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 Eloise Edstein

How To Effectively Handle The Rise Of Big Data Analytics

How important are data analytics to your online business?

We all navigate a sea of data every day, at any time, at any place. We also generate more data ourselves and varied information than ever. Why? Because we use the internet more and more and believe it or not… more!

In fact, around 49.6% of the entire worldwide population currently utilises the internet. Specifically, in Australia/ Oceania that number is even larger, at 68.1%.

data analytics


These days, data comes in from everywhere: PCs, laptops, mobiles, social networks, search engines  … literally anywhere, YOU NAME IT. It’s the very real and very scary Big Brother of this generation. Honestly, if George Orwell were alive today, he would’ve turned and run for the hills. Fortunately for him, he isn’t. Unfortunately for us, we are. And not only do we have to ‘deal with it’, we have to learn to navigate it, utilise it and use it to our own advantage. Which, truthfully is not all that hard if you know how to use it effectively.

So, how can businesses use it to their advantage?

In the current digital marketplace, competition is tough and businesses are continuously looking to reel in more customers on top of larger revenue. It’s for this reason that measuring marketing strategies and their effectiveness has become a fairly sizeable challenge. The rise of data analytics and fast data means analysts can more readily understand the client experience and adapt the appropriate selling strategy, accordingly.  The evolution of omnichannel analytics (data from disparate channels) means online merchants can unify information from multiple sources and platforms and view a more holistic understanding of retail performance.

And, because of the demand for fast insights, data analytics plays a hugely vitol role.

Ever heard of the phrase, cognitive computing?

If you haven’t, don’t worry, I’m about to explain…

Cognitive computing (CC) describes the technology platforms which are based on the principle of artificial intelligence and signal processing. Analytics is a super important component of digital intelligence and cognitive computing. By using statistics and predictive modeling techniques, it is able to find meaningful, recurring patterns in pre recorded data.

A variety of industries use data analytics to make relevant forecasts for their business: from financial services, healthcare and  even insurance. Most of these industries have also developed their own personalized analytics platform to garner the greatest results.

What about for marketers?

When we focus on marketing and ecommerce, we tend to use the more specific term,  ‘marketing analytics’. Marketing analytics measures business metrics (e.g : leads, traffic, leads, sales, and so on). This sort of less general data analytics, provides data from websites. However, it also reels in important data from various sources like emails and social media.

Call it ‘magic’ if you will, but this data is actually just a result of a bunch of powerful ‘geek’ experts coming together to create an unstoppable algorithm that is continually changing and evolving.

Why does it matter more than ever for Digital Commerce Merchants?

“Big Data is the biggest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the Internet went mainstream almost 20 years ago”, said Forbes in 2013.

And they were right. 2017 has revealed itself to be a huge year for cognitive computing.  Why? Because we are closely observing the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning networks.

What is ‘big data’?

Some people believe ‘big data’ to be a fairly contemporary concept that only showed its face after the rise of technological and computerised processes.

Want to know something?


That’s just not the case. Before the term, ‘big data’ was popularized, companies already used large (a synonym of ‘big’) data, albeit fairly basically and manually, to find out more about their clientele and customer traits. This allowed for businesses to make forecasts and anticipate future trends.

data analytics

However, the new benefits (and not the only benefits) that the modern ‘big data’ analytics brings to businesses has been speed and efficiency. Only just a few short years ago, businesses would have to laboriously gather all the information, and then run to data analytics and process that said compiled research and information. Today, these same businesses can identify predictions in less than a millisecond. This cuts decision-making down to just minutes.

Allowing businesses and organisations to work more speedily suddenly creates a vastly more competitive and dynamic marketplace. Today, data analytics allow businesses to trace the path of a user on the Internet down to the very last detail (or ‘last click’) by providing very precise information. This, of course, is all the more advantageous for digital marketers.

But then what are the major benefits of using data analytics in marketing?

According to Thomas H.Davenport, ex professor at Harvard Business School, marketing analytics enables marketers to make decisions on different scales:

Firstly, marketers can develop data analytics-based products and services for their clients. With People-Centric Data on the Customer Lifecycle, organisations can track how an individual prospect interacts with the business over time. How did they find your website ? How long did they spend on a certain page? What did they search for on your website? What does this information say about their interests?

