By Author Mark Binns

How To Optimise The Magento Search Results Bar & Save Big

Have you ever seen the difference between your conversion rates when someone interacts with your on-site search?

On average, from looking across all of our client’s Analytics accounts, we can see that conversion rates increase by about 400%.

In simple terms, this means that the average conversion rate of 1% becomes 4% once people use the search bar!

magento search results bar

 

Not only does it help with conversion rates, it is crucial for good UX (user experience).

But, how important really is the user experience to your online business?

Very important.

I assume that’s what you answered, because if you didn’t then you’re probably not doing very well. Without taking the appropriate measures to optimise your online store to the best of its ability, your business is set to sink deeper than the Titanic. Say hello to Jack Dawson for us all.

Without a solid UX in place for visitors/potential customers, the only thing that’s going to be flying high is those bounce rates. And while most of us do place (necessary) importance on trying to reel in new customers to our websites, many of us also neglect those smaller website functionalities that will ultimately turn more current visitors into converters.

magento search results bar

So, herein lies the focus topic point of today’s discussion: optimising your in-built Magento search results bar to be as intuitive and user friendly as possible. While we’re the first to concede the in-built Magento search results bar may not be the best ecommerce search engine solution, there are still ways in which it can be configured for better on-page optimisation.

But wait… Why should I spend time configuring and optimising my search bar?

Well, because the customers who are utilising your search bar are exponentially more likely to make a purchase, and they are usually much further along in the buying funnel than those who aren’t. What’s more, according to econsultancy, up to 30% of your shoppers are likely to use it when shopping online….

magento search results bar

Shall we proceed?

Great.

First, let’s map out the steps that need to be followed (we will go through each in detail later on).

The Essential Steps For Optimising Your Magento Search Results Bar

There are different options you can use for search on Magento e.g. MySQL, Solr or Elastic. However, for the purpose of this article we will focus primarily on MySQL and Solr as they are the two most popular.

  1. Select how you would like the information to be processed
  2. Select the correct Attributes that you would like the Magento search results bar to use. This also involves configuring how you would like them to be weighted.
  3. Begin maintenance for search optimisation:
    Add synonyms and common spelling mistakes PLUS similar words that may not necessarily have the same meaning (how many times has your phone autocorrected a word for you without asking? This is something we all experience, particularly shoppers!)

Matthew Curry, eCommerce Manager at Lovehoney:

“In my experience, autosuggest provides a real boost to search conversion rates. In a usability test I ran, we found that users actually relied upon site search autosuggest and autocorrect to know the correct spelling of words for them. Make sure that your site search solution is up to scratch, and that you still provide search results for common misspellings, just in case.”

4. Take your shopper to a pre-existing page… select Landing Pages for common searches.

magento search results bar

Okay, so that’s an outline of the steps that need to be followed. It’s okay if you’re a little confused or overwhelmed. We’re about to break it down step by step.

First thing’s first…

How Would You Like The Information To Be Processed?

You have three options, and one decision to make:

You can set the search type to one of the following:

 

Like

Performs a search based on individual keywords.

Fulltext

Performs a search based on the full text of each attribute and ranks each by relevance.

Combine (Like and Fulltext)

This combination of Like and Fulltext matches by keyword, but takes into consideration its relevance.


acidgreen’s personal recommendation is to select the ‘combine’ setting, as this is the most comprehensive, encompassing search type out of the three.

You can navigate to this under System > Configuration > Catalog > Catalog Search (for Magento 1).

magento search results bar

Attributes For Processing In On-site Search

This is the toughest part to understand. So if you can wrap your head around this, you’ve won half the battle…

Not so simply put, the way in which you can apply a logic to how Magento returns results is governed entirely by which data you decide to tell it to take a look at.

When creating an Attribute in Magento ALWAYS make sure that the Quick Search Box under ‘Front End Properties’ is selected.

Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes > Front end Properties > Use in Quick Search Box > Yes.

