Would you like to improve the product search in your WooCommerce shop?
WooCommerce has a built-in search function, but it's not very good at finding products. Replacing it with a smarter, faster search improves the user experience and generates more revenue.
In this article we will show you how to do a smart WooCommerce product search for your online store.
Why should you add a WooCommerce smart product search to your store?
WooCommerce has an integrated product search function as standard, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
It does not look for matches in product attributes, ratings, custom fields, or descriptions. It's also very slow and doesn't provide a good user experience.
This means that users cannot find the products they are looking for and you lose potential sales.
Fortunately, there are some excellent WooCommerce product search plugins that can help you out. This allows you to see more helpful product search results, get them faster, and get more product sales.
Let's take a look at how you can easily add a WooCommerce smart product search feature to your online store.
Method 1. Better WooCommerce Product Search using Ajax Search for WooCommerce
This method is easier and is recommended for most store owners.
For this tutorial, we are using the Pro version of Ajax Search for WooCommerce, the best WooCommerce product search plugin on the market.
It searches for the keywords you are looking for in all of your product fields, including custom fields. The plugin can also display results without reloading a page, and it's considerably faster than standard WooCommerce search.
There is also a free version of this plugin, but it doesn't have all of the powerful features.
First you need to install and activate the Ajax Search for WooCommerce plugin. For more information, see our step-by-step guide on installing a WordPress plugin.
Once activated, you need to click on the "Ajax Search for WooCommerce" menu in the WordPress administrator sidebar to enter your license key. You can find this information under your account on the plugin website.
Then you can visit them WooCommerce »Ajax Search Bar Page for configuring the plugin settings. Just switch to the Search Bar tab to get started.
Here you can choose the appearance of your search field. You can show and hide the button, change the name of the search button, and replace the placeholder text.
The plugin starts pulling and displaying product results as soon as users start typing. You can customize how many products to show and how to show instant results.
Just go to the Autocomplete tab and review the options available. If you are not sure, you can leave them as they are. The default settings work for most online stores.
Next you need to go to the search configuration page. From here you can tell the plugin which areas should be shown when searching for a match.
You can check out all of the options if you want. You can also choose custom fields to include in the search.
Finally, the plugin also includes fuzzy matches. This essentially includes products that may or may not match exactly what users are looking for, but not exactly. We recommend keeping this setting at Normal for more relevant and helpful results.
Don't forget to click the "Save Changes" button to save all of your settings.
Display your WooCommerce product search on your website
With Ajax Search for WooCommerce you have three options to add the product search box to your WooCommerce store.
- You can add it to your store's navigation menu.
- Show it in the sidebar with a widget
- Manually add it to a shop page using the shortcode
Adding the WooCommerce product search to the navigation menu
Users are likely looking for the search option near your top navigation menu. The plugin makes it easy to place the product search there.
Just go to Appearance »Menus Page. Make sure your current navigation menu is selected, then add the "AJAX search bar" to your navigation menu.
Don't forget to click the "Save Menu" button to save your settings.
You can now visit your store to see the product search that has been added to your website's navigation menu.
Adding the WooCommerce product search to the sidebar widget
The sidebar is also a popular place to view the product search option.
Just go to the Appearance »Widgets Page and add the AJAX Search Bar widget to your sidebar.
Optionally, you can enter a title and select a layout for your search field in the widget settings.
Don't forget to click the "Save" button to save your widget settings.
You can now visit your store and see the search box in your sidebar.
Adding the WooCommerce product search with shortcode
If you have a custom landing page for your shop page or product catalog, you may want to include a product search on that particular page or post.
The plugin comes with a shortcode that allows you to do this easily. Just edit the post or page you want to display the search box on.
On the edit screen, click the Add New Block (+) button and paste the shortcode block. Within the shortcode block you can simply enter the following shortcode:
(wcas search form)
Don't forget to publish, save or update your post / page.
You can now visit that particular page or post to see the search box on the page that appears there.
Method 2. Creating a smarter WooCommerce search with SearchWP
This method is intended for store owners who also have a lot of non-product content and want a better search experience for all of their content.
SearchWP is the best WordPress search plugin out there and it also includes a WooCommerce addon that you can use to improve WooCommerce product search as well.
The advantage of SearchWP is that it also indexes your blog posts and landing pages.
The downside is that the instant search feature doesn't show product thumbnails in the results. As a store owner, you want a more visual search to reach your customers instantly.
First you have to install and activate the SearchWP plugin. For more information, see our step-by-step guide on installing a WordPress plugin.
Note: You need at least the PRO plan to access the WooCommerce integration.
After activation you have to visit the Settings »SearchWP Page and switch to the License tab to enter your license key.
Next you need to install and activate the WooCommerce Integration Extension. You can download it from your account area on the SearchWP website and install it like any other WordPress plugin.
You are now ready to set up your custom SearchWP search engine.
Just go to Settings »SearchWP Click the Sources and Settings button.
This will bring up a pop-up asking you to make sure the box next to the products is checked.
Then click the "Done" button to close the pop-up and scroll to the "Products" section.
By default, the plugin checks the product title, content (description), slug and excerpt (short description) for matches. You can expand this by clicking the Add / Remove Attributes button.
This will bring up a pop-up for you to check if there are reviews or choose custom fields and taxonomies. We added color and size in the custom fields and product categories, and product tags in the taxonomies.
You can now go ahead and click the "Save Engines" button to save your settings. Your search index will then be rebuilt in the background.
SearchWP automatically searches for your WooCommerce or WordPress search forms and replaces them. Your WooCommerce theme may already have an option to show the search option.
You can go to your website to try out the search feature. You'll find it slows down and the page reloads to show the search results.
You can change this behavior by downloading the Live Search extension from the SearchWP website. Once downloaded, you can install and activate it like any other WordPress plugin.
After activation you can just go Appearance »Widgets Page and add the SearchWP Live Search widget to your sidebar.
Don't forget to click the "Save" button to save your widget settings.
After that, you can visit your website to see your WooCommerce smart search in action. You will find that SearchWP shows products in live search results, but without product thumbnails.
Which is the best WooCommerce product search plugin?
Ajax Search for WooCommerce and SearchWP are both good at finding products that your standard WooCommerce search can't show.
However, Ajax Search for WooCommerce is faster and offers a better user experience. A faster search function in an e-commerce shop ultimately leads to more sales.
It's also easier to use and you wouldn't have to install multiple addons to create a better product search on your website.
We hope this article has helped you learn how to easily do a smart WooCommerce product search for your online store. You might also want to see our picks of the best WooCommerce plugins to use to grow your business and our comparison of the best business phone services to add a virtual phone number to your website.
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