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Faceted Search Explained

Luigi's Blog | May 20, 2022
Faceted Search Explained

Today, we will discuss what a faceted search is and how you can use it to help improve your customer’s user experience on your website. Implementing a good search engine solution with an excellent faceted search service can take your site to the next level. Being able to apply filters, organize, and analyze huge sets of data can help narrow down results. This can help customers find what they are looking for as quickly as possible.

To help you better understand faceted search, we will give examples, explain what faceted navigation is, explore the best practices, and enumerate the benefits of adding faceted search to your site.

Faceted search on Footy.com.
Faceted search on footy.com.

What is Faceted Search?

First things first, let’s discuss what exactly does faceted search mean. Faceted search is a type of search query that basically allows you to add filter options and only return the most relevant products. This can help save a lot of time, especially when browsing thousands of products on a website.

In the simplest terms, faceted search allows you to refine and narrow down the number of returns based on the categories and limits that you have set. The search engine does this by using the metadata attributes that you have set for each product and matching them with the proper filters that the user states. This can encourage your potential customer to continue with their purchase because of how fast and easy they were able to find the product they were looking for.

Examples of Faceted Search

To help you better understand the importance of faceted search and how it can help your business grow, here are a few of our client success stories.

Client 1: O2

You can read about the case study here.

Luigi’s Box has helped O2 find what they are looking for and improved the overall experience for customers. This allowed them to achieve an increase of 320% in conversion rates of trending products. Their store has over 750,000 monthly visitors. They’ve gained 10% of their e-commerce revenue through on-site search and an 8x higher conversion rate for customers who used on-site search.

Client 2: Nay

You can read about the case study here.

Nay is Slovakia’s leading electronics store, but it also operates under “Electro World” in the Czech Republic. Nay is one of Luigi’s Box’s first major clients and has helped them increase their conversion rate by over 600%. Nay has used Luigi’s Box since 2017. Its faceted search, among other functions, has helped the company gain benefits both in online and offline sales.

Client 3: Dr.Max

Logo Dr.Max

You can read about the case study here.

Dr.Max is an online pharmacy market leader who offers more than 12,000 products. These are divided into broad categories that can then be filtered depending on the search terms that the customer uses. Online retailers like Dr. Max can easily increase sales by providing proper product categories and supplying a great product description. They were able to improve the conversion rate by up to 230% in specific product segments. They also ended up with a 9% decrease in searches that ended up with no results.

Client 4: Mountfield

Logo Mountfield

You can read about the case study here.

Mountfield is the largest seller of gardening supplies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Even though they were a huge company, its current search solution still left plenty of growth on the table. This is where Luigi’s Box comes in. With the help of Luigi’s Box, Mountfield was able to increase its autocomplete conversion rate by 67%. They achieved this by helping improve the search experience by simply eliminating potential issues like typos and autocomplete errors. Luigi’s Box’s artificial intelligence software helped Mountfield provide a fluid search experience for its users.

Client 5: Košík.cz

Košík.cz logo

You can read about the case study here.

Košík.cz is one of the Czech Republic’s largest online food retailers. They have a product catalog filled with over 15,000 different products, from pastries to drugstore items. Having a fluid search engine within the food segment is essential because, on average, around 24% of customers use search. After using Luigi’s Box, Košík.cz was able to increase its search conversions by up to 10.5%, the autocomplete conversions by up to 83%, and a 50% increase in customers who use the search box.

Faceted Search Best Practices

Next up, let’s talk about the best practices and features that you should be looking for in a search solution with great faceted navigation support. These are the features you want if you’re looking to provide a great user experience to your customers.

Use Software With Advanced Language Support

Using software with advanced language support will help create a more personalized experience and offer a better understanding of multiple languages. This is an essential feature that you should look for, especially if you have customers from countries that don’t use English as their primary language.

This also includes some advanced settings that can return relevant products even though the customer committed typos or makes use of the autocomplete function.

Offer Contextual Results Based on Properties

Contextual search properties can be used to control the number of fields that you can search from and the number of results that get displayed on every page. Having the ability to offer contextual results can help return the relevant products based on the properties and different product attributes.

Contextual search properties can usually be changed according to your chosen search option. This includes maximum search results, number of characters, the time required to trigger a search, adding different thresholds, and showing metadata, among many others.

Use Incremental Feed Management

Feed management is known as the proper distribution and optimization of your product’s data feeds. This includes individual product attributes, good organization of data, and inputting the vital information that each product needs. Without proper incremental feed management, it might be hard for your products to appear in search, which can result in lower conversion and lower customer satisfaction rates. You can also lose potential customers if you aren’t careful with your feed management.

Analyze Your Results Regularly

Finally, you need to analyze your results regularly. Any good search option should be able to present your data correctly and understandably. You can then find out the popular searches, individual product counts, conversions, and the number of total searches, among many other advanced settings and data.

