ShopSite Tip – Fixing Failed Searches

Getting customers to your website is one of the most difficult things to do when running an online store, so don’t risk losing them once they arrive because they can’t find a product on your store – especially if it’s one you carry!

Enable Search Logging

If it’s not already enabled, turn on “Enable Search Logging” on the Preferences > Search Settings > Search Logging > Search Log Config screen in ShopSite.  It’s most likely already set to save history for 30 days, but you can adjust that setting on the same screen.  30 days allows you to build up some history, but you don’t want to track this for too long as when you make changes the old data isn’t accurate anymore.

Enable Search Logging

Enable Search Logging

If search logging was disabled, run a few test searches on your store after you turn it on.  Search for a mixture of items you carry, and random words that bring up no search results.  This gives you data to view in the next steps.

Weekly Summary

You can view a weekly summary of popular search terms on the Preferences > Search Settings > Search Logging screen.  The report will list the date, number of searches, and top terms with and without results.

Search Logging Summary

Search Logging Summary

This screen helps with an overview of your customer’s search trends, but what we really want to see is detail – so click the “Search Details” button on that same screen.

Failed Searches

The Search Details screen allows you to filter results for certain time frames, search terms, and search results.  Our goal here is to help our customers find the products they can’t find, so let’s view a list of recent Failed Searches.

Search Details

Search Details

Set the following  values:

Date Range: Select – 7 Days
Show only searches that contain: *
Display: Failed Searches

Then click Show Searches to view the results.  The screenshot on the right shows a sample of these settings as well as results.

How Does This Help?

These results can tell us a variety of things about our customers and what they may be looking for or trying to do that as a store owner we have not thought of.

Do you see someone searching for “Red Wagon” but you only sell blue wagons on your store?  You could start stocking red ones and see how the sales go.

If you sell items with certain sizes, especially something measured in feet (ft / ‘) or inches (in / “) how are people searching for them?  You may find that you sell a “4-ft Table” but people are searching for “4 foot” or “4ft”.  In ShopSite Pro you can add those extra search terms to the product’s “Search Keywords” field so it will still appear in search results.  ShopSite Manager does not have a search keywords field, but you could still add them to the end of the More Info Text field so they are indexed by the search system.

Watch out for plurals!   Do you see “paint brushes” on a list of failed searches, but you actually sell them?  Unless you sell a set of multiple brushes you probably don’t have the phrase “paint brushes” anywhere on a product, just “paint brush”.  Add the plural version “paint brushes” to the Search Keywords field for those products so if a customer accidentally searches for the plural version your products will appear.

Now we’re not suggesting that you monitor these results on a daily basis, but it wouldn’t hurt to check them every so often.  You could plan it as a weekly or monthly task to check failed searches and review the stats for the most popular issues that may be simple to solve.  That small amount of time could help you gain sales making it more than worth the time!

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