That is only a small fraction of the questions analytics can answer. For example, Facebook’s ability to track users allows them to provide very specific customization targeting to business advertisers. This means  services such as audiences with similar interests known as, ‘lookalike audiences’, people who have interaction with your biggest competitors, or people who meet a certain demographic target.

Secondly, marketers can make marketing decisions at different scale. For example, if they notice that users are not staying on pages of the site and that they leave the site, they can wonder on how to retain customers and what they can do to prevent that from happening.

With marketing analytics, marketers can measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns to improve the customer experience and grow their conversion rate by offering appropriately targeted content. It also allows digital marketers and businesses alike to identify issues in order to make adjustments to strategies and tactics. In turn, this creates larger ROI and greater overall business performance.

What Are The Limits Of Modern Data Analytics?

One of the biggest advantages of analytics is that the outputs are relevant and easy to understand. The data comes from interaction between the platforms and the users. That’s not too hard to get your head around, right?

However, there are limits to using big data in digital marketing.

Here are some of the limits to be aware of:

The first point is not really a limit but rather a risk related to the use of big data in marketing. With strategic data analytics, strategic decisions have led to dramatic errors that have made headlines.

data analytics
What’s the reason?

Some marketers tend to think that analytical marketing can make all the important decisions for them.


That’s definitely not true, and not how marketers should view it.

Analytical marketing should not lead to automated decision-making, it should simply act as a guide in the decision-making process.

The second risk that follows the one just mentioned concerns the different sources of data, and where different information is sourced from. For example, it is extremely important not to limit research to just one data source. Relying on a single source is not only risky, it will not always be entirely accurate. Compiling more platforms will offer bigger insights and further accuracy.

For this reason, it is important to seek information from multiple platforms.

Finally, a problem with managing the platform is often a large one. A larger one than organisations and marketers anticipate. Errors can be caused by wrong implementation practises, for example an incorrect tracking code implementation or poor servers (In the case of Google Analytics,  an out of order server for example). Making sure that everything is installed and tracking correctly is crucial. As time-consuming as this task can be, it is not one to be undervalued, and should certainly not be shoved off to someone who is inexperienced.

So, What Can We Take Away From All Of This?

Marketing analytics has seen a strong development these last years, with the evolution of big data and artificial intelligence. Today, it is possible to track every detail of your web visitors and the way they interact with your website. They allow you to adapt your strategy to make it as profitable as possible, while investing in the most effective marketing efforts.

In recent times we have already seen a large number of companies taken down because they have not been able to successfully migrate into successful omnichannel companies. It is the retailers who have the ability to utilise data from all areas of their business to drive performance who will effectively separate themselves from the laggards and become the real retail winners.

If you would like your business to be its most successful, put your trust in a certified digital marketing professional. Offloading to the experts means you are able to rely on someone who will confidently and effectively manage your website analytics to its fullest potential to help you to further understand not only who your customer is, but what your customer wants/needs. With over 15 years of ecommerce experience, acidgreen knows how to create successful marketing strategies to generate the highest conversion rates and provide the best ROI to our customers. Because we want your success, our agency uses data analytics to provide you key information that are crucial for your business and its development. You can trust our digital marketing experts who know how to correctly implement the correct parameters to effectively configure your analytics data.

Our company is an official Google Premier Partners which is the highest level attainable for online marketing specialists that have been trained and certified by Google. Technically, that means that the members of our team have the competencies to properly analyse data and provide you with the most effective solutions/approach to online marketing. Maximise your digital marketing now, and contact acidgreen today!

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 Eloise Edstein

Five Biggest Mobile Marketing Trends To Watch In 2017

What device are you reading this article from?

Is it a mobile?

The odds are high that you just internally answered, ‘yes’.

A recent study released by StatCounter in October 2016, reported a record breaking figure: for the first time in history, more users surf the web from their mobile devices than they do on desktops or laptops (51.3% against 48.7%).

So, if you’re still doubting about the efficiency of mobile marketing, it’s time to wake up and smell the roses, sunshine, because mobile marketing definitely falls under the category, ‘efficient marketing’.

To get the message across, acidgreen has compiled all the most recent and relevant mobile marketing statistics to help you anticipate and organise your strategic plan for the rest of 2017 and 2018!

1. The ‘Z Generation’: More Connected Than Ever Before

On average, we will spend around “4 hours per day on our phones”

It’s undeniable that people are spending more and more time on mobiles devices. In 2016, stats showed we spent 5 hours per day on our phones. That’s 1.6 times more than we did in 2012!

