Users Perform Color Searches — Are Your Search Results Relevant?

Aug 04, 2016

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Baymard Institute's research has found that up to 12% of on-site search queries include a color keyword on websites that sell visually driven products, like clothing and home decor. With the popularity of brightly colored electronic devices, this trend also spills over into consumer electronics as well.

The study revealed that 78% of e-commerce sites have a search engine with the ability to dynamically update search results based on the color used in the search query. In spite of that, only 46% of the online retailers surveyed display color search results in a way that is relevant for their visitors.

FACT: Users Perform Color Searches

Even on sites that offer a color filter, 5-12% of the on-site searches include a specific color. I don't know about you, but if I'm searching for black pants and the thumbnails are all blue denim or khaki, there's a disconnect and I'm much less likely to continue shopping. 

There are a couple of ways to return relevant results for color searches:
  1. Dynamically update thumbnails — Eliminate confusion by automatically switching the color of the thumbnail to match the color they used in their search. The same logic could also be applied to attributes, such as material or fabric, to make it immediately obvious that the products in the search results are available in the color or fabric they are interested in.
  2. Auto-apply relevant filters — In addition to dynamically updating the color of the product in the thumbnail, it's even more powerful to automatically apply a filter for the color (or other variations) and include a link to the filter in the breadcrumbs. This approach helps users in a couple of ways: it helps them understand exactly how their search was interpreted and it makes it easier to adapt their color filtering. Note: Before implementing this approach, make sure that your data is as squeaky clean as possible and kept up to date.

Contextualizing the search results based on product attributes is a great way to improve the customer experience and can help to increase conversions and AOV.