Why is Search so important for eCommerce websites? Because it guides the users through the sales funnel directly to the purchase. As such, it represents the most important functionality on your site.
Of course, there are users who know exactly what they are looking for. They can easily enter the product name and land directly on the product page. On the other hand, Search is the most useful guide for users unsure of their intentions and preferences. Also, the conversion itself can be easily tracked, which represents a valuable resource for further web store enhancement.
Magento website owners basically have 3 options they can choose between:
- Magento Native Search
- Advanced eCommerce Platform
We are going to compare these three options over the key features of eCommerce Search:
By the end of this article, you will realize why an advanced search platform, Athena Search represents the perfect choice for eCommerce websites.
Also, you can watch the official Athena Search video before you dive into the article.
The power of Autocomplete lies in the fact that it is crucial for enabling a seamless search experience. This is made possible by search result suggestions that should be visible as soon as a user starts typing the search term (or even earlier).
Magento 2 ElasticSearch is pretty decent for small businesses and non-eCommerce websites. However, it fails in satisfying the needs of expert merchants with larger amounts of products. Not to mention the multi-site, multi-store, multi-language environments whose popularity and number increase by the second.
The main disadvantages of the default Magento search cannot be overlooked. Here are some of them:
- The module is server intensive, which requires a dedicated server or a cloud-hosting platform
- The inability of the search bar to interpret the plural keyword forms
- The inability of the search bar to understand difficult words due to the lack of the Synonyms tool and the Dictionary tool
- Due to the complexity of the entered string or intricate subjects, the search results might lack the necessary relevancy
- The lack of a spell checker or spell suggestions
- “No Results” may be shown for entries with special characters
- Predicting the suggestions is rather slow
- In case you are looking for the “Blog” or the “Cookies Policy”, there is a great chance that the results will be omitted
- Product images, stocks, and ratings are not included in the search results
- You cannot add the desired product directly from the search result page
- Multiple result view is not allowed
There is a wide range of autocomplete extensions. For the purpose of our comparison, we will use the two most popular ones:
Amasty Magento 2 Extension provides users with one or more separate sections. These include relevant search results in the form of products, categories, and CMS pages. Some of the advantages of this extension are the following:
- Precise suggestions
- “View All” link and “Add to Cart” button
- Handy navigation tabs
The Mirasvit Magento 2 Extension is a bit more informative and faster than Amasty. The search window that appears quickly offers products, categories, and CMS pages, as well as relevant suggestions in the form of the most popular search terms. The main advantages of Mirasvit are:
- Hot Searches for managing the most popular queries
- TypeAhead, a useful auto-suggestion feature
- Optimization of autocomplete layout for small screen sizes
Advanced eCommerce Platform
Now, let’s focus on our outstanding Search platform, Athena Search. First off, Athena’s advanced Autocomplete is fully customizable from the Dashboard. Once integrated, it gives you numerous possibilities to make it suitable for your eStore.
You can add various sections in order to provide as many relevant search results as possible. These sections can include brands, categories, manufacturers, product blocks, product ratings, and so much more. What is more, you can create as many synonyms as you like in order to make it easier to find the wanted product.
Based on your preferences, you can pick the layout of the search window that goes perfectly with your website. Moreover, you can use custom CSS to further customize the layout.
Another useful possibility of Athena Search is the fact that you can create amazing promo banners and incorporate them into your search result suggestions. To make sure you got it all right, we have developed a preview option. It allows you to check your settings and customization prior to publishing.
Saving the best for last, Athena offers the most popular search results even before you begin typing your search term! As soon as a user clicks on the search box, there is a great chance of finding exactly what they are looking for. You can try it now on our demo web store!
Without an extension, ElasticSearch is almost entirely helpless. If you want to enable Search Suggestions, which is highly recommended for eCommerce stores, you risk slowing down your website. The same goes for enabling Search Recommendations, as well as if you set Search Recommendations Count or enable the Show Results Count for each Recommendation (or Suggestion).
