31 January 2017
Do you know? In an E-commerce website, user’s experience that related to on-site search is a very valuable one. You probably have seen a report that shows how much more valuable customers who use on-site search in your online store than the ones who do not. Basically, the differences are like the earth and the sky. Customers who use the on-site search system convert at higher rate than customers who do not. This is why you need to ensure your on-site search system is able to give the best experiences for all your customers.
The good news is, just with a bit of work in your Magento setup, you can offer decent on-site search experiences to all your customers, so they can get what they are looking for.
Magento comes with various kind of tools that can help you to fulfill this goal. Some of them are available in Magento Community Edition and some are limited for Magento Enterprise Edition only. Now, we will give you a few tips to maximize the result of your on-site search system.
Let’s say that you sell clothes in your online store. You checked your site’s search history and found out that the term “T-shirt” is one of the highest searched keywords and you have a category landing page which specially dedicated for T-shirt. This is a very good opportunity to create a redirect so when your customers search the keyword “T-shirt”, they will go directly to your landing page. It would be better if this landing page is curated with hot or best-selling products.
This will give a “richer” experience to your customers because this landing page can offer a full-faced subcategory, static block content, and reductive attribute navigation, just like when they use standard category menu navigation system.
In order to get this function in Magento, do the following :
The standard search configuration in Magento usually is set to “like” which will give an awful result. In order to fix it, do the following :
There are several attributes available in your online store. Not all of them should be included in the search function. In order to manage your attribute, do the following :
So, why you need to remove this function? There are several good reasons for this. First, Magento search auto complete system is very terrible. Most of the search results are misleading. The second reason is because when the customers enter the search terms, they will be added to the items in the auto complete. That is mean, the bad product searches and spelling errors will be included in your online store. This may annoy your customers and make your website looked bad.
The easiest and fastest way to fix this problem is via FTP files. First, you need to go to your template files. Search for :
For an extra measurement, copy the files and make a back up of it. Now look for the line :
searchForm.initAutocomplete(‘<?php echo $this->helper(‘catalogsearch’)->getSuggestUrl() ?>’, ‘search_autocomplete’);
All you need to do is just comment it out, like this :
// searchForm.initAutocomplete(‘<?php echo $this->helper(‘catalogsearch’)->getSuggestUrl() ?>’, ‘search_autocomplete’);
In Magento, you are not only able to create a redirect for common search terms, but you also can add synonyms for search queries. That way, your customers will be presented with terms which are commonly used in your catalog.
For example, if the term “handbag” is not commonly used by your customers when they are looking for an item to buy, then you can write down “purse” as a synonym for “handbag” if that term is more commonly used in product descriptions and product names. You can even make this method become more powerful by adding a redirect to the appropriate link where you want your customers to go.
This method will become one of the most beneficial to you, especially after you do an analyze on your search term to find out what is happening in your online store and your customer’s behaviour.
In order to implement user synonym, go to Catalog -> Search Terms. You can either add a new search term or edit the available ones. In the picture you can see an example for the term “luggage”.
There are several third party extensions out there that made specially to improve Magento search function. If you use Magento Entreprise edition, then you can install SOLR search which available exclusively for Magento Enterprise users.
SOLR is a quite powerful tool that you can get from Magento. This feature comes with standard configuration and installation. However, in order to work perfectly, you need to define all the attributes that are going to be indexed and included in the search terms. For this process, you need to think about what kind of information that will be relevant to the customers who browse your online store.
For example, what kind of attributes your customers will use when they are looking for T-shirt? Usually, they will input the T-shirt’s brand or color, right? There is no way they will use the term ‘weight’.
One of the best strategies that you can implement in your SOLR is to pay more attention to a group of customers who is not familiar with your website and ask what kind of attributes of a product that are important to know and to looking for.
Another strategy that you can try is to go to your store’s frontend and act as a customer. How will you browse your store? When you are looking for clothes, will you browse the clothing material too?
When you activated SOLR for the very first time, there are no items that will be automatically switch to “searchable”. This is also the reason why you need to think about what kind of items you want to include in your search and index.
In order to make your SOLR is indexing relevant attributes, you need to do the following :
If you want, you also can assign weight to the attributes that SOLR searches. Assign weight to SOLR searches is quite important in order to make sure the low-level search terms are not being given the same priority as the higher level ones.
There are so many benefits that you can get from using SOLR. For example, SOLR has an ability to assign weight to each specific attributes you may use in your catalog. The assigning weight allows your customers to get a better and more relevant search result for the specific items they are looking for.
If your online store sells product from multiple brands, then you will get a lot of searches which contains several brand keyword. You need to make sure that your brand attribute has a heavier weight than other generic keywords. In order to assign weight to SOLR, do the following :
If your site has a large catalog, usually your customers will be presented with an expansive list of potential search result. In order to optimize the search result, you can try to reduce the navigation options which available on the left side of the page.
In order to give the best experiences for all your customers, you need to make sure the reduced navigation is working properly. Keep in mind that attributes have a separated configuration option to appear in the category and listing pages. You need to make sure select the same attributes for both pages.
All of those simple methods are able to improve your on-site search result, as long as you consider them as an ongoing site maintenance. Yes, do not just set it and then leave it like that. You need to check them at least four times a year to make sure the keywords are still relevant and the configurations are still in place.
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