How to Turn ‘No Results’ Pages into Conversion Winners

As both website users and user experience experts, we can all relate to the situation of searching for a specific product or string of words on a company’s website and getting the simple dead-end response: “No Results Found.”

Sometimes they might switch things up with a “0 Results Found,” but most of the time, the effect remains the same. As a user, we feel lost and stranded, without any guide or next steps to follow. This is the first critical mistake of any “no results” page.

We see the effect time and again in Contensquare user session replays: users typically reach an empty “no results” page and then pause to “look around” with their mouse, scrolling up and down. They then attempt to either re-enter a search, hit the back button, or abandon the website entirely.

We can’t help but wonder how many potential customers fall through the cracks after a failed search and abandon their shopping experience altogether. From content to eCommerce sites, the “no results” page is the opportune place conversion optimizations and start flipping those “failed searches” into successful conversion stories. Let’s start with the easiest “no results” page recommendations to implement and move our way up:

 

1. Stop No Results Pages Before They Happen

This is somewhat of a no-brainer, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning. Prevention is always better than treatment. To improve your site’s search engine results, make sure all of your product pages are up-to-date and build out your own controlled vocabulary. Do what it takes to ensure that none of your users sees the “no results” page, and you will reap huge benefits.

 

2. Implement Autocomplete with a Twist

Auto-complete search represents one of the best ways to prevent the no results page from appearing altogether. Presenting autocomplete suggestions accompanied by product thumbnails, like Shoe Me Gorgeous does below, is a smart and user-friendly way to gain a competitive edge. Plus, adding images to on-page autocomplete search results can increase your overall conversions, average order value, and per visit value.

Show Me Gorgeous' search bar includes autocomplete search suggestions with product thumbnails to prevent users from hitting a no results page

Show Me Gorgeous’ search bar includes autocomplete search suggestions with product thumbnails to prevent users from hitting a no results page

 

3. Include Automatic Spell Check 

Google has dramatically shaped users’ expectations for the search experience. Users now expect internal site searches to auto-correct our spelling mistakes or offer a polite, “Did You Mean ___?”

Yet, surprisingly, this functionality is still not yet standard across many sites. Without it, though, potential customers might not recognize their mistake and assume you don’t have the product or service they’re looking for when they hit your “no results” page. Instead of double-checking the spelling of their inquiry, odds are they’ll go somewhere else to find what they need, costing you the sale.

While you should try to implement an automatic spell-check feature on your site search, there are a few alternatives to help you improve the search experience if that’s not a possibility. You can still take advantage of the “no results found” page to make it clear that while there are no matching results to their query, your users should try the following to see more promising search results: 

 

An example of an alternative display for "0 results found" on Shutterstock

An example of an alternative display for “0 results found”

Shutterstock is a good example of what a website can do if a search query pulls up zero results. Its first reminder is that the user should check their spelling. If that does not help, it suggests that users edit their search query term – and then offers further recommendations.

 

4. Always Offer Another Way Forward 

Contentsquare’s zone-based heatmaps confirm that most visitors will abandon a site within 2 minutes if they can’t find what they are looking for. When users are confronted with 0 results and no additional guidance, we see a more scattered distribution of mouse moves and clicks around the page, with the majority of the mouse interactions centering around the search bar or top of the page – either near the back button or the browser bar – indicating users are abandoning both their search and the website.

Mouse Move Heatmap of a "0 results" page, showing excessive mouse movement around the page.

Mouse Move Heatmap of a “0 results” page, showing excessive mouse movement around the page.

The solution is simple: Don’t leave potential customers stranded without any direction on your no results page! Remember, they are only one click away from exiting your website.

Besides offering spelling suggestions and tips on how to better approach or refine the user’s search, you can:

 

5. Optimize for Mobile Search

It goes without saying that mobile users should enjoy the same (or better) experiences as desktop users. Your mobile “no results” page will likely get more hits than the desktop equivalent due to a higher occurrence of misspellings. You need to ensure mobile users have all the same navigation options and suggestions available to desktop users.