Top Tip: 

The Meta Keywords attribute no longer has any SEO value. Soooo... If you just add lots of keywords into this section and then use the steps provided above, it can help the product to show better search results without having to alter the look of the page at all!

What’s more, If you’re doing this on Magento Enterprise v1x and you select Solr instead of MySQL, you can add weighting on a scale of 1-10. This scale is measured in terms of importance… For example if you give it a rating of 1, it’s going to understand that it’s not all that relevant. However, if you give it a rating of  10, it’ll show every time that keyword appears. 

I’ve categorised the steps below depending on the Magento version you’re using…

Magento Enterprise v1x:

Again, this functionality is only available for the Solr option on Magento 1 Enterprise. So skip ahead if that doesn’t include you…

Product attributes that are enabled for quick search use an additional Search Weight parameter. These parameters denote the priority of a specific attribute in Solr search. A customer can then enter a search term in the Magento search results bar on your website and the attribute search weight is taken into account for more accurate and relevant results. And attributes with a greater search weight are searched and returned first by Solr.

Let’s use an example created by Magento themselves

“‘E.g. a system has two attributes with different weights, where the ‘colour’ attribute has a search weight of 3, and the description attribute has a search weight of 1. When a customer searches for the word, ‘red’, Solr returns a list of products that have a colour attribute value of ‘red’, but does not include products with the word ‘red’ in the description. This result is returned because the search weight of the ‘colour’ attribute is higher than the weight of the ‘description’ attribute. The higher the number, the higher the priority.”

Magento 2x (Community & Enterprise)

One of the MANY great things about Magento 2 (Community, too) is that, even if you are using MySQL you now have the option of adding weighting to your attributes.

This done simply by going to:

Stores > Attributes > Product > Storefront Properties.

Perform More Effective Maintenance and Optimisation

None of these solutions have any machine learning or algorithms in place to improve performance, so the only way to improve the effectiveness of search is to keep running reports and optimising. This can be done by reviewing Search Terms that people have typed in and then making the right adjustments/optimising accordingly. Not only is this helpful for optimisation tactics, these search queries also provide great insight into how users are searching on your store, they also provide you with an understanding of what shoppers expect/hope to find on your website.

To do this on Magento 1, go to Catalog > Search Terms

magento search results bar

The Magento 2 configuration is a little different. They’ve actually split out the synonyms and search term reports. You can get to them from either:

Marketing > SEO & Search > Search Terms

magento search results bar

Marketing > SEO & Search > Search Synonyms

magento search results bar

From here, the most important thing to do is to sort by Number of Uses. This is a vitol field as it shows what most people are searching for on your website. Results aren’t that important so long as a suitable amount of results are appearing for each unique search.

Here are the steps:

Step 1:

Sort the report by Number of uses.

Step 2:

Look for any misspelled words and then in the synonym box type in the correct spelling.

Step 3:

Perform your most popular searches on the front end of the site. If you are unhappy with the results, then create a CMS page merchandised with exactly what you want.

When you look into your search history, you’ll see that there are a lot of the same searches. For example, if you’re a printer supplier, you might find that a lot of people search for HP, a particularly popular printer brand. And you know what, you already have a category landing page dedicated to HP. This is a great opportunity to configure a redirect to ensure that when your visitors do search for HP in your optimised Magento search results bar, they’re directed straight to the landing page. Not only does this guarantee they find what they’re looking for, you can be reassured that they’re being taken to a landing page that has been curated with the best selling and/or most popular items. That’s a giant tick in the box for solid UX.

How do you accomplish this?

Head to: Catalog > Search Terms and then browse the list of related search terms, click edit or ‘add new search term’ in the top right corner. Then, the rest is simple. Just specify the redirect URL that you would like your customers to be guided to.  

Wait To See The On-Site Improvements

 

magento search results bar

Implementing these quick configurations is a sure fire way to maximise the user experience and ultimately drive up revenue and customer retention. We want to see that conversion rate soar!

