they went through the taxonomy of Clothing –> Outerwear –> Womens. This allows them to go back and broaden the search, without having to completely start their search over from scratch. At the same time, the filters in the left navigation give users the option to narrow the results down further.

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In addition, as I make selections in the left navigation, these are added to the top as breadcrumbs. This allows the shopper to make changes in multiple areas of the site, which is more convenient. Plus, the user never has to leave this page to modify the search. This can be very beneficial for easier navigation, and hopefully higher conversions.

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By contrast, here are the results for the same search on a similar site, JCPenney. Here, we don’t get those breadcrumbs. JCP just tells the shopper that there are 407 product results. Although there are filtering options that allow them to narrow down the search results, they don’t have those additional navigation options. I would certainly be curious to know which site has higher conversion rates from search results pages!

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