Using Site Search to Increase Sales on Your Shopify Store

Irene Wanja Dec 20, 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hello, everybody! This is Jeremy with Build Grow Scale, and today we’re going to be discussing a website element that you may or may not have, and that may or may not be hidden for the most part. I’m talking about the search element.

This is the element that allows people to search for products on your website. On most ecommerce stores, it’s usually hidden from plain sight, but I’m going to show you how optimizing this element and making it clearer and more usable can actually triple your conversion rates, increase your average order value, and increase your sales using the search element.

Search Element Basics

Let’s start by walking you through the search element and how it can benefit your bottom line.


Now, this may look odd to you because you might have a site with a magnifying glass in the right-hand corner of the header that is so small you can barely see it. That’s what most people do—try to hide the search element. And they do it for a couple of reasons:

  1. They don’t know how important it is. 
  2. They think people don’t really use it.

They don’t understand the power of it, so they make it small to keep it from getting in the way, looking ugly, etc. But the reality is, this search bar is extremely powerful and is a huge revenue generator when implemented correctly.

Search Bar Stats

Customers that use search are two to three times more valuable than customers that don’t use it. So, just to back that up with some numbers, I’m going to show you a screenshot from one of our clients.


The top row here is people that did not use site search, and the bottom row is people that did. So, let’s check out these stats:

  • Approximately 20% of the transactions came from a site search.
  • The “Avg. Order Value” was $54.82, which is about $10 higher than the non-searchers.
  • There was a 13.53% conversion rate, which is four times higher than the average store conversion rate for people that did not use site search.
  •  “Per Session Value” was about five times higher than non-search as well.

Just looking at those numbers alone tells you having a search bar on your site is more than worth it, but let’s take a look at the data on another store.


Looking at the right-hand side, we can see that out of more than a million sessions, the percentage of sessions with site search was 6.35%. So, about 6% of the traffic used site search on this particular store, but that small percentage generated nearly 23% of the store’s total revenue.

So, obviously, this is something you’ll want to implement on your store as well. And get rid of that little magnifying glass. Let’s bounce out of here so I can give you an example of what those magnifying glasses (or lack thereof) look like.

Search Bar Examples

You can see that the store below doesn’t have site search at all, which means they’re missing out on a lot of revenue.


Now, this next store does use site search, but as you can see, it’s just a tiny little button in the upper right-hand corner. 


And when you click it, it takes you to a completely different page of their site where you can then see a larger search bar … which is what a search bar should look like all the time.


If we look at this next store here, you’ll see something similar to the last example. You can see there’s a little bit of a search bar there.


When you click the magnifying glass, it drops down into a larger search bar, but in general, the site search is basically unnoticeable when you land on the site.


Like I said, it should always get a full search bar from the get-go, and it should live in the header at the top of your site.

Now let’s look at a site that’s doing a little bit better job. On Fabletics, the search bar is a little bit bigger, but it’s still not very noticeable. It kind of hides around here in the background, and then when you click it, it does get a little bit bigger. But they’re still not doing it right because it’s not very clear that there’s a search element there.


A Search Bar Done Right

So, you know you need a search bar on your site, but what’s the best way to do it? Here are some quick tips:

  • Make the search bar as big as possible.
  • Populate the search bar with suggested products.

You want your search bar to stand out so people notice it and use it. But you also want search suggestions to show in the bar so people can see some of the products you offer and get an idea of search terms they can use to find what they’re looking for.

Search Bar Suggestions

There are a few different approaches you can take when it comes to your search bar with suggestions. You can populate it with your bestselling items, product(s) you want to sell, or you can look at your Shopify analytics to find the top search terms people are using on your site.

Now, if you have our BGS theme or a search functionality kind of like ours on your store, that’s awesome. But if you want to supercharge your results, we recommend using one of these two apps:

  • InstantSearch & Smart Filters (by CloudSearch)
  • Product Filter & Search

While both are great apps, InstantSearch & Smart Filters is actually one of my favorite apps to use, and it’s a lot less expensive than Product Filter & Search. So, if you’re doing a lot of volume, Product Filter & Search is great and definitely worth the investment. However, if you’re not doing as much volume, InstantSearch & Smart Filters is a great, inexpensive choice. The one you choose will depend on your store and preferences, and you can play around with both to see which one you like better. Just make sure not to have both installed at the same time.


Given all the benefits that come with adding a search element to your store (i.e., higher conversion rate, AOV, and sales), there’s absolutely zero reason why you shouldn’t have one up and running soon, or tweak your existing site search according to the tips shared in this article. Your bottom line will thank you!And lastly, if you’re interested in working with Build Grow Scale or finding out more about what we do, just go to to schedule a free strategy session. We’ll talk about where your business is, where you want it to go, and help formulate a plan to get you there.


About the author

Irene Wanja

Irene, a skilled Revenue Optimization Specialist for Build Grow Scale, combines an unparalleled focus on user research and a deep understanding of the ecommerce customer journey to orchestrate optimal shopping experiences. With an uncanny knack for detecting and addressing customer pain points through meticulous user testing, she utilizes tools such as moderated user tests, heatmaps, scrollmaps, and clickmaps to fast-track improvements in user experience and usability. Her keen eye for detail aids in swiftly spotting potential issues and implementing solutions, all while working closely with store owners and applying her intricate comprehension of user interactions. Passionate about software and technology, Irene immerses herself in enhancing her clients' business clarity, efficiency, and user satisfaction. Even though the value of user experience doesn't conform to a conventional numerical scale, the tangible outcomes of her work—improved user experience, amplified retention rates, and reduced customer support issues—are testaments to her prowess. Beyond her revenue optimization skills, Irene is a skilled writer and copywriter. She weaves her profound insights into engaging prose, crafting content that not only resonates with diverse audiences but also demystifies the complexities of user experience, consequently benefitting businesses worldwide.

Leave a Comment