August 23rd, 2022 | 4 MIN READ

What is Advanced Search?

Written by author_profile_images Emily Kathi

Emily Kathi is a Senior Content Marketing Writer at Elastic Path. She writes about product, trends, and all things related to digital commerce.

advanced-search

Anyone managing an eCommerce business knows how vital site search is to the customer experience. How customers find your products quickly and efficiently based on information such as name, size, color, or SKU can be the difference between a sale or a lost opportunity. 

Let’s take a closer look at Advanced Search, commonly used terms in how we talk about it, and top takeaways to remember about Search optimization. 

Advanced Search goes beyond the typical search box functionality shoppers use onsite. It allows brands to refine the search and discovery criteria to target user intent and display results quickly and accurately. We’ll discuss four Advanced Search tactics: Multiple Content, Faceted Search, Keyword Discovery, and Intuitive Search. 

But first things first – how important is Search really? Consider this: as many as 68% of shoppers would not return to a site if they experienced poor Search performance. Studies show 15% of total users use site search, and this accounts for 45% of total revenue. Site search performance affects the bottom line; if you are not optimizing it, your competitor will. 

The Cost of Ignoring Search 

Advanced Search allows brands to refine and personalize search and discovery criteria so they find what they are looking for in less time. As user engagement improves so does checkout conversion and loyalty. Frictionless shopping experiences begin with how customers interact with your search functionality. 

What can it cost you when you don’t make the investment in search? Plenty. Once your customers land on your site, the clock is ticking for search and conversion. The more obstacles preventing discovery and checkout, the greater bounce rate and ultimately decreased revenue, plus the cost of a damaged brand reputation. 

At Elastic Path we have a trusted community of vendor partners and system integrators who bring your commerce platform to life. In the Search and Advanced Search realm, we have established relationships with those partners who do it well, such as Algolia, Bloomreach and Advanced Commerce

How Do We Talk about Advanced Search? 

Under the umbrella of Advanced Search are a few key terms as you think about the outcomes of robust search functionality. Here is a quick primer on what to know: 

Multiple Content Types 

In this example, a shopper chooses from any number of content types such as subscription type, a category, a collection, or a blog post related to the keyword. From the array of content displayed from a single keyword the shopper has multiple ways to browse and several paths to purchase. 

Faceted Search 

Faceted Search allows shoppers to define search terms by choosing from a range of product information.  Shoppers choose from predetermined attributes (such as category, brand, availability, etc.) to find a product with a closer match to their intent. 

algolia-search
Source: Algolia 

Keyword Discovery 

There may be a disconnect between product descriptions and the language shoppers use in the search box. For example, shoppers may be frustrated searching for knives, when the marketing copy may only refer to the term “cutlery”. To make the product more discoverable, the search function may incorporate customer reviews into the related product function on the product and category pages.  End result: shoppers can now find products based on formal descriptions (cutlery), and by language actual customers use in reviews (knives). 

 

Struggling with Your Search Function?

Take a Look at How Composable Commerce Can Optimize the Search Process

Go to Demo Library

Intuitive Search

Intuitive Search  gives instant results where the service or product referenced in the shopper’s search language lives.  Given the possible complexity of product information, Intuitive Search cuts down on the time it takes for customers to find exactly what they need and make the purchase. 

amazon-search

Top Takeaways to Consider When Implementing Search: 

1. Just like the cart, search boxes should be easy to find. With so much revenue riding on search queries, don’t make your customers hunt for the way to start their experience.
 
2. Put a Search Box (or universally recognized symbol for search like a magnifying glass), on each page of your site.

3. Allow for typos. If a brand name or attribute is misspelled, don’t have the search results return as zero. You will not see that shopper again on your site. Expand your site’s tolerance for spelling errors and alternative spellings. 

4. Consider Auto Complete to quickly guide your shoppers to the most relevant results. 

5. Use an analytics tool to further identify personas and what your customers want, or inefficiencies in your inventory. 

6. Optimize the search function for mobile. With the majority of shopping (and just browsing) happening on mobile devices, the experience must be seamless, or you stand to lose a customer for life. 

7. Use Natural Language Processing (NLP) for best search results. 
 

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