As ecommerce and tech enthusiasts we are always trying to dig something interesting in an endless web space. Internet is full of unappreciated stuff which we are going to survey and review in our blog. This time it is an ultimate report on 25 ecommerce search engines. The report is not unappreciated, but we couldn’t left it without our attention. In addition, you will find the list of ecommerce search engines and the best Magento solution for site search.
First of all, we should say a few words about the team behind the survey. 37signals is a team of web developers with a huge experience. Their portfolio includes such projects as Basecamp, Backpack, and Ta-da List. All these websites illustrates high professionalism, creativity, and the ability to think outside the box. But why did we pay attention to the report?
“Evaluating 25 E-Commerce Search Engines” provides a complete description of the most used ecommerce search engines. With the help of this report, end customers will find out what websites provide the most user-friendly search; ecommerce merchants will get the idea about what ecommerce search engines are able to generate more sales; web developers will face the unique approach to testing. Let’s see the key findings.
The specialists from 37signals found out that:
- 72% of the engines were not able to connect misspelled search terms with the actual products.
- 68% of the surveyed websites offered poor search result sorting options.
- 64% could not match mixed specification searches with the valid results.
- 56% weren’t able to provide an acceptable level of synonyms recognition.
- The same percent didn’t provide any help (or it was not enough) on “No Results Found” page.
- 92% of the surveyed search engines offered relevant results for error-free queries.
As you can see, the situation is far from ideal conditions when everything works and all the search queries lead to relevant results. But what are the leaders of the survey?
According to 37signals, top five ecommerce search engines are Lands’ End, Petco, Drugstore.com, KBToys.com, and L.L. Bean. This is how the report card looks like:
You can find the full report
Smashing Magazine also did a similar survey, but its results differ from the aforementioned ones a lot. You can check the alternative report
Table of contents
- 1 The Best eCommerce Search Engines
The Best eCommerce Search Engines
The above examples of top ecommerce sites illustrate how search engines can be implemented within different ecommerce projects. Below we’ve gathered best ecommerce software related to site search. If you are interested in ecommerce website development or just want to improve user experience of your online store, we recommend you to check the following software solutions. The below tools are universal, since they are aimed at different ecommerce platforms, but there are also solutions which works well with Magento websites (they are listed in the end of this post).
Enterprise Search Engines and Universal Solutions
Elasticsearch is one of the most popular search engines, used by the best ecommerce sites. Being based on Lucene Elasticsearch offers multitenant search capabilities. It utilizes schema-free JSON documents and RESTful web interface. As an ecommerce search engine, Elasticsearch provides real-time search. Moreover, the system is highly scalable. As your business grows, you just have to add a few more nodes to provide cluster with the ability to take advantage of the additional hardware. And you will be always surprised with Elasticsearch performance, because it is one of the fastest tools for ecommerce site search. Last but not the least is price. Elasticsearch is open source, so you can download and use it free of charge.
Apache Solr is another open source search platform based on Lucene. Like the aforementioned Elasticsearch Solr also offers such features as full-text search and real-time indexing and utilizes REST-like HTTP/XML and JSON APIs. This search engine supports highlighting, dynamic clustering, faceted search, integration with database, and NoSQL capabilities. In addition, you will get a rich document handling with the help of Solr. Another important aspect is a plugin architecture, which offers wide capabilities and additional customizations. Note, that Apache Solr is the most popular enterprise class search engine.
The below presentation illustrates the difference between Elasticsearch and Solr:
Sphinx is less popular than previous open source search servers, but it is still used by such top websites as Craigslist, Groupon, and Living Social. Sphinx provides rapid performance, top-notch search quality, and simple integration. This search engine works on all major platforms and systems. Sphinx is able to search both simple files and data in an SQL database or NoSQL storage. It offers lots of text processing features and supports customization. Thus, you can easily adjust it according to your specific requirements.
eCommerce Search Engines
Searchanise is a search engine designed with ecommerce websites in mind. It supports product previews and search suggestions as your customers type. Moreover, Searchanise provides a blazing fast performance. This ecommerce search engine finds relevant information in just 1 second. It is also necessary to mention ecommerce-specific features unavailable in a case of aforementioned solutions. Searchanise provides you with the ability to define stopwords and synonyms, show ads, and promote products within the search system. Unlike Elasticsearch, Solr, and Sphinx, this solution is paid. There is a free starter plan for 25 products only, but others require a monthly fee. For instance, $9 for store with 500 products and $54 for 100 thousand.
