While most customers will find what they are looking for on your website through your menus and the product filters on your catalog pages, some customers may want to bypass all of that and just use the search bar to get exactly what they want.

(example search bar):

By default our search bar shows broad results AND partial matches, since we found that many users would leave websites if 0 results for their search were returned. 

However, you can customize how the search bar on your website works via the admin to make it behave how you would like. 

To access the search bar editing, log into your admin and click "Settings", "Catalog". Once you've done that, there should be a button at the top that says "Test Search". Click that.

When you click that, you'll now see a test search page where you can see exactly what results a customer will see when they search for something on your site. Type in a search into the "Search Query" field, then click "Search" and it will show you actual results from your website for whatever you typed in. Try a few searches and see if you like what is showing up. If it all looks good then you are done, but if you want to adjust the search behavior and results then read on.

There are 4 different parameters you can adjust that will change how the search behaves on your site. As you edit them, we encourage you to run the same search query each time so that you can see what changes with the search results.

The four things you can change are:
Search Mode

Minimum Rank

Search Weights

Minimum Stock # similarity

Search Mode has two choices: Show results for any term, or Only show results for all terms.

  • If you have it set to Only show results for all terms, then that means items must have all of those terms in the search to show up. For example, someone searching for 'diamond engagement ring' will only see results with all three of those words in the item. They will not see any "engagement rings" that do not also have the word 'diamond' in them.
  • If you select Show results for any term, then that means they will see results for partial matches. If someone searches for "gold pendants" then they will see items with "pendant" in them, even if they are not gold. It will also show items that are "gold", but may not be pendants. You can use the other settings, like Minimum Rank, to help make this how you want it.

Minimum Rank is where you can set a threshold for what partial results you want shown when someone conducts a search. When you use the Search Query you will see results with a score of 0.0-1.0 next to each result, with the highest scoring results always showing first. 1.0 would be an exact match, and the highest threshhold. 0.0 would be to show everything that is partial. How you can use this is by running a search (let's say Gold Pendants) and seeing what items score as. In my test search for this article I used gold pendants. Items that were pendants and had "gold" in their description showed up first, and showed scores in the .220 range. I liked those results. Clicking on the furthest back page (since those are the lowest score items)- they just had "gold" in their description, but were not pendants. Their scores were much lower- .007 and such. So I changed the threshhold to .15 and ran the search again- that would exclude all items that are scored below .15 from my results. This time it was only showing Pendants, but some of them did not have "gold" in their description. I could leave it like that, or if I wanted to refine it further, I could bump the number up to .2, which would then only show items that have both "gold" and "pendant" in their name. Use this to adjust the search to match how you want it to behave, as different businesses want it to behave differently.

Search Weights is a way to adjust which fields you consider most important. This is an advanced feature that most sites will not need or use, but is available. On the test search page you should see fields for D, C, B, and A. We rank A (stock number) as the most important. Then the fields for B, then C, with D being the lowest valued. That is because if someone searches for "Gold Pendant", we think that the item type Pendant (rank B) is more important than the material type of gold (rank D). If you want to adjust how the DBCA fields are weighted, you can add in numbers here to do that. To do that, you need to provide 4 numbers, each separated by a comma. And the numbers should be between 0.0 and 1.0 (with 1.0 ranking those fields at the most important. The first field is for D, the 2nd is for C, the third is for B, and the 4th is for A. So for example, if we felt we wanted Stock number (A) to be less important than B, then we would just want the 4th number to be lower. This number would mean "D is the lowest, then C, B is the highest value/weight, and A is the 2nd highest": 0.1,0.2,0.8,0.6. Again, most people will not need this advanced feature, but it is available.

Minimum Stock # similarity is a way to let you customize what is shown when someone searches for a stock number. The value here should be between 0.3 (lowest) and 1.0 (highest). 1.0 would require an EXACT match for stock number searches. If they left out a dash, for example, or added a space or an extra letter/number, then 0 results would be shown at 1.0. A 0.3 is the lowest threshold for stock number searches, so it will show a larger pool of matches, even if only a few letters overlap. Try picking a few stock numbers and running tests, then you can select what threshold you like for stock number searches. We do not recommend 1.0- it is better to show some results rather than none.

With these tools you can customize what customers see when they use the product search on your website. Please contact our support team at support@thinkspacehq.com if you have questions.