Friction is the bane of sales and marketing. A smart merchant should always be reducing friction in the checkout flow, in signup forms, and in navigation (just to name a few). As simple as it sounds, the easier you make it for your customer to do the desired action, the more customers will do it.
If a customer coming to your site wants to find black boots, you better make it easy for him to do so. This is where Magento search extensions come into play.
With a Magento search extension, your customer can easily ask for and receive the product he or she wants to buy. Getting the visitor to the page they’re looking for is just one step closer to getting them to buy. In fact, according to a study by eConsultancy, the conversion rate of visitors who used site search was 1.8x higher than the site average.
This post will cover some common features you should find in a search extension, and the top three Magento search extensions for your webstore.
Common Magento Search Extension Features
What you’re looking for in a search extension may vary from store to store, however there are a few features that should be universal.
- Autosuggest / Search Suggestions
- Product suggestions
- Spell correction
Autosuggest / Search Suggestions
This is the most basic function of a search box save for simply searching itself. You have probably come to expect this feature in every search box you’ve used.
Think about searching in Google. If you search “Cute cat p” you can bet google is already going to be suggesting “Cute cat pictures” or “Cute cat pics” or “Cute cat photos”.
This is the Autosuggest feature of the search extension. If a customer searches “Nike s” your search extensions should already be bringing up “Nike Shoes” or “Nike Shorts” or “Nike Shirts”.
You’re cutting down on friction as well as helping to avoid spelling errors.
For a good case study about the impact of Autocorrect, read how Waterstones actually found conversion rate grew by 2 to 3xs by adding autosuggest.
Product suggestions functionality is much like Autosuggest, but instead of offering predictive text to finish a users search query, product suggest actually pulls product suggestions from your catalog while the user types.
This can cut down on friction dramatically because now the user doesn’t even have to search. He can simply type part of what he wants to search, and if the product he is looking for pops up, he can navigate directly to it.
Spell correction is fairly simple. Unless you’re the spelling bee champion of the world, I’m sure you’ve seen it on Google countless times.
Spell correction is as simple as the sentence, “We didn’t find any results for —–, did you mean to type —–?”.
For instance, “We didn’t find any results for “Niken Shoes”, did you mean to type “Nike Shoes“?”.
This way you won’t run the chance of the user leaving your site after an unsuccessful search query, and according to a Site Search Report, on average only 50% of site searches are successful. That’s a lot of potential buyers you could be losing.
The last important aspect of search you may not think about are the insights you can uncover.
Or, if there’s a lot of search for an item you don’t carry, you know there’s demand if you want to start stocking that item.
Unlocking these analytics is a crucial aspect of a good search extension.
A Comparison of the Top 3 Magento Search Extensions
|Extension||Price||Rating||Autosuggest||Product Suggestions||Spell Corrector||Analytics|
|Sphinx Search Ultimate||$149||5/5||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Search Autocomplete + Search Suggest||Free||4.3/5||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Rating: 4.4/5 || Price: Free
InstantSearch+ is one of Magento’s most popular search extensions. It currently has a 5150 popularity score. Also, InstantSearch+ is a silver industry partner. While it seems free originally, it is actually free for stores with up to 500 products. This may work for your store, however if you have a lot of items, you’ll need to sign up for a subscription.
So this is a great extensions for a store with fewer SKUs, however the more items you have, the more you’ll have to pay.
Rating: 5/5 || Price: $149
Sphinx Search Ultimate has a perfect 5/5 rating with a 6639 popularity score. Sphinx Search Ultimate is actually a combination of three products: Search Spell-Correction, Search AutoComplete & Suggestions, and Advanced Spinx Search Pro.
While the price tag may be daunting, the product is well worth it. Just read through their reviews and you can tell people love this product.
Rating: 4.3/5 || Price: Free
Search Autocomplete & Search Suggest has a popularity score of 6757 and a rating of 4.3/5. One thing to be wary of through is people either seem to love this product or can’t get it to work.
Since the price tag is free, you won’t be wasting anything other than time if you install it and it doesn’t work. If it does work, it will be worth every second.
What to do now
Once you’ve selected the Magento search extension that fits your company, the next step is simple – install it. These search extensions should be a simple install. Most can even be installed in one click from the download link.