Shopify

Effective Shopify Search Personalisation

By Vsourz - 05 October 2021
Effective Shopify Search Personalisation
Shopify’s online stores have a powerful search function. This useful feature empowers customers to search throughout a store’s entire range of products, articles, and pages. However, as stores become larger and more complex, they may need a more nuanced and precise Shopify search functionality. This way, users can prioritise products over general content and filter out certain results.

To achieve this, Shopify merchants can use custom and personalised search options, which can be carefully tailored to meet the specific needs of different businesses. By utilising these bespoke solutions, you can provide a much better user experience to your customers.
To help you achieve this, the following blog article explains all you need to know about Shopify custom search.

Shopify Search Functionality: The Fundamentals

Before dealing with the more complex areas of customising the search for Shopify stores, it’s a good idea to first have a good grasp of the fundamentals. Specifically, it is wise to become familiar with the main Liquid objects that power the search function. For those who are unaware, Liquid is an open-source template language developed by Shopify.

An understanding of these Liquid objects will help you create the best search model for your store.

  • “search.results” – This Liquid object returns a range of relevant results that match search terms. These can be products, store pages, or content such as blogs.
  • “search.terms” – This returns the specific words that were used in the initial search. The highlight filter can give a different style to items in the search results that match the “search.terms”. This allows you to bring these specific words to the customer’s attention.
  • “and”, “or” and “not” operators. Shopify automatically applies the “and” operator to all search terms. This means that the search results will contain all the terms used. “Or” can be used in a search to ensure that results include at least one of the search terms. A minus sign, “-“, can be used before a term to remove that word from the search results.
Provide Relevant Search Results

Getting relevant search results is a key part of providing a great user experience. This is best achieved by developing an accurate understanding of your customer’s intent and behaviour. When done correctly, this will result in higher conversion rates, lower bounce rates, and higher profitability.

There are two different metrics you can use to evaluate relevance: textual relevance and business relevance. Let’s examine each of these in turn.

Textual Relevance

As the name suggests, textual relevance is a measure of how many search results match the specific search terms. The greater the match, the better the relevance. You can optimise this by improving the following areas:

  • Synonyms: ensure search results include synonyms (e.g. “trousers” and “pants”). This should also apply to your store’s prefix search. So, “tro” should yield results for both “trousers” and “pants”.
  • Typos: Your customers’ search results should match what they are looking for even if they didn’t spell the terms correctly.
  • Plurals: Search results should include plural items even if the search only included singular terms. For example, results should include “women’s headwear” even if a user searches for “woman headwear”.

Business Relevance

Business relevance refers to using store metrics such as product popularity and click-through rates to offer customers goods that they are most likely to want. For instance, you could display items, which have been the fastest selling more prominently in the search results.

These are both areas which you should be constantly assessing and optimising. Regularly check your store’s search analytics. You can use this to identify where specific searches are not performing well so that you can improve their relevance. Ultimately this will provide a much more effective Shopify site search.

Optimise User Experience (UX) Design and User Interface (UI) Design

Optimising your UX/ UI is all about empowering your customers to locate what they are looking for quickly and easily. There are some simple best practice you can follow to achieve this:

  • Provide search-as-you-type functionality. This allows users to see results as they write the search terms. Doing this has been found to improve conversion rates.
  • Enable visitors to use search and navigation functions separately or together. For example, allow a user to navigate to a sub-section and then search within it.
  • Highlight product characteristics that are searchable.
Provide a Mobile-Optimised Search Function

Over 50% of Internet traffic now comes via mobile devices. As a result, you need to make sure that mobile users have a frictionless experience on your store. Make sure you have taken the following measures to help in this respect:

  • Make the Shopify search bar easy to see and use on mobile screens.
  • Display query suggestion results. This returns queries that the customer might have meant. It’s an effective way to make good use of limited screen space.
  • Make use of mobile device functionality. For example, offer mobile payment options and use GPS to auto-fill addresses.
Leverage Sophisticated Search Analytics

As mentioned, you should be frequently making good use of your search analytics to optimise your store. These provide powerful insights into your customers’ behaviour and shopping experiences. For instance, you can identify the most popular searches, use of filters, click position and more. You should try to leverage this data to make informed business decisions that help to further enhance your store’s performance.

Make the User Experience Ultra Personalised

This strategy can be employed synergistically with the last point. Use the data you glean from your search analytics to gain a comprehensive understanding of your visitors’ behaviour. Also draw on all your other analytic data to compliment this. Look at metrics such as purchasing history, brand loyalty, and search patterns. Then you can begin to use these variables as the basis for personalising customers’ search experiences. This can be accomplished by offering different brands, colours, types of products, and sizes.

Once you have started doing this, you can then run A/B testing on your search scenarios and analyse which ones perform better. This way, you can constantly fine-tune your personalisation strategy.

Keep Sold Out Products Hidden from Search Results

Showing sold out items in search results can create feelings of disappointment and frustration for your visitors. Fortunately, Shopify allows you to prevent sold out products from appearing in search results. However, this does require making amendments to the code in the search.liquid file in the templates folder. If you’re not confident with undertaking coding, then it’s wise to hire Shopify developers like Vsourz to do this for you.

Ensure Storefront Search Results Only Show Product Pages

Many Shopify merchants want to limit their storefront search results to product pages. This can be a useful way of directing your visitors straight to your products free from distractions. You can achieve this with some minor amendments to your theme code. It is also possible to limit the search results to other content types, such as blog posts. Once again, if you are not a coder, then you can use the services of a professional Shopify development agency.

Utilise an Advanced Search Widget

A basic search feature is an incredibly useful part of an online store. It quickly allows your customers to find relevant products from your catalogue without manually searching through your site. However, these less advanced functionalities can quickly run into problems. For example, your visitors may not be able to think of the words to adequately describe what they are looking for in a search. Alternatively, they may know what words to use but not be able to spell them correctly.

This is where an advanced search widget can be extremely useful. They offer Shopify predictive search suggestions, provide spell checks and autocorrects, understand typos, and include synonyms in searches. In so doing, they are much more efficient in directing your customers to precisely the products they are looking for.

Providing Search Filters

By offering Shopify product filters, you enable your customers to narrow their search results according to specific qualities such as price, size, and brand. This allows users to quickly and efficiently find the items they are looking for. You can easily set up these filters by adding an advanced search widget to your Shopify store.

Enhance Your Store Through Shopify Search Customisation

Personalising your storefront search is a highly effective way of optimising your shop’s performance. It can dramatically improve conversion rates while also providing a better user experience for your customers.

Use Shopify search to fulfil your online potential. Offer inspiring discovery experiences for your users and you’ll soon notice improved ecommerce results. Hire a leading Shopify development company like Vsourz with the experience and technical know-how to propel you towards your business goals.

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