Best Buy's "0 results" page pushes searchers to their most-viewed featured products as a potential next step

Best Buy’s “0 results” page pushes searchers to their most-viewed featured products as a potential next step

 

Mobile users have less patience than those on desktop. Plus, they can also be more easily distracted from the task at hand. That’s why it’s important to provide a quick and easy way for them to find what they need. There isn’t too much room for error here – users expect an easy ride on mobile and if they don’t get it, they’ll go elsewhere.

 

6. Add a Personal Touch

Your search bar is designed to help your customers find what they need quickly and easily. That said, it’s also a great opportunity to showcase your brand voice. “0 results found” is frustrating, in part, because it’s cold and impersonal. On the other hand, it’s hard to dislike: “We’re sorry we can’t seem to find anything that matches {query}. How about we try again?” A little empathy can go a long way and help your brand stand out in a positive way! 

Don’t overlook the importance of the “no results found” page. These six “no result” pages best practices will greatly improve the user experience on your site. With a little planning, you can easily turn the many missed opportunities from failed searches into additional conversion winners.

Learn more about how to increase conversions with Contentsquare.

Marrying Experimentation with User Experience: Opticon19

Customer Experience (CX) school is back in session and what better way to get ready for a new season of A+ experiences than by attending  Optimizely’s Opticon19?

Centered on digital experience optimization, the conference will feature experts in the fields of CX experimentation and personalization to help you create standout experiences and steer your business towards digital Nirvana.

Taking place on September 11-13th at the Marriott Marquis hotel in San Francisco, Opticon19 is not to be missed.

Optimizely & Contentsquare

We at Contentsquare are quite fond of events — we don’t just boast of experiments, we help create them. So you’re probably wondering why we’re going to this conference, given that we’re fresh off of our Digital Happiness Summer Roadshow, which hit up several states in a multi-day event.

Additionally, you’re probably wondering why we chose to team up with Optimizely, of all the brands hosting regional events surrounding the topic of UX.

Optimizely is one of our premier partners, delivering a world-class experimentation platform that equips digital teams with a scientific approach to optimizing digital experiences. 

Our integration with Optimizely adds a critical layer of behavioral understanding to experiments for faster results and a bigger lift in conversions. We tell brands why some tests and personalization campaigns win, and help digital teams fine-tune variations and focus experimentation efforts.

Optimizely seeks to help brands obtain the highest ROI based on its SaaS and so do we. You could say we are a partnership made in heaven and Opticon provides the perfect setting for us to show you this partnership in action. 

Opticon19: What to Expect

A three-day event, Opticon19 will kickstart the conference with a day of training on the 11th of September. 

The other two days will feature sessions, networking events and a conference party. You will get to hear from some of the best and brightest in the digital space, including leaders from IBM, Salesforce and Mailchimp.

Opticon19 will include an impressive roster of keynote speakers, including actor, investor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher, astronaut and engineer Dr. Mae Jemison, Optimizely’s CEO Jay Larson and a host of other digital leaders.

The event will present over 20 sessions across 3 “tracks” — critical areas to learn and optimize for a superb experience that helps raise conversions. The three tracks are those of: culture and growth, strategy and process and platform and technology, each highlighting crucial nuances for your brand to digitally outperform.

Contentsquare is hosting its own cocktail event at the Everdene Bar, a rooftop bar atop the Virgin Hotel in San Francisco.


Contentsquare: Our Own Event & Booth at Opticon19

We won’t be sitting idly at the conference and our experts will be on hand at Booth G11 in the Yerba Buena Ballroom to share tips and best practices on how to power up your experimentation strategy and improve your digital CX.

We’ll be happy to show you how some of our 600+ clients have successfully put our software to use and improved on a number of KPIs and show off the newly instituted benefits from our coalescence with Clicktale.

We’re also going to host our own surrounding event just before the conference, in tandem with our friends at Tealium. Join us for an evening of drinks, fare and networking at the Virgin Hotel’s Everdene Rooftop Bar, which comes with sweeping views of the city.

So swing on over to Opticon19, meet with us at our booth, party with us at Everdene and absorb all the enlightening, up-to-date trends on experimentation and having your brand the upper hand in digital experience.

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