to difficult to implement… ??
No, it’s not difficult. Most Magento users just don’t really need its features.
Just digging this up because I am weighing up whether or not to get my developers to write a custom search module and although I see that search improvements are planned for the CE according to the user voice forum, I can’t see much info on this.
Anyway, my reason for picking this response to comment on is that I think it is worthy of further challenge:
Now I might be horribly wrong here, and if so, Michael please accept my most grovelling apologies; but I think that you might be a developer rather than a merchant.
Because I can’t imagine that anyone who makes their living from trying to get people to buy stuff from an ecommerce site (rather than “just” from producing code for it) could come up with such a statement.
Improving your site search is arguably one of the single most important things you can do to your ecommerce site to increase your revenue, because customers that search and find, are customers that purchase:
It is not overdoing to suggest that there is a better than evens chance that every time a visitor searches for a product (that you sell) and doesn’t find it, you have just lost an actual sale (not a theoretical one, an actual one - involving real money!)
Yes, somewhere between 92-95% (to take the two examples above) of visitors ignore your search functionality, but that is a meaningless statistic. You might have 99 visitors to your site today whose real intention is to spend $0, and then I turn up with a real intention to spend $1000.
A smart merchant does everything in his power to make me turn my intention into action, and one of the proven ways to do this is by making sure that when I search for what I am looking for, I find it. Converting the small minority of genuine prospects is why smart merchants do things like spend days agonising over the exact wording of their shopping cart page, or the specific order of fields on their checkout page.
Yes, most people won’t notice tiny changes in the cadence of your final buy message, or won’t even see what your checkout page looks like. That doesn’t matter, because these people are just a distraction. What counts is what happens to those with their credit card sitting on their desk beside them.
And it doesn’t matter what size of merchant you are, even if you only have a few dozen visitors each day and just handful of actual customers; making sure that you focus on the customers is just as important. And like I say, site search is one of the proven ways to do this.
The current magento search is horrid and is a complete fail on two main areas:
1. It is not relevent enough (out of the box)
2. It doesn’t offer the ability to interpret what users are searching for (via synonyms and misspells, etc)*
And it doesn’t matter that improving this will be ignored by most site visitors, because it will benefit the most valuable ones, and that is what really matters.
As Orwell might have said: “all visitors are equal, but some are more equal than others… so make sure you develop your site for them”.
* Okay, so it does via the frankly hillarious search term feature. Lets say you get a reasonable number of visitors = 2000 uniques per day. Of which 8% search for something: 160. Of which 25% misspell or don’t second guess the way you’ve named your products: 40. Of which 1/3 would actually have bought from you: 14 (RU). Of which 50% don’t bother trying to find the product another way (because you’ve got, say, 30 direct competitors): 7 missed sales every day.
The current magento solution for those 7 missed sales, is to manually interpret their search AFTER THEY HAVE GONE! When there are proven (free and easy-ish to implement) technologies to do it when they are STILL ON YOUR SITE.
If you average order value is $30, then that is (over the next 5 years that you have Magento as your solution): 30 * 7 * 365 (*1.3 Xmas multiplier) * 5 = $498,225.
Of course if you are dilligent, you’ll have manually interpreted every single failed search and perhaps reduced the failure rate by 50%, meaning that you’ve only lost a quarter of a million dollars. (And had to manually interpret 36,500 searches!)