Analyzing the different data types can help you find out customer reviews and customer expectations and create a personalized experience for your users. You can also use it to predict different trends, find popular products, and know when and what you can improve on in the future. It can also be used to find out any possible indexing issues or any other potential issues at hand.

Faceted Search Benefits

Now that we’ve talked about some of the best practices and things you should be doing when using faceted search, it’s time to discuss its benefits. These are the things that you can achieve when you properly implement a faceted search interface into your website.

Faceted search can significantly improve your website.

Improved Customer Experience

The first one is improved customer experience. Having a better search option with artificial intelligence that can handle facet values and different filter options can vastly improve a user’s experience. By using a simple filter and other relevant filters, your customers end up spending less time searching for the individual product. The faster they can get accurate results, the easier it is for them to take a deep look at the actual product and take some time to consider going through with the purchase.

At the end of the day, no one wants to spend their precious time trying to find the product they are looking for. Once people get tired or annoyed of trying to find a product from your website, they’ll try to find it elsewhere. This is why it’s essential to have an excellent faceted search structure.

Seamless Experience for Search

Once you’ve started using an excellent faceted search option, your customers will have little to no trouble using your current search solution. This is because the necessary filters and great artificial intelligence will already be set up and prepared to help them find the item they are looking for.

Integrating an excellent faceted search option will add various filters to your website. This includes simple filters, thematic filters, a single filter, and relevant filters among many other filtered facet values that can allow your customers to narrow down on specific categories and attributes. This results in a seamless searching experience that allows them to quickly and instantly find their product from thousands of other entries.

Improved User Interface

The next benefit is an improved user interface. An excellent user interface is intuitive and easy to use, allowing almost anyone with basic internet knowledge to quickly pick it up. You definitely want an excellent faceted search interface because it can be the difference-maker for your website.

We all know how annoying it is to do the “trial and error” method when using complex and hard-to-understand UIs. With an improved user interface, you can expect customers to become more satisfied with your service. This can lead not only to better customer reviews but also increases in sales and conversion rates.

Increase Sales & Signups

Aside from the benefits mentioned above, you can also get an increase in sales and new signups. This is made possible by the collective improvements that you gain by adding faceted search to your website.

Customers might prefer your business, over other online retailers by simply adding an excellent faceted search solution. Once you start to exceed customer expectations and get better customer reviews by providing a better user experience, the increase in sales and & signups will surely follow.

Facets may come in handy when you have several hundred products in a category.
Facets may come in handy when you have several hundred products in a category. (muziker.com)

How to Implement Faceted Search?

After talking about the best practices and benefits of faceted search, it’s time to finally talk about the best way to implement it on your website. Here are the proper ways and steps that you can take to fully implement a faceted search option in your business.

Choose a Provider

The first and most obvious step is to choose a provider. It can be tricky to find the best provider that fits your needs and wants as a business. Elasticsearch is one of the most popular and cheapest search engine providers there is. However, something that people don’t take into consideration is the amount of work, money, and time you need to invest in Elasticsearch to properly integrate Elasticsearch into your website. This can be worth it to some businesses but usually isn’t for most.

This is where providers like Luigi’s Box come in. These providers offer all-in-one solutions from integration, search engine optimization, faceted search, analytics, and recommendations, among many other features. Their primary goal is to help businesses create a smooth and fluid search experience that enhances their customer’s shopping experience.

Pick a Provider with hands-on integration

Make sure that you choose a search solution that provides hands-on integration. A provider with hands-on integration will simply make your transition to a new and improved search solution better.

Hands-on integration is perfect for new businesses that don’t have that much experience with search engines. It’s also great to make sure that you don’t run into any errors like disabled settings or duplicate content along the way. Search engine providers also ask for user preferences and other custom settings that you want to tweak. Some providers also allow businesses to completely integrate the new service without the need for an IT team, which results in less hassle and less money spent.

Vendor Provides Comprehensive Documentation for Self-service Integration

Now, if you don’t want a provider that does all the integration for you, then that’s okay as well. Just make sure to pick a vendor that has comprehensive and extensive documentation when it comes to self-service integration. This makes it easier for your company to fully integrate the search engine solution you have chosen.

Take a look at the provider’s document count, case studies, and reviews by other e-commerce retailers to ensure that they have proper documentation. Self-service integration allows you to further customize the faceted navigation structure as well as other advanced facet settings to create a more personalized experience for your users.

Ability to have Custom Search UX

Next up, is the ability to have a custom search UX. The ability to have a custom search UX guarantees you the ability to provide a unique and enjoyable user experience for your customers when using the search function. When customers are able to properly navigate and operate the search and facet system it can lead to more conversions in sales in the long run.

An excellent UX and UI is something that’s unique to your online website but also something that users can easily understand. This is one of the main problems when trying to implement a new search solution, businesses sometimes forget to create a unique experience for their customers.

