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What is rich autocomplete?

When customers are pressed for time or have a specific product in mind, they don't want to click through a bunch of categories on your site. Instead, they'll head straight to the search box. On-site search is a fast, effective way to show customers exactly what they're looking for. Yet typing just one character in a product's name wrong will generate a list with no useful results 18 percent of the time. That means nearly one out of five times, a misspelling could potentially frustrate a customer and derail a sale.

Autocomplete, also known as autosuggest or predictive search, curbs the typo problem that plagues some on-site search engines by suggesting common search phrases when consumers start typing in a search field. Rich autocomplete takes this functionality one step further for ecommerce sites by suggesting a list of relevant products—and driving conversions in the process.

Rather than simply delivering a text list of search results, rich autocomplete generates a dynamic list of suggested products, as soon as the customer starts typing. Instead of a list of product names, this type of on-site search function lets customers see thumbnail images, prices, ratings and specs—without even navigating away from the search field. This additional layer of information is delivered to the customer right in the search box, as they're typing their search query.

For instance, when Printerland implemented rich autocomplete on its site, the ecommerce store found that customers were six times more likely to click through to a product page from the product image in the search results. The conversion rate for rich autocomplete users was four times higher than non-site search users.

Rich autocomplete doesn't just enable more accurate searches - it shows customers your high-value products. Viewing an image and ratings in the search bar helps persuade customers to click on higher-margin items, a navigation tool that's lost when delivering a list of plain search results. By prioritizing your product search results in rich autocopmlete, you can maximize conversions and make it easy for customers to find the products they're looking to buy.

BigCommerce helps growing businesses, enterprise brands, and everything in-between sell more online.

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