Managing search preferences

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This topic describes how to manage search preferences.

Prerequisites

To start working with search preferences, go to Merchandising > Search Preferences section.

When adding a search preference, the Attribute Key value is taken from the Product Attributes > Specific Attribute entity. Make sure that you are populating the field with an existing attribute key of an attribute assigned to a product; otherwise, the search result will be blank in the online store.

Review the reference information before you start, or just look up the necessary information as you go through the process.

To create a new attribute to search, do the following:

  1. In the top right corner of the Search Preferences page, click Add attribute to search.
  2. On the Add attribute to search page, enter the attribute key and (optionally) specify “Yes” or “No” for search preference types.
  3. Click Save.
  4. On the Search Preferences page, click Synchronize search preferences for your changes to take effect.

This creates a new non-super attribute and registers it in the system, so your customers will be able to find products with this attribute in the online store if you enable search preference types for it.

Editing search preferences

To edit a search preference:

  1. In the Search Preferences table, find an attribute you want to change the search preferences for.
  2. In the Actions column of the attribute, click Edit .
  3. On the Edit search preferences page, you can define how the attribute will behave for search by specifying Yes or No for the Full text, Full text boosted, Suggestion terms, or Completion terms fields.
  4. Click Save.
  5. On the Search Preferences page, click Synchronize search preferences for your changes to take effect.

Reference information

This section describes attributes you see and enter when creating new attributes to search and editing search preferences.

There is a set of search preferences’ types that you can specify for your attribute key. All of those types possess different features.

Full text

Full text implies that, if set to Yes, the attributes will be included for full-text search. It means that a user will be able to find products when they search for a text which is present in the value of a searchable attribute.

Example The focus_adjustment attribute key has the following values:

  • Auto
  • Auto/Manual

If Include for full text is set to Yes for this attribute, then, when typing any of the values of this attribute in the Search field of the online store, all words will be searched, and the full phrase will have a higher weight than separate words from it. Meaning, if Auto/Manual is typed, the results having Auto/Manual value for the Focus Adjustment attribute will be displayed first in the search results flyout: Full text

Full text boosted

Full text boosted implies that, if set to Yes, the attributes will be included for full text boosted. It means that the attribute values of these specific attributes will receive a higher relevance than other attributes having the same values.

Example The white-balance and light_exposure_modes attributes both have manual attribute value, but:

  • white-balance has the Include for full-text search value set to Yes
  • light_exposure_modes has Include for full text boosted set to Yes

We have assigned the white-balance attribute to product Canon LEGRIA HF R606, and the light_exposure_modes attribute to product Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830.

In this case, when typing manual in the Search field on the web-shop, the product Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 with the manual attribute value appears higher in the list of results than the product with the white-balance attribute having the same manual attribute value: Full text boosted

Info

If several attributes having the same values have been included for full text boosted, they all will appear in the search results. Their order is provided by Elasticsearch and can be further improved by customizing its analyzers.

Suggestion terms

Suggestion terms implies that, if set to Yes, the attributes will be included for a suggestion. This search preferences type implements the “did you mean” search functionality which provides alternative suggestions when a user may have misspelled a search term.

Example The storage_media attribute has the SSD and Flash values. If Include for suggestion has been set to Yes, then when a user types flashs in the Search field, the search results page will contain a box with suggested search term “flash”. Include for suggestion

And vise versa, if you don’t include an attribute for the suggestion, when a user searches by its values and misspells them, there will be no result for the user’s search. Do not include for suggestion

Completion terms

Completion terms implies that, if set to Yes, the attributes will be included for completion. It means that typing a word in the search field brings up predictions, which makes it easy to finish entering the search form.

Example The storage_media attribute has SSD and Flash values. If Include for completion has been set to Yes, then when user types “fla” in the search field, the search term will be autocompleted with “sh,” and there will be a list of suggested terms in the search results flyout: Completion terms

Tips & tricks
When you first decide on activating search preference types for attributes, keep in mind, that enabling all of them is highly unrecommended, as this will result in a huge list of search results. Instead of this, you might want to consider enabling search preference types for only those attributes that you really want your users to find while searching, or the attributes that refer to products you want to appear in the search results above all.

Example

There is a new device in your shop which is popular on the market for its video recording properties. You know that users are very interested in a device with such property and they might search for products by it.
Suppose, you have created the video_recording attribute in your shop with the values Geotaging and Autofocus.
However, suppose there are other attributes having the same values.
Since you want to advertise the specific new device more, it would make sense for you to disable, or at least to restrict the number of active search preference types for all other attributes with Geotagging and Autofocus values and enable an individual (or even all) search preference types for the video_recording.
This way you will make the video_recording product attribute searchable and therefore the products with this attribute will stand out in the search results when your customers search by attributes.

Also, it does not make much sense to activate search preferences for attributes with the numeric and Yes/No values. As numbers may occur not only in attributes but in product SKUs, names and descriptions (which are actually ranked higher than attributes in search results), therefore the probability that a user will find what they were looking for is low, but the list of search results will be huge, and the search term will be present in multiple places. Besides, it is very unlikely that users will be searching for an attribute with a numeric value or the Yes/No values.

Synchronize search preferences

After adding or updating all necessary attributes, you need to apply the changes by clicking Synchronize search preferences. This triggers an action that searches for all products that have those attributes and were modified since the last synchronization and touches them. This means that next time, the search collector execution will update the necessary products, so they can be found by performing a full text search.

Synchronization

Depending on the size of your database, the synchronization can be slow sometimes. Make sure that you don’t trigger it often if it’s not necessary.

To have your search collector collect all the dynamic product attributes, make sure you also followed the steps described in the Dynamic product attribute mapping section.

Current constraints

Currently, the feature has the following functional constraints which are going to be resolved in the future.

  • Search preference attributes are shared across all the stores in a project.
  • You cannot define a search preference for a single store.

Deactivating search preferences

When you have some or all search preferences activated, you can deactivate individual search preferences, or deactivate them all in bulk.

To deactivate individual search preferences of an attribute, do the following:

  1. Click Edit in the Actions column for a respective attribute.
  2. On the Edit search preferences page, set a specific search preference type to No.

To deactivate all search preferences for specific attributes at once, in the Actions column of an attribute for which you want to disable all search preferences, click Deactivate all.