If you still think optimising the Magento search results bar is a waste of time, then you’ve got the wrong attitude.
What’s the point of having a search bar if it doesn’t do it’s job properly?

You’ve put enough hard work in so far to get your site working as efficiently as it possibly can, don’t let it go to waste by neglecting the simpler, seemingly ‘less important’ tasks.

That being said, if you’ve skimmed this post and suddenly decided that you’re willing to spend a little extra dough on your Magento search results bar for complete superior search functionality, there are a few excellent third party search extensions that can be installed and maintained at a pretty reasonable price. And we’ve also provided a brief summary of those below…

Using A Third Party Extension


As a professional digital agency, we will always recommend using a third party search extension if you can afford it.

However, if you decide to use a third party extension, it is important to do your research. Make sure you choose one that actually adds value and doesn’t require more manual labour than it’s really worth.

So which ones do provide value?

SLi has proven international success and acidgreen highly recommends considering it when looking into optimising your Magento search results bar. SLi is currently utilized by some of the world’s top online retailers and with over 15 years experience, it supports 18 languages on 5 different continents.

magento search results bar

Why is it so popular with Magento merchants?

SLi is a full SaaS solution, which means it is faster and easier to implement and maintain than if you were to host it yourself. The benefit of having a Magento search results bar extension such as SLi means that it is on-premise, aka you have full control over how the solution is managed and updated. It also has great ease of navigation. As are most extensions, it is much more intuitive than Magento’s in-built solution.

SLi is a predictive product discovery platform that uses machine learning from customers. It is actually able to predict what your shopper is most likely to buy right now. Using a commendable search extension such as SLi can generate more traffic, and convert your shoppers into buyers whilst maximising your order values.

What’s more…

The Magento extension currently have a great programme installed called Scorecard that scores the performance of your website search engine. This quick and easy to us programme is a great way for businesses to benchmark their performance against industry best practice.

Another machine learning Magento search results bar extension acidgreen highly recommends (if you’re in the marketplace) is SearchSpring.

magento search results bar

As we’ve been through for the in-built extension, SearchSpring also allows you to visually merchandise which products have the highest conversion rates, and then manually place those at the top of the search list. However, with SearchSpring this procedure it a lot simpler.

The SearchSpring Magento search extension is also great for larger digital commerce stores that have enhanced, responsive websites for multiple platforms e.g. mobile and tablet devices. The extension allows merchants to deploy customizable price ranges, rating, colour palettes and size grids…even unique landing pages for highly searched products. SearchSpring’s AutoComplete system also supports spell check, relevant type-ahead suggestions and promotional banners for supreme UX. 

The Importance Of On-Site Search Optimisation

So, in conclusion, no matter if you decide to head down the cheaper, rockier route of optimising your already in-built Magento search results bar, or you decide to splurge the extra cash on a certified extension, make sure you take the correct measures to ensure your Magento search results bar is performing to the best of its ability. Don’t let it be neglected. More and more companies are increasing their investment on-site search as they’re slowly realising the incremental benefits that effective technology can bring to their online business and overall brand.

magento search results bar

The steps provided above are sure to set you and your business on the right track. Let’s give a cheer for on-site optimisation! Hurrah! (an optimised search engine would recognise this as a synonym for Hooray…)

acidgreen is an award winning e-commerce agency  specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of  industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or give us a call to learn more about our services.

By Author Mark Binns

Conversion Optimisation: An insider’s Guide

conversion rate optimisation infographics
Conversion Optimisation

Hands up anyone who thought making money through ecommerce was going to be easy? Unlike Bricks and Mortar, your website is open 24/7, the overheads are low, and your differentiator was going to be a great user experience. No-one would care if you weren’t the cheapest because they were going to be loyal brand advocates. You had loads of Facebook fans, and all your friends told you what a great idea it would be to sell that product online.

