November 2017 -

Monthly Archives: November 2017

Customising search terms in Magento 2

Posted on November 15, 2017 by

Introduction to Magento 2 Search

Magento 2 search can sometimes be suboptimal when more than one search term is used. Your initial reaction might be that the search engine isn’t very good. However, using data collected from the Magento 2 admin and using some experience, the platform offers some great flexibility to customise and therefore optimise search results. The end result can be a much better user experience for your site visitors and hopefully a better conversion rate. To find out more, read on.

Considerations

Before we dive in, there are some key considerations before you start trying to customise your search within M2.

Understanding user behaviour

Offsite search

First, we need to take a step back from the M2 website under consideration and look at how the visitors arrive at your website in the first place. If you are using Paid Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation for organic search, then the ‘searching’ has most likely been done BEFORE the visitor arrives at your website. Hopefully, they’ve landed on the right page to meet their needs. In other words, these users are arriving at the website on the product page they are looking for. As such, Magento search is less critical to this type of user. What is critical is ensuring you have a good Digital Marketing strategy to ensure these potential buyers are finding your products through search and landing right where they need to in order to purchase.

Onsite search

Everyone else that lands on your site, through more generic search terms or through your efforts to promote your business and products/services, may be better considered a ‘browser’. They land on your site because they are interested in what you have to offer but might not have a specific product or service in mind. This is the main target audience for optimising your on-site Magento search terms.

We’ll get into a specific example shortly. For now, I’ll show you how to find where you customise search terms in the site admin. So, when you are logged into your M2 admin, click on the Marketing tab and then under SEO & Search you will see ‘Search Terms’ – as highlighted in the image below. Select this option and it will take you through to the Search Terms page.

Menu path to select search customisation

 

The Search Terms page in the Magento 2 admin

When you select the option above it will open the Search Terms page, as shown below.

Magento 2 search screen

The purpose of this page is two-fold. First of all, it’s where all your user intelligence is to be found in terms of what people have searched for on your website. This is actual, real-world data and therefore a potential gold mine in terms of understanding users search behaviour. This page will show you the most recent search queries, how many results that query received and how many times it’s been used. You can filter the data by Uses so that the most frequently used search terms are shown at the top. Not only can you see popular search terms you can also see mis-spellings and other such data which you can use to provide a better visitor experience. There are two key opportunities here;

Mis-spellings

Within the search queries used, you may find things like common mis-spellings or people searching using singular (eg. fridge) when your products are only listed in their plural form (e.g. fridges), and vice versa. This is your opportunity to catch these and redirect them to the actual search results (products) they were looking for rather than no results which can be frustrating and result in visitors leaving your website.

Products or Brands you don’t stock

If visitors are searching for products or brands you don’t carry, rather than give them zero results in the search, redirect them to a Magento landing page that can offer them alternatives. This would be like going the extra mile if you were face to face with the customer. It shows understanding, great customer service and may result in a sale when otherwise the visitor would have just moved on.

Creating Your Custom Search

Here’s an example below of how the search term ‘black fridge’ returns unexpected results. Because we have two words in the search, Magento treats these as mutually exclusive. So, in this case, ‘black’ is being weighted higher than ‘fridge’. So items in the database that are ‘black’ are being listed above those that are ‘fridges’, the search terms are not being used collectively because that’s not how the search works in Magento. This makes sense if you think about it but also, Magento has provided loads of customisation options, which is the purpose of this blog post of course. It should also be noted that you can also ‘weight’ product attributes in Magento in order to optimise search too – that however is outside of the scope of this article.

To deliver better results for this search term we can set up a custom search term within the M2 admin. More on this below.

Search results for black fridge before

Having determined that this search terms doesn’t work as we’d like it to, we can add this as a search term in the admin as described. In order to do this, we need to determine a destination URL so that we can effectively override the search and direct that specific term to a specific page. Below I’ve selected the ‘Fridges’ category from the main site navigation. Then I’ve used the search filter on the left to select just the black fridges. This sends me to the page URL as shown below. Copy this URL to your clipboard and then we will use it to set up our custom search.

 

Filtered search for black fridges

 

If you now go back to the site admin you can create a New Search, this will display the following information. All we need to do is add the search query (in this case black fridge), select the Store View we want this search to apply to, and then add the redirect URL which we copied above. Click save. Please note that if the search query already exists in the database you will need to search for this on this page and then edit it – this only applies if you get a message to say that your search term already exists. As mentioned above, you can also set up a custom search for products or brands that you don’t carry. So if there’s a brand you don’t carry but you have some great alternatives – redirect that search term to a Magento landing page suggesting alternatives. You may make a sale when otherwise the visitor is just going to leave and go somewhere else. It’s also a great opportunity to share your knowledge with your visitors because you may have a much better alternative, this is your opportunity to say why.

add new custom search term

If you now go back to the main website and carry out the same search as before, you will get the results as shown below. Perfect!

customised search for black fridge search term

Search Synonyms

Search synonyms in Magento 2 is another way to customise search. This is a way to link related search terms but only applies to single words. If you have a single word search term that is commonly misspelt, you can link these by creating a Synonym. You do this by creating a list of words, separated by commas. When anyone searches for any of these words, they will all be linked to the same search results. These are especially useful for single search terms that can be misspelt. For anything else, there are the custom search options above.

How to Video

Here’s a video with a step by step guide that shows you how to do everything I’ve talked about above.

