It starts with search: How Shopify theme features can improve product discovery

It starts with search: How Shopify theme features can improve product discovery

Out of the Sandbox’s Turbo 3.0 Shopify theme added a great new feature — predictive store search — which, combined with navigation, is a great way to make your products easier to find.

Turbo's predictive search feature leverages Shopfiy's existing search feature and can be used in both the search box in your site header or a search section on the homepage

Shopify theme autocomplete search

In addition to the predictive search feature, however, Turbo comes packed with other valuable Shopify theme features that can be leveraged to create a cohesive search and navigation strategy to help ensure customers find — and buy — exactly what they want.

Related items

Related items in Shopify

No matter how a user finds a particular product, showing related products can be a great way to both promote other products and help the shopper find the right item.

For example, not only can related items be used to spotlight additional accessories or components for the products you sell, it’s also a great way to get users pointed in the right direction if the product page they land on isn’t quite what they are looking for.

The related items feature is available in all Out of the Sandbox themes and can also be used without the predictive search feature. It is simply a matter of enabling the “Show related products” checkbox in the product page settings.

Recently viewed items

Enabling Turbo’s recently viewed items Shopify theme feature can be another key component of a search and navigation strategy.

Since it automatically keeps a “running list” of the items a shopper has looked at, this feature is a great way to create a sort of search log for shoppers.

This feature can be particularly useful if a shopper is unsure of what they are looking for or are comparing items in your store since it allows them to quickly flip back to items of interest.

In Turbo, recently viewed items can be configured to display on product pages in a grid or slider format below the main product description area, and they can also be enabled in the sidebar. You as the merchant can also set a limit as to how many of these recently viewed products are displayed.

Pro tip: Search links

Shopify search

Another way to help users locate the best products is to link directly to search results pages with the query prefilled.

Adding this to everything from page content, product descriptions, collection descriptions and blog posts is a good alternative technique that can be useful for directing users to either broad or tightly defined search results.

For example, a product description might contain the text “diamond ring” and you might want to let users click it to search your site for that string.

Search URLs

To do this, simply use Shopify’s built in link tool to turn the text into a link that points to a URL using this pattern: /search?type=product&q=search%20string.

This example string will only search products with the keywords “search string” — which you can replace with your own text. Note that “%20” is used in place of spaces in the URL. You can also search all content on your site using this URL pattern: /search?type=all&q=search%20string.

Also keep in mind that the linked text doesn’t necessarily need to match the search query, making it ideal for pointing users to alternative names.

For example, you could link the term “diamond ring” to the search URL /search?type=product&q=cubic%20zirconia to help point users to the alternative search term “cubic zirconia.”

Another pro tip: Wildcards

You can also add an asterisk to your search query URLs to force a “wildcard” search that can deliver better results. /search?type=all&q=search*%20string*.

Shopify search wildcards

In this example URL, by placing the wildcard asterisk after both the words “search” and “string,” searches can be broadened to include variations of both words — such as “searching,” “searcher” and “searched” for the latter (these terms match because they all start with “search.”

Wildcards can be added to one or all words in a search URL.

In addition, it’s worth noting that Turbo 3.0 automatically appends the asterisk to the end of search queries to help improve matches and the predictive search results.

Both the search link and wildcard tricks, like related products, will also work on all Out of the Sandbox Shopify themes and should work in most other themes as well.



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