As we all know, being successful online, is a little bit more complicated than that. At acidgreen, 100% of the sites that we build are ecommerce sites, and over the last 16 years we have seen it all. We have shared in the glory and mourned all of the failures. There are many reasons that an online business can fail and our initial consult would always be to try and test the waters with a Minimum Viable Product. Creating a beautiful site with custom features isn’t going to increase demand for a product at this stage. That money is better invested in marketing. Things like conversion optimisation, customer lifetime value, content delivery networks and onsite personalisation are all totally useless unless you have a product or service that people want to purchase.

For those lucky enough to have survived this initial stage, we have managed to identify some common themes that we feel have helped our clients to succeed over the years.

Keep in mind, there is no point investing in these until there are suitable traffic levels to justify the business case. Even the best sites who implement all of the below only have conversion rates of between 1 and 3%.

Looking for the Product

There is a lot of information out there about purchase funnels and buying cycles. Buzzwords like awareness and consideration come to mind. We are not discounting the importance of this research but when we look at our clients’ analytics, we find that the sales cycle is usually less than 1 day. By the time customers get to your site, they know what they want, and they need to find it quick.

“Sales Cycle is usually less than 1 day”

Search function

Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than the inability to find what they’re looking for. A good performing on site search facility is your most powerful asset in converting customers on your site. By analysing a cross section of our accounts we found that on average, sessions where the site search is used improves conversion rates by 465%. This means that on a  site with an average conversion rate of 1.5%:

Conversion Rates without on site search are 0.75%
Conversion Rates with on site search  are 4.3%

Search on mobile

According to Google onsite search is even more necessary on mobile. Long complicated navigation menus relying on hover states just don’t seem to cut it. Google suggests segmented search as per this example from the research:

conversion rate optimisation
conversion optimization guide

Worth Noting

Most inbuilt search engines do not have a good auto-complete or suggested search function. If you can afford it, then it is worth paying and investing for a 3rd party search function. We find that with the added ability to visually merchandise your results and add filters, the customer can get what they are looking for much quicker.

The Product Page

Design

Once your visitor has invested the time to get to your product page, you want to make sure that they can find all of the information that they need straight away.

The Nielson Group have conducted eyetracking research which shows that users speed scan content in the shape of the letter F. As you can see from the image below it is vital to put all of the important information in the right place.

The product name and image should be incorporated into the initial horizontal sweep, and then all of the important information like price, availability and short descriptions should be in the second, slightly lower, horizontal sweep.

When they finally page down vertically, as they are prepared to spend more time, you can add more detail and specifications.

conversion rate optimisation guide
conversion optimization tips

Best Practices

If you really want to make the most out of the product page then you need to go that extra mile with the product descriptions and interactive content. Try and picture what information you would need if you were about to buy this product. If you are stuck for ideas take a look at one of your competitors sites. In adding some dynamic features like stock locations in stores, pop ups to highlight scarcity, reviews, social media feeds, celebrity endorsements or even associated products, you are making your content unique which not only helps SEO but also enhances the customer’s experience.

Buying the Product

68.63% is the industry average for cart abandonment
(source: http://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate)

Keep in mind that no matter how good your site experience is, almost 7 out of 10 people aren’t going to purchase. This is a behavioural thing, most of them were never intending to buy in the first place! So how do we convert those 3 purchasers into 4?

The first step is to forget about that beautiful, creative UX that you have created. This may have made them add to cart, but from here you need to leave it all behind. The checkout process is all about measurement and data. This is where you need to focus on what psychologist J.J. Gibson called Affordances.  If something needs clicking make it look like a button. If it requires an action make it look obvious. Don’t rely on them to understand an SSL certificate, visually show them the checkout is secure. It’s about white space and functionality. Adding numbers to the different checkout steps and making sure that the tab order on the form is correct, has far more value than whether your button is green or orange!