Amasty offers you the possibility to add products, categories, CMS pages, landing pages, brand pages, and blocks of popular/recent searches. Creating virtual categories with Amasty Visual Merchandiser helps you direct customers’ attention. You can include new arrivals, products on sale, or products that are about to be sold out. Some of the advantages of this extension are:
- Sorting categories using drag-and-drop
- Pinning and moving products to the top
- Applying various rules and conditions
- Adding products automatically to virtual categories
The Mirasvit extension adds products, categories, CMS pages, and forums to the suggested search results as well, and it includes the popular search results block. Moreover, it supports searching for products by tags, associated product SKUs, and category names. Here are more merchandising features offered by this extension:
- Long-tail search
- Fallback search
- Pushing out-of-stock products to the end
- Ability to set search category (as in Amazon)
Advanced eCommerce Platform
When it comes to Athena Search, there are numerous merchandising options to choose from.
Thanks to the rich Synonyms functionality, you can easily create associations between different search terms. This will help your customers immensely. No matter how they type in the search term, they will get the expected results (e.g., typing “jens” instead of “jeans“).
Moreover, you can create Category Rules and Product Rules and manage the way your products are displayed. Move the ones you want to promote to the top of the page or search results. You can easily redirect one-result searches toward the Product Page. Also, you can downgrade the search by price or choose a custom number of displayed products per page. The options are limitless!
In order to incorporate any necessary changes into your marketing plan, you need to have access to an in-depth analysis concerning the performance of your online store. This is why it is extremely important that your Search offers detailed, precise, and interactive real-time reports.
Magento’s Search Terms report is rather limited to the basics. It shows only the number of results per term as well as the number of times the term was used. Should you need any data for further analysis, you can filter the report by terms, store, results, and hits and export the report.
Amasty’s Search Analytics diagram contains the following:
- Total searches
- Unique searches
- The number of users
- The percentage of users’ engagement
Within an additional block, you can find the statistics that show the most wanted search terms and search volume, e.g., customers’ recent activity. If you need a more detailed report, you can click on the “View more” link. On a separate page, you can preview the most used search queries or recent searches, correspondingly.
If you want to preview all search queries entered by users as well as their performance, you can find it all under “Search Terms Report”. Moreover, you can modify search term relevancy and details of existing search queries.
As for the Mirasvit extension, you can analyze the reports by the following categories:
- The most popular search terms
- The engagement of users
- Time interval
- Moreover, it offers you interactive charts for data visualization, a report builder for creating custom reports, flexible filters for any column, Web API, and mobile and desktop dashboards with key metrics.
- On a single page, you can preview the number of orders, ordered items, shipping, discount, invoiced and refunded orders, average order amount, and recent order, and follow the profit that is being made.
Advanced eCommerce Platform
Athena’s Reports are as detailed as they can be.
To start with, you can choose whether to preview the reports for Search or Autocomplete. You can preview the reports for the current day, week, month, or year, or you can pick a custom date or date range from a handy date picker.
The types of reports include the following:
- Summary (i.e., the total number of searches, searches with 0 results, searches with 1 result, average daily searches, the number of top search terms, searches yielding one result, absolute zero results)
- Poor Search Results (i.e., absolute zero results, searches with one result)
- Detailed Report (i.e., the total number of searches that matched your criteria, search terms, number of results, date and time, refinements, page, type, country, browser, device, and customer)
- Visual Overview (interactive graph for search results)
- Geo (chart with the geographic location of users)
- Device (a chart that shows which device was more used for search, desktop or mobile)
- Browser (a chart that shows which browsers were used for search)
- Conversion Rate (i.e., total order count, total order amount, represented by numbers, charts, and graphs, for Athena Search orders and other orders)
- Top Clicked Products (top clicked product display)
- Email Reports (for adding email addresses of the people you wish to receive reports)
Note that you can choose a different date or date range while browsing the above-mentioned categories.