Flexible Pricing

Finally, when choosing a provider, you have to take the pricing into consideration. Some vendors offer fixed monthly plans that can be quite cheaper but harder to scale with. Once you outgrow the cheaper plans, you have to start paying for the more expensive ones, even if you don’t fully avail or need all of its features yet.

This is the area where flexible pricing shines. Providers with flexible pricing allow you to easily scale without worrying about a massive price increase. This is because you only pay for the features and services that you actually consumed within the month. You can usually get quotations for your business’ search needs and discuss the pricing and other figures with the sales team. This can also include things like monthly targets, goals, future features that you need, and your other business plans.

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    Faceted Search Implementation

    Once you’ve done the proper research needed and have chosen a provider that fits your business’s needs, the next step is to start the implementation process. Here are the usual steps that you need to go through when implementing a faceted search for your website.

    Signup for the Platform

    The first thing you have to do is signup for the platform. Make sure to use your business email when signing up and ensure that you supply them with the correct information. Creating an account will help you get easier customer support and get you access to other information not readily available to non-members.

    You can usually schedule appointments or meetings with the provider by signing up. Through the appointments, you can ask for quotations and raise any concerns or clarifications. Your account will also serve as a way for you to monitor the analytics and products you use.

    Implement a Search Script

    A search script is a piece of code that allows you to add a search box to your website. Users can then use the search box to help them find products or other types of content on your website. Usually, you’ll have to write the code and set this up yourself. This requires time, work, and money, among other factors.

    However, since you’ve already chosen a search provider and signed up for their service, they’ll be the ones to provide you with the search script. For some providers, this is a seamless and smooth process, but for some, it requires the help of your IT team. Regardless, signing up for a search provider will always be faster and easier than writing the code yourself. There’s also the added extra benefit of having customer support to call if ever you run into problems with the script implementation.

    Provide XML feed with Products

    The next step is to provide the XML feed that contains the products and their necessary information. The XML feed is used to sync the product catalog with the search option. This allows the products to be searchable and pop up in results.

    The XML feed should contain information like product name, description, price, and category, among many other attributes. Be as detailed as possible to help the AI determine which products to return when applying filters to searches.

    Test the Search and Deploy

    Before fully deploying your search engine, you have to test it out first. This is to ensure that the search is running as intended and that there are no potential issues that can arise. You definitely want to be the one to discover any issues and prevent any delays or problems from the customer’s side.

    Once you’re confident that the search and all of its features are working as intended, you can deploy it to the public. Remember, once you deploy the search feature, anyone who can access your site can already use it. Make sure to monitor the search feature once it’s live and be on the lookout for any reports regarding issues or problems.

    Style the Search According to your Design

    You should also style the search according to your design theme. Make sure that it doesn’t stand out from your overall website theme and matches the color scheme of your site. Some providers allow you to do this manually by customizing some of the search settings.

    If you choose Luigi’s Box, they offer an integration specialist that will help you do this according to your specified requirements. This can save you a lot of time, but you will still get the results that you are looking for.

    Analyze the Results

    Finally, the last step is to analyze the results. See if the search is performing well and fit your standards. Make sure that everything is working properly and nothing is out of place. By analyzing the results, you can see the areas you can improve in, the changes you need to make, and the overall improvement to your search solution.

    Conclusion

    Implementing a faceted search solution into your website can be a hard and challenging task. It requires a ton of effort, time, and money in order to give your customers a great shopping experience. This whole process can be made easier by choosing a search provider.

    You should take note of different practices and the features that you need to look for in a good search solution. There are also proper steps that you should take to fully implement a search solution to your site. Choosing a good provider will ensure that you have someone to guide you throughout the whole process.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is a Search Facet?

    A search facet provides a way for users to add specific and relevant filters to search results based on categories, pricing, date listed, types, and attributes, among other things. It can be used to help organize, analyze, and filter huge product catalogs according to their specified traits to make searching faster.

    What Is the Difference Between Search Facets and Search Filters?

    Both search filters and search facets can be used to narrow down search results and quickly find what you are looking for. Search filters are broad and more general categories based on single dimensions of a product. These generally do not change between searches and are applied behind the scenes, not by the consumer. On the other hand, search facets are generally more specific and allow users to refine their searches across multiple dimensions. These are user-determined and can be changed according to your preferences.

    How to Implement Search Facets?

    There are specific steps that you should follow in order to implement search facets to your site. The first step is finding a provider that fits your needs, signing up, and then following the set of instructions that they give you. In general, you implement the search script, provide an XML feed of your products, test the search function, style according to your preferences, and analyze the results.

    What is the Best Search Facets Solution on the Market?

    There are tons of different facet search solutions in the market, but Luigi’s Box is definitely one of the best. It offers flexible pricing and has an easy integration system. Some of its features include a search and autocomplete function, a recommender function, and provides comprehensive analytics that can help you further grow your business. You can ask for a quotation or ask for a presentation to see if Luigi’s Box truly is the right choice for you.