In summary

Successful websites are as much about the experience as they are your products and services. You want to get your visitors to what they want quickly and with as little friction as possible. This is why Magento 2 has these really useful features that allow you to fine-tune your visitors’ search experience. Now you know how this works it’s well worth spending time regularly, fine-tuning this part of your website.


How to Overcome Black Friday Chaos

Posted on November 8, 2017 by

 

The 24th November is right around the corner, so if you haven’t started to plan your Black Friday marketing campaign yet, you’d better start now. The biggest event in retail is here in a couple of weeks, so now’s the time to make sure you really satisfy your customers on Black Friday, even if you are a small commerce business.

If you are not quite sure how to start creating a successful Black Friday marketing campaign, we’ve got some tips which can guide you through the process.

Revise the data from previous year

Revise what you did last year. Check which promotions worked well, which products made the biggest profit and which keywords were the most searched for. Were your customers mostly women? Or teens? Avid golfers? Whoever your target market is, make sure you specifically target them in your Black Friday marketing campaign.

Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring your website’s performance, and the standard version is free for businesses to use. Speak to one of our digital marketing specialists to find out more about how Google Analytics can help your business.

Email Marketing Campaigns

Get your Black Friday email marketing campaigns ready. People will receive hundreds of emails during the build-up to and on Black Friday so you have to make sure your email stands out. Make it clear and catchy.

Subject lines – try to think of a subject line that will capture the recipient’s attention. This has to reflect the content of your email. If you are sending out an email about the new HP printers being half priced you don’t want to say ‘Win the brand new iPhone 8’ just to encourage people to click on it. Information like this is spam, and will encourage people to unsubscribe. Make sure the information you are sharing is relevant and beneficial to the recipient and add some creativity.

Use personalisation – people like to see they are valued customers. If John keeps buying protein shakes every month, let him know when they are on offer.

Email doesn’t have to be just plain text – the era of plain text emails is over. You can now get creative and make your emails engaging. For example, use GIFs – they are a great way to engage with customers.

Social Media

Companies use social media to boost brand awareness and communicate with customers. Make sure your social media content is rich. Whatever promotion you send out in an email campaign, don’t forget to share it on social media too. All of these different avenues come together to form a cohesive marketing campaign, which delivers a clear and consistent message.

Many companies have now connected their e-commerce stores to their social media accounts, encouraging customers to share your products and services, helping to boost brand awareness and advertise your business.

Invest more in ads

Many purchases on your website will come from a search on Google, so it’s important to make yourself more visible around Black Friday.

If you’re not using it yourself, you’ve probably at least heard of PPC, paid search or Google AdWords. They’re the results at the top of Google with the little green ‘ad’ next to them. PPC is a great way to get your business in front of your potential customers. Make your ads pop up after people search for products similar to yours and enable your ads to reach out to more people. You can target people in certain cities or regions, or even up to a certain distance from your store. What’s more, you only pay once they actually click on your ad.

You can also advertise on social media. For example, if you’ve got a number of customers following you on Facebook and Twitter, make sure you boost your posts to reach more people. You don’t have to spend a fortune, even a small amount like £50 can get you thousands of impressions! You can be in total control of your advertising by choosing how much you want to spend and how long you want the campaign to last for.

Make sure your website is ready for Black Friday

According to IMRG, the UK’s industry association for e-retail, online spend on Black Friday 2016 was £1.23bn which was 12.2% more than in 2015. More people shopped online than in stores which means that your website has to be ready to handle a lot of traffic. Some tips on how to prepare for high traffic:

Cache your website content
The content on your website can be either static or dynamic. Static content is cacheable and dynamic content is uncacheable. Make sure you cache everything you can. Images, CSS, JavaScript or large objects like downloads have an impact on the speed of your website if they are not cached.

No more error messaging
If your customers are in the middle of purchasing products and the page is taking a while to load, they certainly don’t want to see ‘an error message’ popping up! This will convey a negative site experience, and potentially put them off making the purchase altogether. Instead, think about how could you make the waiting time a bit less painful. For example, you could use a gif that appears while the page loads – if it’s something funny they might not even realise they are waiting slightly longer than usual.

Magento 1.x updates stopping

Mobile responsiveness is key

More people are switching laptops for phones or tables. Shopping on a smartphone is very convenient and quick. However, there are some companies that still haven’t optimised their websites for mobiles. Make sure your customers have a chance to shop faster, make your website fully responsive this holiday season!

Make it longer than a day

Although Black Friday is a one-day event, the past few years showed that companies were offering discounted products longer than that. Customers now expect to see sales from the beginning of the week. Last year data from the UK’s industry association for e-retail IMRG shows that £6.45bn was spent over the Black Friday peak period (Monday 21 – Monday 28 November 2016). This doesn’t mean you should put your whole store on sale for a week, but do think about it strategically – maybe start the week off with 10% off Monday, 20% off Tuesday leading to a big sale on Friday.

Smooth returns

It’s happened to all of us. You really want to buy something but as soon as you do, you are not that sure anymore and simply want to return it. Especially during Black Friday, people will often purchase items based on their price and then regret their decision. Make sure the process of returning items is as smooth as the buying process.

Also, don’t forget that your return policy has to be in a visible place on your site. Consider placing it not only in your terms and conditions, but also under the product description or in the shopping cart.

Last but not least – don’t forget about your employees

Events like Black Friday and the Christmas period can be very stressful for employees. Showing them appreciation doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Bring some snacks and drinks at the end of the day and let them know you wouldn’t be able to do this without them – it’s the little things that count!

 

If you need some help with creating your Black Friday marketing campaign, make sure you Contact Us today.


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