Here is a list of what we find works the best for our clients:

  • Allow the user to purchase as a guest, it is perceived to ensure a quicker process.
  • Make sure that your one page payment process is compliant with WHATWGHTML. This means that where possible the browser will auto fill all of their details.
  • Autofill discount codes and provide a list of current ones in the banner at the top. This encourages trust and stops them from leaving the page to search for a better price.
  • Remove all forms of site navigation except for shipping FAQ’s, T&Cs and Privacy Policies which can be opened up in a new window (removes any form of distraction)
  • Make sure you enable cart reminder emails for abandoned carts

Measure Everything

Probably the most important aspect about all of this is collating your data. Without qualitative or quantitative data, how are you supposed to decide what to do next? Free products like Google Analytics offer enterprise levels of data, but unless you customize them and record micro and macro conversions it can be hard to pinpoint the pertinent information. With Analytics, you should just be reviewing one dashboard each day. That’s all you should need. When the figures are off then you can drill down into the other reports.

Did you know that you can still measure a one page checkout as a funnel?

For all of our clients we like to create a funnel for the checkout by using virtual pageviews (see example below). With this in place you can see if, for example, shipping rates are causing people to abandon their cart.

website conversion optimisation
conversion funnel optimisation

Record your users

Our second tip would be to supplement this quantitative data with some qualitative data.  Having both sets of data makes it easier to make a decision. Software like hotjar offers screen recordings of your users behaviour without sharing sensitive data like credit cards.

Loyalty and Re-engagement

With the cost of SEM increasing each year, the more mature ecommerce stores are focusing on the 80:20 rule: The more information that you can collect about your customers the better. With the ability to segment this data by things such as lifetime value, previous purchases and demographic, you can re-activate them by email (which should be your most valuable channel). By offering them personalised recommendations, discounts and the VIP treatment not just by email, but also on site you can start to inspire some brand loyalty.

This is not as hard as it sounds and maturer cms platforms like Magento Enterprise have this built in. For platforms that don’t include this we find the most affordable option is Barilliance.

Test

Like most things in life, you usually don’t get it right the first time.  After performing many A/B and Multivariate Tests on clients’ sites we have learned the hard way, that what works on one site doesn’t always work well on another. The key to success is to define the goals upfront. Formalise what you will count as statistically significant before the test has been deployed. Although it is very tempting, just because you like the look of the new version, don’t let it stay on the site permanently until it produces a statistically significant result. For more information on how to measure this, read this great article from Avinash Kaushik

Final Thought

As discussed at the beginning of the article, making money online isn’t as easy as some people think and it is only going to get harder as the market gets more saturated. None of the recommendations above are going to move the needle, unless there is enough traffic on your site.

Just like Bricks and Mortar, there needs to be an adequate demand for what you are selling in that location. If the footfall in the mall is high, so is the cost of leasing the property.

You need to greet the customer and then leave them to browse. If they like what they see, only then will they will listen to your recommendations. If they find what they want then they will buy the product so long as the queue isn’t too long. If you don’t offer free returns or you prices aren’t competitive, they will walk next door.

This article was previously posted in eWay in a four-part series.

_____

acidgreen is an award winning Magento Australian company with over 15 years of web design and development experience. Our certified magento developers, digital marketing executives and designers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing magento websites that generate the highest amount of conversions that provide the best ROI. For more information on how to get started with acidgreen’s magento design and development services, and to avail of a free quote on your magento websites, contact us today!

By Author admin

Game-Changing Features of Magento 2

The late David Bowie stated eloquently, ‘Changes… turn and face the strange’.

magento 2 features list
features of magento 2

While his statement was not consciously written to chronicle Magento and its recent remodel, Magento 2, the concept still inimitably applies itself.

Magento 2 is the latest release by the most popular open source eCommerce platform in the world. It assists B2B and B2C by providing omnichannel shopping experiences, enhanced performance and scalability with unrivalled flexibility.

Ultimately, the new and improved features of Magento 2 aim to provide higher conversion rates and ROI to all its clients.

The leading platform’s empowering self-declaration is to, ‘change the world of eCommerce’.

