Magento Top Search Extensions
Search is a hugely important feature for any ecommerce website, regardless of size, industry or nature – speeding up and simplifying the process for consumers to find a product that they’re looking for. Often, if an online store has a large, complex catalog, finding specific products can be quite difficult and lots of users also just prefer to use search rather than navigating through product list pages.
Search is frequently overlooked as a ‘nice-to-have’ by merchants, which may be justifiable for a small subset of stores, but most come to this conclusion without understanding the role it plays within their user journeys and the impact it can have on a store’s conversion rate. When I was at the SearchLove conference about 5 years ago, I remember being really intrigued when someone from Appliances Online (now ao.com) told me that a user who searched on their site was around 300% more likely to convert compared to users who didn’t.
This is something that I’ve seen on my clients’ stores (overall performance varies) and I think search is an area that’s overlooked too often and underestimated. I don’t think people actually realise how valuable their search experience is and they don’t understand how it impacts user journey and conversion.
The default Magento search technology is known for being pretty poor out of the box, in terms of general flexibility and the product matching accuracy. However to counter this, there are lots of third party search solutions available, some of which are one-off-fee modules, some are SaaS based platforms and some are even free.
Depending on the nature of your products and the level of trade you do, you will have different requirements for site search – which is why I’ve created this resource outlining the key benefits and features of each solution.
Klevu is a very popular search solution for Magento and I’ve seen it perform well for a number of clients. One of the main selling points of Klevu is that it learns from queries and improves results over time. Klevu is free for stores with up to 1,000 SKUs which, for most SME stores, will be more than enough and you’ll find that features like dynamic filters and query reporting will be great for improving the overall customer experience. Klevu then has two paid options (Pro and Premium) – Pro is from £6 per month and increases depending on how many SKUs you have on your store. Premium starts from £399 per month and is more suited to larger merchants.
It is also a cloud-based search extension that is easy to integrate with Magento stores and offers many functional features such as trend mining and the ability to prioritise and promote certain products that will help make sure the search results include specific products you wish to highlight.
It uses Ajax based search functionality with a very impressive UI and it has advanced error handling features and the results are responsive.
Klevu also allows for customised product promotion in search results, which is a very cool feature.
I’d definitely recommend Klevu as one of the top search solutions for Magento merchants.
Algolia is my preferred search extension, just because it provides so many options around rich search and allows for a really quick and positive user experience. Algolia’s implementation on Jado Pado is a great example of rich search, as can be seen below.
Algolia is a relatively new company, but they’re growing really quickly and they’ve recently taken a really big round of investment, which they’ll be using to develop and market their product.
Algolia is very intuitive and extremely user friendly and the actual technology around queries and product matching is really impressive. Algolia’s main selling point is their real-time search – while users are entering their search query, Algolia updates and shows results in real time, providing super fast results (as per the Jado Pado example). This can be applied in the background or in a fly out box.
It is also very developer-friendly, it is easy to integrate and provides the option of 100% UI customisation. Algolia operates with a monthly subscription model of pricing, starting from $49/month.
Sphinx Search Ultimate
Sphinx Search Ultimate is another really popular search solution and it’s not difficult to see why it has garnered a large number of users across different types of ecommerce store. I’ve worked with a few merchants that have used Sphinx for search and they’ve all been really pleased with it.
One of the stand out features of Sphinx is the fact it provides search tips that provide hints to user who might not know how to spell the product they are searching for.
In addition to this, Sphinx Search Ultimate supports 10 languages, which is very useful for multi-language stores. It offers a highly customisable back-end experience that will help ecommerce managers to really focus on the search results they provide on their site and, in doing so, improve the conversion rate by providing targeted, relevant results that shoppers are looking for.
The speed of the extension is another key strength and it has fast searching algorithms which mean that if you have lots of products and category pages on your website and you want fast search results; Sphinx will produce accurate results at an impressive speed.
The SolrGento Magento extension integrates Magento’s search engine with Apache Solr, which increases the searching time up to 200 times compared to the built-in offering.
SolrGento also provides fast caching and amazing searching speed so even if you have in excess of 100,000 products for it to filter, it will not have any issues in providing search results quickly and accurately. Additionally, it has a very effective auto-correct and suggestion box in the event that someone misspells the product/category name. It’s extremely easy to set-up and integrate with Magento stores as well.
Though it is one of the more expensive Magento search extensions (priced at $750) it will provide highly effective search results quickly and efficiently and does represent value for money.
Prediggo Intelligent Search
As the name suggests, Prediggo Intelligent Search is an ‘intelligent search’ extension. In contrast to regular search extensions, Prediggo Intelligent Search extension analyses the behavior of the user, and predicts the most likely behavior and customizes the search results accordingly. It also offers advanced sorting and faceted navigation customisation capabilities in its innovative back office design.
Available in three solutions – Essentials, Enterprise search and Advanced search – Prediggo Intelligent Search will adapt the search to the user’s search history and also provides a number of features that will allow you to promote specific products or content.
Prediggo covers 3 core areas – product recommendations based on behaviour profiles, on-site search and navigation and personalisation. Merchandising is a key feature of this extension and although I’d generally suggest splitting out search and merchandising (unless you’re using one of the more enterprise-level solutions), this is convenient for smaller stores.
Prediggo also has all the functionality of the regular search extensions like auto-complete, search hints, correction of input errors etc.
Ajax Search and Autocomplete
If you are looking for a good quality search extension for a low price, Ajax Search and Autocomplete could be a good option.
Ajax Search, which uses AJAX to deliver recommendations, has an excellent autocomplete feature and it allows for a super fast experience. Suggested search results will be provided after the first few letters of a search query have been typed.
You can also control how the solution looks with options around the general look and feel and the search result thumbnails and images. It’s very quick and easy to install (via Connect) and boasts support for all major browsers.
Ajax Search can be purchased via Magento Connect for just $29.
Vubla Search Engine Site Search
Vubla Site Search claims that using their search extension can increase your store’s conversion rate by 30%, although I’ve never actually used it (was recommended by a developer I was working with). This statistic is based on using Vubla instead of the standard Magento search and the data comes from a number of a/b tests from using the two solutions.
Vubla describes itlsef as enterprise solr cloud search for Magento and it provides many useful features that will appeal to store owners such as “did you mean” recommendations, super fast searching, intelligent ranking algorithms and the ability to search your entire site, including non-product content, such as as blog posts, category pages etc.
Vubla is priced at $49 per month (same as Algolia), making it a good option for stores of all sizes.
Search by Ranges and Categories
The Amasty Search by Ranges and Categories extension allows users to search for products through ranges and categories, making it easier to drill down to a specific product.
Improving the accuracy of search through allowing for more information is the key selling point of this solution, although it’s also easy to install and simple to configure and it has the fairly standard features of most solutions such as auto-correction, spell-checking etc.
This extension is moderately priced at $149 (one-off fee).
There are lots of search extensions available for Magento, these are just some of the ones that I’ve used and some that have been recommended to me. In addition to these options, there are more enterprise-level options available as well, such as Attraqt, Peerius and SLI systems – all of which offer more than just site search.
I think all of the above provide big improvements on the existing Magento search, however it does definitely come down to individual requirements – for example I really like Algolia because it allows for a very impressive and quick user experience, but it doesn’t necessarily offer the deepest search filtering and it doesn’t have the same learning capabilities as some of the others.
If you think that there are extensions or solutions that I’ve missed, feel free to reference them in the comments below.