eCommerce Product Search Engine: 5 Key Features and Benefits

Find out how a product search engine can make it easier for your customers to find exactly what they're looking for.

Adeel Qayum - Writer for Fast Simon
By Adeel Qayum
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Olivia Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Olivia Kashti

Updated February 26, 2024.

Businesswoman s hands typing on tablet and laptop keyboard in morning light computer, typing, online in modern office

An eCommerce product search engine is a "local" site search engine built for your eCommerce store. When a customer types in a query, the engine indexes all of your products and uses sophisticated AI algorithms to help match customers with exactly what they're looking for—fast.

In an age where customers expect a smooth user experience and immediate results, an eCommerce product search engine is a must-have for every online store owner. And fortunately, this tool is highly accessible: it can be integrated with most major eCommerce platforms, including Shopify Search, BigCommerce Search, Magento Search, WooCommerce, Wix, and more.

Let's look at five key features and benefits that you can start reaping today.

» Add, remove, and customize your Shopify search bar for better search results and a seamless shopping experience

1. Fast Loading Time

How quickly your site loads is closely connected to your customers' satisfaction, your site's bounce rate, and its ranking. Your customers may feel that your loading time is a reflection of your service and quality.

So, the faster your site loads, the less likely your customers are to leave your site. This keeps your bounce rate down (an average of 9%) and helps to boost your search engine ranking.

Ideally, you should aim for a 2-second loading time for your eCommerce store and its product search functionality to make sure your customers quickly find what they're looking for.

2. Autocomplete Text

Autocomplete text is an AI feature that aims to finish your customer's query as they're typing it. This gives them a quicker path to your product, requiring fewer keystrokes to get to their end goal. It also helps to prevent spelling errors, which can alter their search results and provide a less-than-ideal user experience.

Take Ruggable, for example. When a user types "ze" into the search bar, the product search engine automatically pulls results for zebra-related items. This helps to cut the time the user spends searching, sending them straight to their results.

Product search engine_Ruggable example_autocomplete search query

» Learn how AI can optimize your customers' eCommerce experience

Sometimes, your customer may know exactly which product they want. But often, this isn't the case. Search queries fall into four types:

  • Exact product search: Your customers know exactly what they need, down to the product's name.
  • Product type search: Your customers search for a general product, not a brand or model.
  • Problem-based search: Your customers need a solution to an issue, but they're not sure which form it comes in.
  • Non-product search: Your customers are looking for information, not a product.

Full-text search is a helpful feature when your customer hasn't entered an exact product search. It compares every word in your customer's query against your database(s), helping to fill in the gaps where the query lacks specificity or precision.

In this example, a user might type the problem-based search "organize kitchen". Wayfair's eCommerce product search engine returns multiple types of organizers, dividers, and racks to solve the problem.

Product search engine_Wayfair example_full text search

Images are non-negotiable to convince your customers to convert. They need to see the item to visualize if it's what they're really looking for. When your website contains images within search engine results, it speeds up the shopping process, opening the possibility of finding what they're looking for in seconds instead of minutes.

On Hoover's website, a user can type in "pets" and see multiple product suggestions as well as photos and prices—all right from the search bar dropdown. This completes a mini product preview, providing at a glance all the key decision-making information they need.

Product search engine_Hoover example_image search

» Find out how AI visual discovery can inspire your shoppers to buy

5. Synonyms

It's rare that your customer will be able to search for a product verbatim as it's listed on your website. If your product search engine doesn't include synonyms, they may be served "no search results" pages when that's not truly the case. Synonyms help to give your customers as many options as possible by showing results based on similar terms.

For example, you can fine-tune your product search engine to display jumpsuits when your customer types "jumper", or denim if they misspell it as "demin". You can make searches more specific or general, like showing rings and bracelets when your customer types "jewelry".

synonyms product search

» Explore how a personalized search and recommendation engine can drive you forward

Take the Fast Way

To capture today's online shoppers, your eCommerce product search engine needs to match your competitors in terms of speed, flexibility, and problem-solving. The features we've discussed here can supercharge your user experience, earning loyal customers and predictable revenue.