As e-commerce websites exploded across the digital landscape in the mid 90s with the launch of both Ebay and Amazon. Moves were made to attempt to create solutions for the problems, or issues, these websites now created for their would be customers. For instance, retail companies Wayfair and NetShops are founded with the concept of selling products through several targeted domains, rather than a central portal which was the common practice at that time in the early 00s. This is exactly what happened when Shopify was created. Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake took to the internet to begin selling snowboarding equipment by opening a store called Snowdevil, mainly because the e-commerce websites or platforms that existed at the time didn't provide satisfactory solutions. Being a computer programmer himself, Tobias Lütke took it upon himself to build an e-commerce platform that would cater to his, and people like him, needs. So in 2004, Snowdevil was born, a couple years later the e-commerce platform that hosted it was launched as Shopify. In some ways coming full circle as the niche solution that its founders wanted initially.
Brief History of Shopify
From that, Shopify has worked to be one of the best e-commerce platforms in operation. In 2009, Shopify created their very own application programming interface (API), which allowed for applications specific to Shopify
to be sold on their App Store - quite a huge development. In addition the very next year in 2010, they went even further by bringing Shopify to mobile devices, by adding a Shopify app to the Apple App Store. This solution was simple, the idea was that from there, digital business owners were able to view and manage their Shopify stores from their favorite devices. But what truly put Shopify over the top was how the platform interacted with the point of sale (POS) for ecommerce. Shopify removed the necessity of third party payment gateways, by implementing Shopify payments. This allowed merchants on the platform to bypass them in 2013. The aforementioned Amazon, had a hand to play in the growth of Shopify when in 2015, it was announced that Shopify was their 'preferred migration provider,' in the aftermath of Amazon's Web Store closure. This is very important as Amazon had become a behemoth with thousands, if not millions, of merchants who needed their collective services met. In 2017, in addition to announcing their direct Amazon integration capabilities, Shopify began producing iPads with a point of sale system, a bluetooth enabled debit and credit card reader that directly accepts debit and credit card payments and a tappable chip card reader. This iPad POS is still used daily by physical business establishments every day, especially those on the smaller side without large-scale POS systems. But with so many businesses on Shopify would it make sense for the average digital business owner to join. The short answer is yes. With so much power in a singular platform, moving an e-commerce business to Shopify is simple, however, creating an impression that would engage potential consumers is the hard part. This would be where customizing shopify search
would be important. It is widely known that as powerful and empowering a resource as Shopify is for digital business owners, its default search system needs work in order to function properly for every business to convert their fair share of visitors to their respective digital storefronts.
In a perfect world, when the user does a search, Shopify should send the search phrase to the server. The business would then generate an ordered list of product matches and return that list to shopify. Shopify would then present the products to the user, exactly as if the products were found by shopify using the internal shopify search engine. However, that is not how Shopify search options works so it needs to be adjusted in order to be effective for business owners. This could be done in several ways: creating a custom search engine within Shopify and customizing the search results for the user among other possible solutions. Each technique has several steps for the digital business owners to take in order to deliver the optimal results.
Tips For Improving The Shopify Search
In order to create a custom search engine, the business owner would need to go to www.google.com/cse and press the 'create a custom search engine button' to start the process. If the digital business owner already has one or more search engines already associated with their Google account, they can just click the 'add' button to make another. The digital business owner should then enter one or more websites that they would like to search in the appropriate field and then press the 'create' button. Next, they should click on the 'look and feel' link in the left-hand navigation. The digital business owner should select the layout and theme they want, or use customize to overwrite the colors from the themes. A preview appears in the right-hand column. If they are happy with the search, they should click the 'Save & Get Code' button. They should copy the code that appears in the gray box and embed it anywhere on their website. They could also add a new search page or add a search bar to the sidebar. This should allow people visiting the digital business owner website to type or speak into the newly created search bar the product names or descriptions that make a search results page. Subsequently, giving the website visitors the ability to bypass potentially hundreds of products to get to the one product they visited that particular website for.
Why Should Shopify Search Results Be Customized?
To make it even easier for their visitors, digital business owners on Shopify might opt to create customized Shopify search results for visitors. But why should that be even considered? Although the default settings are already available, customizing search results can lead to visitors being exposed to products that they might miss if they are searching something specific. The tool that can help digital business owners customize their Shopify search results is called 'search. liquid'. By editing their theme code, digital business owners can control what shows up on their results pages and what doesnt. Using the 'type' parameter, they have three options to dictate what appears when a visitor to their store types in the search bar. These three options are: Article - that contains results only include articles that match, Page - which features only include pages that match and Product - which results only contain products that match. This parameter can include more than one of the three options listed above. For example, a search can consist of 'product, article' to have results that only contain products and articles that match. This would then leave out any pages that would match what the visitor searched for. It could also be helpful for the digital business owners to customize search results to take into account unavailable products. By using 'unavailable-products' in their theme code digital business owners could change the search results for product availability with these three options: Hide - results are sorted by relevance and unavailable products are hidden, Last - unavailable products are listed last under the products that are available and relevant and Show - results are sorted by relevance. The default setting for unavailable products is the 'last' option. If digital business owners want to customize it, they should use one of the other options in 'search.liquid'. It might be preferable, for the digital business owner, to apply partial word matches to search results. This means that the search results will include what was searched, as well as attempt to complete the last word of the search query. This is to give visitors more search results that might interest them as well as expose them to other products they otherwise would not have seen. Digital business owners can customize search results with partial word matches by using the prefix option in their themes code. There are two options that are normally available for the digital business owners: Last - partial word matches yield results for last search term and None - partial word matches are turned off. The default setting for Shopify search results is 'none' but can be customized by adding a hidden field within 'search.liquid'.
Having the ability to customize their stores search results allows digital business owners to dictate what visitors see when they search on their website. By customizing by type, availability, and partial word matches, digital business owners can create tailored results that could beef up their Shopify business and show off the products or services that they have to their potential customers.