When a shopper visits your store, many have a clear idea of what they want to purchase. Because of their extensive experience with websites like Google and Amazon, these shoppers are naturally drawn to the search bar when they have a specific product in mind. Data bears this out – visitors who begin their visit with search are 70% more likely to convert than those who do not, making them some of the most high value visitors on your site. A strong search engine for your store is key to ensuring that your most valuable customers have a clear and simple path from search to checkout.
Shopify, along with most other ecommerce platforms, comes up short in providing the type of search experience your customers expect. The reason behind this shortcoming lies in the fact that implementing a powerful ecommerce search engine is a very technically complex problem. While Shopify ensures that you have a search option on all their stores, they have (correctly) allocated their engineering resources towards building a reliable, fast, and user-friendly ecommerce hosting product. This challenge is complex enough without adding the complexity of robust ecommerce search with the features users expect, such as autocomplete, spellcheck, typo protection, and an advanced algorithm that handles phrases and single word searches seamlessly, not to mention optimizing them for each and every one of their users.
The Risks of Weak Shopify Search
Shopify stores with underwhelming search engines miss out on numerous valuable opportunities, not only in maximizing their conversion and customer value, but in customer intelligence. There’s a reason Amazon features search so prominently in its user experience, beyond the conversion benefits: the invaluable user data they collect about their customers’ purchasing habits and click-through rates. Search queries are a direct signal of user intent – a free text box asking simply “What are you looking for?” Store owners should be paying extremely close attention to visitor trends such as their top searches, the most popular products in search results, and the searches that most commonly yield no results, and incorporating this data into both their product offerings and marketing strategy.
Fix it Yourself or Hire a Professional?
If you employ a large development team and have the resources and capabilities to build, maintain, and scale a robust ecommerce search engine, building your own search solution might be the right approach (after all, Amazon does this). However, if you are like the vast majority of Shopify store owners, you chose Shopify as a way to keep your development costs down and aren’t interested in hiring a team of developers who only work on maintaining an excellent search experience. In this case, using a third party provider is likely your best solution, as you’ll have a team of search professionals working full time to ensure you have the best search available. At Swiftype, search is the core of our business, and we have developed a Shopify search product that provides a beautiful and intuitive search experience, a powerful search algorithm addressing the problems of out-of-the-box search, and a user-friendly dashboard that allows non-technical stakeholders nearly infinite customization and control over their store’s search experience (and we’re releasing more dashboard features regularly). We even power search for Shopify. For more information on Swiftype for ecommerce stores, visit our solutions page today, or to install search immediately, follow the link below.