Nothing to See Here - Creative Ways to Optimize the No Results Page
Since the internal search engine for your ecommerce store is not as all-knowing or all-powerful as Amazon’s, chances are that it’s going to return a no results found page to your customer’s search query at some point.
It could be that the visitor misspelled the product they’re looking for or that the particular page they want is currently being updated. Or maybe you just don’t have that product type in store at the moment.
Regardless of the reason, many users will instantly abandon your website when their search results fail, and only a few will attempt to refine their search input further to get better results.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to strengthen your no results page to keep visitors from bouncing right off and maximize your chances of conversion. We’ll also check out some real-world examples of no results found pages that you can draw inspiration from.
What is the “no results” page?
A no results page is a web page that’s displayed to a user when the search engine is unable to connect them to the content they seek or return any pertinent results for their search query.
Although a page with zero results can have a frustrating effect on your user’s search experience, it doesn’t have to end there. With proper implementation and optimization, you can transform those search roadblocks into something meaningful by engaging and redirecting users to new discoveries.
Why is it important?
Only about 2.17% of visits to your online store will result in sales. This means that you cannot afford to waste any opportunity for conversions.
When visitors cannot find what they are looking for, they get annoyed because they’ve just wasted their time and now have to initiate new searches which might also be unsuccessful. Most visitors will end up abandoning your site to look elsewhere after a poor search experience.
That’s a lot of potential customers that could have bought from you and a staggering loss of revenue for your business.
The only way to minimize these incidents and make sure visitors remain on your site rather than ending their journey after encountering a no results page is to give them an alternative path to explore. You need to create zero results pages that are helpful and provide other possibilities for content discovery and conversions.
Tried and tested methods to optimize the no results page
If visitors end up on your no results page and their only options are to go back to the previous page, rephrase their search, or leave your website, your design has failed.
You’re ruining the visitor’s perception of your brand and leaving money on the table. Your no results found page doesn’t have to be a dead-end, here are some proven practices that can help improve it, keep users on your site, and rechannel their interest.
Explain what happened
The very first thing you need to do to fix no results pages is to make it clear to your visitors that you couldn’t find the results they were looking for. Don’t make them figure it out on their own or have to wonder whether the page rendered incorrectly or the results are still loading.
You can even provide possible reasons for the occurrence—for instance, the product is out of stock, there are errors in their search query, etc—and tips to help them figure out how to proceed and what to do next.
When your search engine fails to return results to a user’s query, the least you can do is not compound their frustrations by making them feel like they are to blame. So try to empathize with them in your display message.
Express your apologies and shoulder all the blame. This will reduce the user’s disappointment and make them feel that you genuinely care about them and have their best interests at heart.
If the shopper can sense that you’re truly sorry and motivated to provide them with relevant results, they are more likely to stick around your page and explore other options.
Think of your no results page as an opportunity to step in and provide assistance and value to your visitors so they don’t throw their hands up in defeat and abandon your site. It’s not enough to just say “sorry, results not found” and leave it at that.
You must go the extra mile to keep them engaged and give them a way out. Some ways to do this is by encouraging them to search again with different terms, check out other related results, or take some kind of action like signing up to get notified when the product is back in stock.
Check the spelling
One of the best ways to cut down dead ends and abandonment rates while driving up conversions is by incorporating a spell checker into your design. When visitors make a spelling error that causes their query to yield zero results, your search engine should automatically recommend results for the correct spelling.
You can optimize your search experience further by implementing a smart autocomplete feature that offers appropriate suggestions to users as they type their search queries. This way, you can avoid spelling mistakes altogether.
Suggest other products
Even if visitors can’t find what they’re looking for on your page, they may still be interested in purchasing other products. However, they might not necessarily act on it unless you push them in that direction.
You can entice users with different offers and increase conversions from no results pages by:
- Using the customer’s data and history to create personalized suggestions of products they might like.
- Showing results for products in the same category or including alternate categories they can explore.
- Displaying popularly viewed products or relevant items that other shoppers who typed the same query also searched for.
- Providing results that are broadly related to the product in the original search.
Build connections and collect feedback
Giving users alternative means to get in touch with you, ask questions, leave comments or suggestions, and find the products they want can give them greater confidence in your brand, and make them more likely to patronize you—if not right away, then in the future.
So don’t hesitate to include your direct customer service number, email address, links to live chat, email sign-up form, social media accounts, or any content your users will find valuable on your no results found page.
Top 10 no results page
Here are some no results page examples from online stores around the world that do a great job of turning dead-end results into actionable pages that enrich the user’s experience and add value to their customer journey.
1. Williams Sonoma
The brand outrightly takes responsibility and apologizes for the lack of results. Then it follows this up with helpful tips on how to find the product you’re searching for.
It also offers additional support via multiple means of contact and rounds the page off with relevant personalized product recommendations.
In this example, Target clearly explains that the search yielded no results and provides a link for you to leave feedback to help them improve future search results. Additionally, it showcases popular categories to entice you to continue browsing.
Walgreens gives you plenty of possible next steps to prevent you from abandoning the page. It informs you about online product availability and gives you a chance to check out your purchasing history.
You also get the option to explore other products and services, drop feedback, find discount deals, or contact the support team for more information.
Rather than simply explaining that the search query didn’t turn up any results, Thomann includes relevant product matches that contain keywords from the initial query. This way, you may stumble across the product you want or choose a suitable replacement.
5. Ulta Beauty
First of all, Ulta Beauty clearly explains that it couldn’t find the item you want and offers suggestions to improve your search. The store goes a step further to recommend tempting links for products on sale, the brands it stocks, and specific items that are trending this week.
6. Louis Vuitton
This no results page example does an awesome job of highlighting relevant product categories with clickable links and examples based on the keywords you searched for. It even offers to assist you with your shopping needs if you contact the brand directly or visit one of its physical stores.
What makes Kohl’s search experience great is that it doesn’t dwell on its inability to find the item you want. Instead, it jumps right into action by displaying broad matches for the main keyword alongside plenty of filters to help streamline your search.
B&Q relays its no results message in a simple and hard-to-miss way. It furnishes clear suggestions on how to refine search results as well as links to useful resources that could help visitors get back on track and take other important actions.
Crutchfield tries to help you find what you’re looking for by providing a link to a results page with a similar word in case you made an error in your query and actually meant to type the suggested word. It also supplements this with helpful search tips, feedback options, and relevant categories you can explore.
10. Urban Outfitters
Despite the simplicity of its design, Urban Outfitters meets the basic requirements of a no results page. It offers an apology to soften the effect of your unsuccessful search, then follows up with recommendations for related products you might also be interested in.
Your no results page can be a conversion killer or a land of further possibilities. Optimizing your website’s search and no results experience can engage visitors and help them navigate closer to conversion even when they cannot find the specific item they came for.
Rapid Search provides a powerful search engine, smart suggestions, product filters, comprehensive analytics, and all the components you need to dramatically reduce unsuccessful searches and design high-performing no results pages.