A thriving marketplace relies on users being able to effortlessly locate what they’re searching for, which is where your online marketplace UX and UI play a crucial role.
While it’s essential to have a sufficient number of vendors, it’s even more critical to simplify the process of matching customer requirements with vendors’ products and services. Ensuring a quick, easy, and enjoyable experience is vital for user satisfaction, recommendations, and repeat business.
Upon entering a marketplace website, customers typically click on product categories or input search queries. They may then refine their search using filters or sorting options like price to display the most relevant results, either in a list or on a map.
The customer journey, including searching, filtering, and sorting, forms an integral part of delivering a positive customer experience. Your marketplace design should be user-friendly and geared towards optimising conversion rates.
The internal search engine
Let’s start by exploring the internal search engine aspect, starting with keyword and location-based searches, considering categories, filtered results, sorting results, and optimising the browsing experience.
Users often begin their site visit with the search engine to pinpoint their desired products or services. Search engines, however, are not always perfect, as people use different terms for the same items. Accurately translating user intent may require AI algorithms, but in many cases, you might need to rely on simpler solutions like matching search keywords with product descriptions.
Searching by keyword
Place the search bar at the top of the site, making it easily accessible on every page (except for the checkout flow). Enhance user experience by including instructional text in the search bar, like “search by keyword or product code.” Ensure the most relevant results appear at the top of the list, with partial and “near-miss” matches also displayed.
Searching by location
In some cases, users search for products or services based on geographical location. Accurate location-based searches should include nearby areas and allow users to define a search radius. Results can be displayed as a list or on a map, with integrated search engines like Google Maps making this feature easy to implement.
When dealing with a diverse range of products, categorise them for easier navigation. Keep categories simple and focused, without overcomplicating or overwhelming users.
When a search or category is insufficient for users to find the perfect match, additional filters can help narrow down the options. Filters can be based on brand, occupancy, style, etc. Keep filters minimal and only add more when necessary to avoid complicating the user experience.
Different customers want different things and expect different results. It’s best to set up your search to display results sorted by relevance, with options for users to sort by other factors like price, date, or vendor ratings.
Optimise the browsing experience
Offer users a combination of infinite scrolling and “load more” options for seamless browsing. This enables customers to view a larger number of results without feeling overwhelmed.
Remember that a good marketplace UX design incorporates browsing options such as pagination, infinite scroll, and “load more” features. Results can be displayed in a list or on a map, or as a combination of both.
The ultimate goal is to create a user-friendly, efficient, and enjoyable browsing experience that caters to customers’ needs and preferences. As your marketplace platform grows, you can adapt and improve your site to provide an even better experience.