All of the previously mentioned features are equally important for providing the best search experience. But, it may all be in vain if you cannot integrate the necessary software solution with all of the Magento 2 editions.
Applying ElasticSearch gives you an opportunity to enhance your Magento 2 store, but only if your store is built on Magento Open Source 2.3.0 or Magento Commerce. As for other 2.2.x editions of the platform, a proper module installation is required. Moreover, you can choose between free and paid Magento 2 ElasticSearch modules.
For eCommerce stores built on Magento Open Source 2.3.0 or Magento Commerce Edition, here are some of the advantages of Magento 2 ElasticSearch:
- Search optimization
- Search autocomplete
- Thesaurus management (synonyms, expansions)
- Advanced price slider
- Multi-select in layered navigation & swatches
- Redirect to the product page for one-result searches
- Auto spell checking
- Stopwords detection
- Customizable filters
- Search under various languages
- Real-time data and analysis
Amasty offers Magento 2 Advanced Search Extension for both Community and Enterprise editions, for the price of $199 and $499, respectively. The installation price for the Community Edition is charged $59, while the Enterprise Solution is free of charge.
Also, there are two additional technical support services that are optional:
- Priority Support Service
- Personal Support Service
The former move your support tickets to the top of the list, while the latter provides leading expert assistance. Both services are free for enterprise users.
The advantages of Amasty integration support include:
- Advanced autocomplete window
- Recent and relevant search results
- Products, categories, and product reviews in search results
- Search in categories, products, and CMS pages
- Customization of the search window layout
- More Products button
- Add to Cart button and multiple search blocks within the autocomplete window
Magento 2 Sphinx Search Ultimate by Mirasvit costs $249 for the Community edition and $448 for the Enterprise Edition. In addition, the installation services for both editions are charged $49, while a 90-day trial is free. Also, Mirasvit offers a high-quality support policy for all of its clients.
Some of the advantages of the Mirasvit extension are the following:
- Product search by category names, tags, SKUs
- Stop words, synonyms, typo correction, long-tail search, singular/plural search,
- Search by multiple content types (e.g., catalog products, categories, and attributes; CMS pages, blog, Simple Press Forum, news by CommerceLab, vBulletin Forum, Blackbird Content Manager)
- Landing pages
- Fallback search
- Responsive themes
- High indexing speed
Advanced eCommerce Platform
Athena’s technology can be integrated with all Magento 2 editions.
The price of the software starts at $80, but it may vary depending on the number of searches, SKUs, API calls, website/store views integration, etc. Since Athena Search is SaaS-based, the software is paid for each month.
The benefits of the integration include:
- Customizable autocomplete and smart predictions:
- Stop words
- Keyword redirects
- Long-tail search
- Singular/plural search
- Error detection
- Popular products block
- First-click suggestions
- Product search by categories, tags, SKU, color, or size
- Feature-rich dashboard with numerous customizable UI/UX tools
- Responsive design with modern search layouts
- Extremely fast indexing for the best search experience
- Detailed Reports (i.e., Summary, Poor Search Results, Visual Overview, Geo, Device, Browser, Conversion Rate, Top Clicked Product, Email Reports)
- Magento 2 Integration
- WordPress/WooCommerce Integration
- OPEN API
Taking everything into account, we strongly believe that there is more than one good reason to choose Athena Search. Its advanced technology with highly customizable features represents the perfect software solution across not just one, but all Magento 2 editions!
By choosing Athena Search, you choose a powerful, relevant, accurate, intuitive, and extremely fast eCommerce search platform that will, without any doubt, help you reach new business heights!
Don’t take our word for it! Read our case studies and let the numbers speak for themselves.
If you have any questions about Athena Search or eCommerce solutions in general, contact us at [email protected]. As always, we will be more than happy to provide you with all the necessary information.
Visit the Athena Search website.