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WooCommerce Series #2: Enhancing Your Store’s Search Capabilities

Photo: WooCommerce-Series2
Photo: WooCommerce-Series2

Unlocking the Potential of Search in Your WooCommerce Store

Welcome back to our WooCommerce series, where we delve into the intricacies of managing and optimizing your e-commerce platform. This post, primarily aimed at WooCommerce store managers and owners (as well as those considering a switch to this platform), is a collection of insights from ADM’s WordPress and e-commerce expert, Tõnis Nerep. Tõnis brings a wealth of experience to the table, offering up-to-date trends, practical advice, and innovative solutions to enhance your WooCommerce store‘s functionality.

The Limitations of Built-in WordPress Search

WordPress’s built-in search feature has seen significant improvements over the years, proving adequate for smaller websites. Yet, when you integrate WooCommerce, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), or other interfaces that broaden WordPress‘s capabilities, the default search functionality falls short. This blog post will explore how to elevate your store’s search feature to meet the demands of a growing, dynamic e-commerce environment.

Best Practices and Logical Solutions for Search Optimization

  • Enhanced Error Handling and Autocorrect: Implement features that recognize and correct user input errors and offer suggestions for misspelled words.
  • Synonym and Slang Recognition: For instance, ensure that a search for “laptop” or “flap” also brings up results for “notebook.”
  • Visibility of the Search Box: A permanently visible search box aids in user navigation and encourages interaction.
  • Minimizing Empty Search Results: Strategically suggest alternative products or content when searches yield no results.
  • Categorized Search Results: Organize search outcomes by content type (products, posts, recipes, categories, etc.), enhancing user experience.
  • Leveraging Search Analytics: Monitor and analyse user search trends to refine your website content and search algorithm.

Search UX

Improving the search user experience (UX) in a WooCommerce shop involves a nuanced understanding of customer behaviour and the technical aspects of search functionalities. Based on the insights from Baymard Institute, a key factor in enhancing search UX is the implementation of an effective autocomplete feature. Although 80% of e-commerce sites offer autocomplete suggestions, only a small fraction execute it without issues that affect user navigation and product discovery.

To optimize the WooCommerce shop search UX, consider these practices:

  • Keep Autocomplete Lists Manageable: Overloading users with too many suggestions can lead to choice paralysis. Aim for a concise list of around 10 suggestions on desktop and 4-8 on mobile platforms to facilitate quick and easy decision-making.
  • Prioritize Relevant Suggestions: Place the most relevant and popular suggestions at the top of the list, as users are more likely to choose from these options.
  • Use High-Quality Images: If your autocomplete suggestions include images, ensure they are of high quality and contribute to the overall clarity of the options presented.
  • Responsive Design: Ensure that the search and autocomplete features are fully responsive, providing a seamless experience across all devices and screen sizes.
  • Minimize User Input: Implement smart algorithms that can predict what users are looking for with minimal input, reducing the effort required to find products.
  • Testing and Feedback: Regularly test your search UX with real users and collect feedback to continuously refine and improve the experience.

To delve deeper into autocomplete design and learn about the nine best practices referenced by Baymard Institute, visit the following link:

Baymard Institute – 9 UX Best Practice Design Patterns for Autocomplete Suggestions

By incorporating these guidelines, you can significantly enhance the search experience on your WooCommerce site, leading to higher engagement, satisfaction, and potentially increased conversions.

Essential WooCommerce Search Plugins

To augment your store’s search functionality, consider these plugins:

WP Extended Search
This lightweight yet powerful plugin allows for extensive customization of the WordPress search function. It can be configured to include searches within post meta, author names, categories, tags, or custom taxonomies, making it an excellent choice for stores with diverse content.

Advanced Woo Search
Tailored for WooCommerce stores, this plugin supports AJAX search and searches across various product fields, including titles, content, and SKUs. It’s designed to provide a seamless search experience for e-commerce sites.

Ivory Search
Ivory Search enhances the default WordPress search and allows for the creation of custom search forms with AJAX search capabilities for fast and dynamic results. This keeps potential customers engaged and helps reduce bounce rates.

Search & Filter
This plugin adds advanced search and filtering capabilities to WordPress. Users can search by various parameters such as category, tag, custom taxonomies, and post type, which is useful for stores with extensive catalogues.

ACF: Better Search
Enhance the default WordPress search to include content from selected fields of the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. It works automatically and is ideal for store managers who use ACF for their WooCommerce store customization.

Conclusion: A Continuously Evolving Search Experience

Improving your WooCommerce store’s search functionality is not just about installing the right plugins; it’s about understanding your customers’ search behaviour and continually adapting to meet their needs.

We have also covered already some of the topics in our previous posts. So, check them out if you missed this: WooCommerce series #1. How to make WooCommerce store faster?

In the following series we will talk about:

  • How to manage your e-shop much more easily? 
  • Using Gutenberg and a new era in content management 
  • Which plugins to use to simplify marketing work and increase sales? 
  • How to increase the security of the e-shop? 
  • How to choose the right plugins for your e-shops? What to watch? 
  • How to make the image bank solution so that administration is as simple as possible?

Follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to stay tuned for future posts.

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