Personalized Search: 3 Main Benefits for eCommerce Merchants

Personalization has become the name of the eCommerce game. Find out how this can benefit you.

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By Staff Editor
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Olivia Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Olivia Kashti

Updated February 26, 2024.

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eCommerce businesses are continuously exploring ways to improve user experience and increase conversions. One approach that has gained significant traction is personalization. Below, we delve into the concept of personalized search and how it can benefit you in terms of user experience, conversion rates, and average order value.

Meet the Expert

Ashlee Colliver is an eCommerce expert with over 20 years' experience. Currently, she's the digital growth expert at Shero Commerce.

What Is Personalized Search in eCommerce?

Personalized search in eCommerce refers to tailoring the user experience to the specific interests and preferences of individual users or user segments.

It goes beyond traditional search methods that rely solely on the words entered into the site search bar. Instead, personalized search takes into account various factors:

  • user behavior
  • previous purchases
  • browsing history
  • demographics

A flow chart depicting the benefits of personalized search

1. Enhanced User Experience

Personalized search greatly enhances your users' experiences by delivering highly relevant search results tailored to their individual interests and preferences. By considering factors like past purchases, browsing history, and demographics, personalized search algorithms help your users find what they're looking for quickly and easily.

An expert quote emphasizing customers have simple search needs and want to find their desired products easily

This way, you save your users valuable time because they don't have to sift through irrelevant products. This efficiency improves your users' overall shopping experience, making the search process faster and more convenient.

» Personalization isn't restricted to search: Use omnichannel personalization to give your users the best experience on every platform

2. Increased Conversion Rates

By enhancing your users' experiences and satisfaction, they're more likely to convert. Consider that when you present your users with relevant search results that meet their specific needs, they feel understood and valued by you.

This in turn can increase their trust and foster a positive perception of your brand. Satisfied users are more likely to return to your website, make repeat purchases, and become loyal customers.

An expert quote emphasizing the goal in eCommerce is to get customers to convert

3. Higher Average Order Value

Through effective personalization strategies like product recommendations, you can encourage your users to add more items to their carts. This creates ideal upselling and cross-selling opportunities to increase the average order value.

An expert quote emphasizing  that excessive personalization can be harmful and must be balanced

Pro Tip: Keep Your Personalization Efforts Balanced

It's important to recognize the difference in intent between someone searching on the website and someone browsing through categories. Those who use the search function are usually ready to make a purchase, while those browsing are often just exploring options. You can try:

  • Add 'You may also like...' suggestions to the checkout or search results page
  • Showcase what other customers who purchased the same item also liked
  • Implement federated search capabilities to show search results from all over your website

Ensuring Ethical and Privacy-Compliant Personalization

It's important that you handle user data ethically and respect customer privacy when implementing personalized search algorithms. Utilizing first-party data, obtained with user consent, is a key strategy to ensure ethical compliance while still offering a personalized experience.

Make sure you're aware of and comply with relevant regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), when dealing with user data. By adhering to privacy laws and obtaining user consent, you can protect both your customers' privacy and your business interests.

» Follow these tips on how to strike the right balance between data privacy and personalization

Personalized Search as a Cornerstone for Success

An expert quote emphasizing that a personalized search approach and presenting more relevant search results will make users more likely to convert

Personalized search is a powerful tool that can offer significant benefits. By going beyond traditional search methods, it can deliver highly relevant search results suited to each user's interests. This gives users a more efficient and convenient way to find what they need.

By putting the customer first and embracing the power of personalization, businesses can elevate the eCommerce experience and drive long-term success.


Are there any industries that can benefit more from personalized search?

Personalized search is crucial for industries like apparel, fashion, and skincare. Consider a scenario where you visit a skincare website. If you have dry skin, you wouldn't want to be served search results intended for oily skin.

Can personalization extend beyond search to other aspects of the eCommerce customer journey?

Yes, it encompasses everything from the hero image on the homepage to personalized emails to targeted ads.

How do I know if my personalization efforts are working?

Ask your users! Whether it's through focus groups or surveys, feedback like 'The search function is terrible,' 'I struggle to find what I need,' or 'The results are irrelevant' could indicate that your search needs optimization.