With Instant Search, you will provide your users with the ability to for text, images, and products within your ecommerce website. As a store owner, you will get detailed reports on what users are searching for and advanced ecommerce features, such as contextual product promotions and suggestions based on a store catalog. Another important feature of Instant Search is its cloud nature – the search engine doesn’t slow your website by loading its server. It even provides ecommerce search engine optimization features. Instant Search offers a free basic plan limited to 250 products and 500 searches per month. Solution for small businesses costs $19.99 per month. It is limited to 1,000 products and 1,000 monthly searches. The most robust plan offers 50,000 products and the same amount of searches. It costs $499.99 per month.
Fore owners of Ecwid ecommerce shops, we recommend to check CloudSearch. This search engine was designed for Ecwid only. It enhances default search capabilities with dynamic, real-time product search. CloudSearch for Ecwid offers such features as autosuggest and correct spelling. The solution has both free and paid plans. The last one is based on the amount of products.
Algolia is another search tool for ecommerce websites. It works with all major ecommerce platforms, providing 11 APIs and 4 mobile SDKs. It is fast, user friendly, and flexible. Moreover, Algolia is highly secure solution. It supports all languages out of box and provides as-you-type updated filters. There is even the ability to use geo-optimized search with Algolia. Last but not least is price. This search engine offers 3 plans: Starter ($49 per month); Growth ($229 per month); and Pro ($649 per month). There is also an enterprise solution with customizable features and floating rates.
Swiftype provides another reliable ecommerce search solution. It supports such features as autocomplete, faceted search, and spellcheck. With Swiftype, your customers will always able to find goods they are looking for. As a store owner, you will get real-time search analytics and customer search result ranking. Swiftype provides separate plans for businesses and individuals. Entrepreneurs can choose between Business ($249 per month) and Enterprise (floating rates) solutions. In their turn, individuals are offered Free and Pro ($19 per month) plans.
Searchly offers a cloud based solution for ecommerce search. It means that you don’t need to deal with complex installation procedures or server management to implement this tool within your website. Since Searchly is entirely based on ElasticSearch, it offers flexibility, real-time response, robust analytics engine, and open source capabilities. With the help of this service, you will provide your customers with advanced search options. At the same time, Searchly will give you all the information necessary for understanding customer needs.
Amazon offers enhanced search capabilities for websites and apps with CloudSearch. Since this service is run in the AWS Cloud, you can set it up without any problems. Moreover, Amazon CloudSearch is cost-effective, because it charges no set-up fees or upfront commitments – you pay for what you use. Core features of Amazon CloudSearch include multilingual support (34 languages), autocomplete, faceted search, highlighting, geospatial search, etc.
SearchBlox is another powerful solution for website search. It supports location-based search, time and data filters, provides faceted search results, and offers custom alerts triggered by information. SearchBlox is mobile friendly and has deep analytics capabilities. Free edition supports up to 25,000 files. Enterprise edition costs $5,000 per year and provides unlimited search opportunities.
eCommerce Search Solutions for Magento
There are a lot of different search tools for Magento. You can find both free and paid solutions with all possible features, but Elastic, Sphinx, and Solr always were among top tools, and they are still in front of all counterparts. In this post – The Best Magento Extensions For Improved Catalog Search – we’ve gathered the best Magento extensions, which will help you with search improvements within your ecommerce store. In addition, you will find extensions designed for the integration of search solutions, platforms and tools mentioned above.
If you think that some of the important search platforms and tools are missed, let us know in comments.