If we’re to follow the predictions of emarketer, we will spend even more time on our mobiles this year, and then even MORE in 2018.

What else does this mean?

By prioritizing smartphones, we are spending less and less time on other devices such as laptops or desktops.

“68% of the smartphone owners check their phone as soon as they wake up”

Regarding Google Micro Moments, in 2015, 68% of us checked notifications within 15 minutes of waking up. But what exactly does one spend their time viewing/browsing on his/her mobile phone? How does he/she allocate time?

A closer look reveals that we spend around 8% of our time browsing the Internet and 92% navigating on different apps like Social Networks, Youtube and instant messaging apps (Flurry Mobile Study).

2. Mobiles : A Huge Opportunity For Marketing Strategy

“51% of searches and 69% of social media time in 2016 are made from a mobile”

In 2016, a record smashing 51% of searches were made from a mobile device. Regarding the ComScore’s new Cross-Platform report, 69% of social media time is spent on mobile. Young consumers especially, spend most of their time on social networks such as Instagram or Snapchat. The older generations seem to find more time to play around on professional apps such like LinkedIn.

However, Facebook is certainly the number one social network amongst all age groups, and that is exactly why it remains a high performing leader of online marketing (after Google).

“In 2016, more than three-quarters of users made a purchase on their device”

The Financial Brand revealed in early 2017 that 78% of people made a purchase on their mobile device in 2016. That is more than three-quarters of those who were surveyed.

Now, more so than ever, it is possible to have access to information, immediately at your fingertips. In any place at any time with fast browsing. What’s more, people are becoming more and more comfortable buying online. And with mobile-optimized websites which provide ergonomic and mobile-friendly designs, it’s very easy to make a purchase in just a few short minutes.

Moreover, Monetate showed that in 2016, despite the fact that conversion rates of online shoppers on smartphones were lower than those on tablets or laptops/desktops, they were on a much greater incline than any other platform.

By the end of 2015,  the conversion rate for the people who made a purchase online from a mobile device was 1.35. By the end of 2016, that number had grown to 1.55.

3. Email Marketing For Mobiles

“56% of emails are opened on a mobile device” – a fact revealed by Litmus in 2016.

According to them, among all emails that were sent (during a study), more than half of them were opened on a smartphone. This figure is very important to businesses and digital marketers alike who are trying to push their email marketing forward. Particularly, when email designs are not always especially mobile-friendly.

Emails need to be formatted with a responsive multi-platform friendly design, as past research reveals that when were optimized for mobiles (Yesmali’s mobile email report), click rates increased from up to 24%.

mobile marketing

4. The Growth of Mobile Marketing

“In U.S, mobile ad spend is projected to grow from $33 billion in 2016 to $72 billion by 2021” – Biakelsey

Regarding the results provided by Biakelsey, the US mobile ad spend will double by 2021.

Business Insider Intelligence claims that by 2020, mobiles will represent the biggest online advertising market.

5. But How Do You Go About Strategizing Your Mobile Marketing Plan?

There are so many different ways to approach mobile marketing.

To name a few…

By creating dynamic mobile search ads, and display ads to appear on the web as well as popular Mobile Apps through platforms such as Google AdWords. If we look at the App Annie 2016 report, we can see that 900 billion hours were spent in apps in 2016. That is 150 billion hours more than 2015.

Or, try social network advertising e.g. Facebook, Instagram YouTube and Twitter. In actuality, it is projected that ads on Apps such as Facebook or Instagram will receive more clicks than ads on the web (0.58% vs. 0.23%) by the end of the year.

How can you appeal to this market?

As a matter of fact, it seems like the mobile audience is most attracted by visual content. Some bloggers even think that videos will be the trend that will dominate mobile advertising throughout 2017 and 2018.

According to DMB Adobe, “online shoppers who view demo videos are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-viewers”, which represents a huge opportunity for brands.

acidgreen are SEO professionals. We have successfully managed online optimisation strategies and online marketing for huge big names brands, and we are dedicated to providing our clients with nothing but the best quality care. We also proudly stand as a Google Premier Partner – so you can be assured we know what we’re doing.

If you’re not too sure where to start with your mobile marketing plan, or you want it handled by the experts who know how to navigate the digital marketing scope, contact us today for a free inquiry.  Ready to get started? Great! Give us a call.

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.