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Visual Autocomplete – The Secret Weapon In Your Site Search Arsenal

While shopping online last week, I was looking for a red dress on various online stores and invariably relied on site search to find dresses I would like. It was during this spree that I noticed how visual autocomplete made product discovery incredibly easy and encouraged me to click and eventually convert.

 So what is visual autocomplete?

Visual autocomplete incorporates product thumbnails replete with images and prices within the autocomplete dropdown.

It’s a brilliant way to help visitors reach the desired product directly from the search box. Visual autocomplete is often used to show popular, best-selling or featured products which results in higher than average clickthrough rates.

How can Visual Autocomplete help you increase clickthroughs and conversions?

According to VWO “Visitors who utilize their autocomplete search feature are six times more likely to convert than an average visitor.”

Visual autocomplete helps ecommerce sites maximize their autocomplete and offers a visual search experience. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of implementing visual autocomplete.

1. Shows popular products

Visual autocomplete shows popular, best-selling products for the particular search query, evoking their interest and prompting them to click.

 2. Fewer clicks to reach product page

Visitors are able to skip the search results page and can go directly to the product page, resulting in faster conversions. It also saves a great amount of time spent narrowing down to products by showing them top products.

3. Encourages customers to engage

Visual autocomplete works well with visitors as it offers rich, visual thumbnails that prompt them to click. This is a smart way to move visitors along their purchase journey.

Who’s doing it right – The Best Visual Autocomplete Examples

Considering the obvious benefits of using visual autocomplete, I was a bit surprised to find that a lot of popular ecommerce sites like, Asos, Best Buy, Zappos etc. are not using visual autocomplete. I did, however, find some amazing examples of sites using visual autocomplete.

1. Flipkart does a clean implementation of visual autocomplete. It opts for showing the image, product title and price and shows only two products to avoid confusing customers with too many options.

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2. Big basket an online grocery retailer in India has an exceptional visual autocomplete. It suggests products visually in the autocomplete drop down and allows visitors to add products to cart from within the dropdown itself. It also provides necessary information specific to products such as price and quantity with an option to change the quantity as well.

Their autocomplete is both ingenious and relevant to their vertical as grocery shoppers are usually aware of what they want to buy and want to instantly add products to cart.

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3. Ali’s organic & garden supply store, shows a range of organic variations for a particular product in their visual autocomplete. Since organic variations may be unknown to visitors, their autocomplete serves to show the variations within the dropdown and helps visitors navigate to product alternatives.

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4. The consumer electronics giant, Apple, uses visual autocomplete to show products models as well as Apps.

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5. Audio Shop, an online musical instrument shop, shows visually attractive and high quality thumbnail images in its autocomplete to attract visitors, prompting them to make a purchase.

It displays simple information such as product title, product type and price that helps visitors select the products right from the autocomplete.

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6. Though Shoe Me Gorgeous, a Sydney-based exotic shoe store, has an imperceptible search box (on the left), it uses its visual autocomplete pretty well. It shows discounted prices in the autosuggest creating a sense of urgency and prompts visitors to buy instantly.

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7.  New Student Fortune, a site that helps visitors online homework help, professional tutoring etc., shows an extensive list of programs in its visual autosuggest. They make it easier for visitors to understand more about the products they are suggesting, by giving a brief product description within the autosuggest. While this is not an ideal practice for autocomplete, it works well for them as the product description is necessary for visitors to select a particular course or report.

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8. Table Play Games uses visual autocomplete and shows different games for the particular keyword. This is especially helpful when visitors are not sure of the product they want to purchase and and want to look for options.

Table play games also show popular searches in the autocomplete, giving their visitors an idea of what’s trending in that category.

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9. Adobe brilliantly uses different call to actions in the visual autocomplete which reduces the number of steps the visitor needs to go through before taking an action. It makes sense for them to use a call-to-action like ‘download free trial’, ‘Buy now’ etc. as the visitors are sure of what they are looking for and they can instantly be directed to the desired page.

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10. Lonely planet, the popular travel guide, has implemented autocomplete with attractive visual icons, showing broad level categories like hotels, sights etc. for a particular place.

For instance, if you search New York, it will show you New York Hotels, Tours, activities, sights etc. in the visual autocomplete. It simplifies the text with visual icons and requires no effort to grasp the information.

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Do you also use visual autocomplete in your search box? If yes, how has it helped you improve your conversions? Let me know in the comments below.


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