SearchSpring's Autocomplete is the helpful list of suggestions that appears instantly while typing in the search box. With unparalleled speed, it surfaces the most relevant search term predictions to your shoppers. Suggestions are dynamically refined as customers type additional words and phrases, delivering the fast and relevant results that your customers expect. Spelling correction is also baked into our latest releases.
Note: This article is specific to the latest releases and implementations of AutoComplete. If any of the behavior described doesn't seem to apply to your store's AutoComplete, you are most likely on an older version. If you're interested in any features that you don't currently have, feel free to reach out to your customer success representative to learn more about your options.
AutoComplete adds many benefits for your store. It increases conversions by creating a seamless flow to guide your shoppers, reduces friction and clicks, increases shopper engagement, and pulls in existing merchandising rules and content to give you more control over its behavior.
Out of the box, AutoComplete is also fully mobile responsive, can be customized to add things like "Add to Cart" buttons directly within the popup, and provides instant faceting options.
How It Works
We have put a lot of love into how AutoComplete can create the best experience for your shoppers. From a high-level view, it can all be broken down into these steps:
In the blink of an eye, we perform several intelligent calculations every single time a shopper enters a new character into their search: We check for terms in your product data, we run a spell correction if needed, and then we check against our massive list of popular search terms and your product data to create the most relevant search suggestions possible.
All of this happens in the instant before we even show the AutoComplete pop up. In most cases, we'll also do a micro search for the top suggested search to show a preview of its results. Then, once hitting Enter, AutoComplete takes you to a normal search results page.
Okay, give me the details
Here's a more in-depth view of how the whole process works:
Shopper Search Query
The entire process begins when the shopper types something into the search box.
The first thing AutoComplete does is checking against your searchable product data to see if there's any basic results found for it. If there are no results found, then we'll send it off to check for spelling.
We only check for spelling in this case to avoid accidental overcorrections, especially things like trendy intentionally misspelled brand names.
For speed and performance reasons, term check does not include things like Merchandising, Synonyms, and partial matches on data.
This is where the magic of Spelling Correction happens!
Find Popular & Product Suggestions
The core logic of AutoComplete comes into play here.
We first check the shopper's search against the top 10,000 searches over the past 90 days from your site. To supplement even more suggestions, we'll also compare the shopper's search against your current product data (Names and SKUs) and put those next in the final list of suggestions.
For more information on this stage, see AutoComplete Matching Logic.
If AutoComplete finds an exact match of what the user typed as a current product's Name or SKU, that suggestion will always be bumped to the top of the AutoComplete suggestions.
These search suggestions are handed off to SearchSpring's advanced v3 Integration Catalog, which takes care of the logic and on-site display behavior from here on out. If AutoComplete is not installed using this catalog (such as a self-installed, API-only integration), then the behavior and appearance in the following steps will not apply.
If no search suggestions were found in previous steps, AutoComplete will attempt one final effort to show something for the user. It looks to see if there are any product results for what is currently typed in by the shopper, and will display a preview of results for that search if there are any.
Displaying to the User
The pop-up modal that the user sees will usually look something like this:
The suggestions themselves are listed on the left side. The first suggestion is automatically selected, and displays a preview of the the product results for that query.
In the example above, the shopper typed "dres". The top suggestion is "dresses", for which product results are previewed to the right - including faceting options.
TODO - Link to this article when it's done: AutoComplete Front-End Variations
When hitting "Enter"
When hitting Enter, you are taken to a normal product result page. What is being searched for on this page can change depending on several factors.
If a spelling correction was made, then the resulting page will be search results for the corrected search, and we will show a prompt on the page that allows the shopper to "Search instead for" their originally typed search. This is all standard behavior on major search engines such as Google.
If there wasn't a spelling correction, the results page will simply be searching for the shopper originally typed. If a user types "ford tru", it's not spell corrected, and hits Enter - the results will be for "ford tru".
Want something different?
Different store owners expect different behaviors when hitting Enter in these situations. If you'd like, you can reach out to your Customer Success representative to request a change to your site's behavior to change any of the following:
- Disable spelling correction entirely
- When a shopper hits Enter, you'd like it to always show a results page for what the top suggestion was.
- This includes the "Search instead for" prompt to allow your shoppers to back out to their originally typed query.
- This can be set even if you've disabled spelling correction.
- When a shopper hits Enter, you'd like it to only show a results page for exactly what the user typed, even if there was a spelling correction.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What about terms that are set up as redirects?
If there is a redirect in place for a search term, Autocomplete discards the term.
What about terms that are set up as synonyms?
Synonyms created in SearchSpring will be reflected in Autocomplete suggestions.
Is it possible to apply background filters to the autocomplete results?
Yes. Background filters can be added to the Autocomplete results, though you may need to ask us for the specific code needed depending on your e-commerce platform.
Can IntelliSuggest be removed from Autocomplete?
Yes, though you will need to reach out to SearchSpring support for additional assistance.
Why does Autocomplete not close when I select a filter?
Autocomplete allows for filtering down the results within the Autocomplete window so that the results can be narrowed, therefore it remains open until a user clicks on a product or outside the Autocomplete window. Behind the Autocomplete window, the search results page automatically updates according to the selected filters.
How do I update from V2 to V3 Autocomplete?
An upgrade to V3 Autocomplete requires a mockup and an update to your contract with SearchSpring. Please reach out to your Customer Success team to discuss this upgrade to your account.
When to contact SearchSpring support:
- Product links go to the wrong product pages
- Prices aren't accurate
- Image urls aren't populating
Why does Autocomplete flash and then go away?
If your site integration is new, Autocomplete has not had time to learn user interaction. As a result, it is defaulting to Google Analytics data, which contains search terms users have entered. These terms may or may not be products in your store. When Autocomplete determines there is not a match in the database for the search term, it automatically closes, giving this flash. This resolves itself with time and user interaction.
Why are the Autocomplete suggestions and the search results sometimes different?
The Autocomplete API will only search for the core Name and SKU fields, while the regular Search API will search every field that is marked as "searchable" in the SearchSpring dashboard, thus returning a larger and more varied selection of products.