Features of Magento 2 13

Now, the question remains; does it deliver?

acidgreen was one of the first Magento partners in Australia, and we definitely believe it does… here’s a few reasons why:

If you’re reading this, there’s a high chance you’re a current client of Magento 1. After all, with the excess of 240 000 shops run by Magento out there, it comfortably dominates at 25% of the worldwide eCommerce market. It’s not hard to understand why either- it’s SEO friendly, easy to extend, rich in features with optimal functionality and above all, developers and site owners have full control.

Magento 1 has had over eight years of proven success and it still remains effective. However, the new features of Magento 2 prove it to be even faster, better, harder and stronger.

Features of Magento 2:

No Wait Time 

One of its most obvious advancements is its improved cache system. In M1, optimizing caching was done so through extensions. Now, it is built in with support for Varnish caching- meaning no more third party installation. This reduces the amount of queries and instead relies on an internal database system

In simple terms, this means quicker loading times. Content is delivered to customers faster, therefore maximising the user experience and ultimately leading to higher conversions rates.

Plus, the database actually features statistics of lost conversions due to time spent waiting for page loads. So you’ll know if something isn’t functioning properly.

If you don’t fully understand the benefit, just consider this statistic: a 1 second delay on your site can mean a 7% loss in conversion. 

Features of Magento 2 3

Streamlined Checkout

Think about when you’ve gone to checkout your items on an eCommerce shop. Ever been annoyed by the arduous sign up/’checkout as guest’ situation? As it turns out, this is a fatal flaw for many customers.  Luckily, this is no longer an issue.

The modern system has been broken down into two simple steps:

  1. Collect customer info,
  2. Collect billing info- billing address information is only needed if it is required by the payment method.

The system automatically assumes the customer is a guest and it will pick up on those already registered via the email field. They are then offered the opportunity to log in.

Its checkout system has further been upgraded through the integration of high performing payment gateways e.g. PayPal, BrainTree, Authorize.net, WorldPay (Enterprise Edition), CyberSource (Enterprise Edition) that weren’t previously supported.

M2 also features an improved order summary page by enabling the ability to incorporate product images and/or videos in the customer shopping cart. This makes for a more interactive, dynamic customer experience.

Features of Magento 2 1

SEO Maximisation

A crucial feature for a successful web shop is a high search engine ranking. M2 has incorporated new improvements to help make sure you’re at the top of the list.

M2’s new XML sitemap improvement means you can set the priority and frequency for any page type i.e. products, categories and CM pages. Plus, as well including Google Analytics tracking, eCommerce tracking and AdWords (much the same as M1) it has also added Google Tag Manager. GTM allows you to quickly and more efficiently update tags and code snippets to your site.

Moreover, with the help of Rich Snippets- an addition that allows you to add product labels without the hassle of third party extensions, you can take use of your site structured mark-up data. This will inevitably make your product page stand out in Google search results.

Features of Magento 2 10

Other Features of Magento 2:

  • It has officially minimized and bundled JavaScript, thus reducing unwanted browser’s operations.
  • With its new image compression function clients now have the option to optimize images directly on the server using M2’s built in tools, rather than having to do it manually.
  • The M2 Admin Panel Dashboard displays statistics such as: Average Order, Last Orders, Lifetime Sales, Last and Top Search terms- therefore assisting you/the client in monitoring your state of business.
  • Magento 2 is in full support of the latest versions of PHP which comprise new security fixes as well as improvements on functionalities that directly affected the web store’s speed.

Features of Magento 2 4

Grasping an understanding of the new features of Magento 2 and its superior functionalities, it is easy to justify making the transition to the modern program. Particularly when the said transition leads to higher conversion rates and larger ROI.

acidgreen is an award winning Magento ecommerce web design development company with over 15 years of web design experience. Our certified magento developers, digital marketing executives and designers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing magento websites – that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. For more information on Magento 2 and how to get started with acidgreen’s web development services, contact us today.