How to Use Shopify Instant Search to Maximize Product Discovery

Boost your store's product discoverability by implementing Shopify instant search.

Adeel Qayum - Writer for Fast Simon
By Adeel Qayum
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Content writer and fact-checker Oli Kashti

Updated February 23, 2024.

Man holding a mobile phone with shopify company logo.

Shopify Search has become a go-to solution for millions of merchants looking to sell their products online. In most cases, the success of your Shopify store depends on how well you can maximize your product discovery. Shopify instant search can help boost your product discoverability by guiding your customers to their desired products in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

Shopify instant search scans your store's product listings and provides relevant results in real time as your customers type in their search queries.

This gives your customers more options to choose from and also makes it easier for them to find what they're looking for. The result is a better shopping experience and increased product discoverability for the store.

Getting the most out of Shopify instant search requires taking a few key steps.

» Further improve your customer shopping experience by adding, removing, and customizing the Shopify search bar

1. Use Autocomplete for Smarter & Faster Results

Autocomplete text is a helpful tool for getting better, faster site search results. With just a few keystrokes, customers can find what they're looking for without having to spell everything out. This eliminates the need for an extra step and lets customers go straight from typing their search term to a purchasable product with just one click.

Mastermind Toys uses autocomplete text to suggest products faster to their customers. For instance, if a customer types "star" into the search bar, the autocomplete pulls up results for Star Wars-related products right away and maximizes product discovery. This saves the customer time and takes them straight to their desired results.

Shopify Instant Search_Mastermind Toys example_autocomplete_no border

2. Use NLP to Understand Your Customers' Intent

Natural language processing (NLP) is a technique that helps your search function understand human language and the context your customers are searching in. Shopify instant search uses NLP to extract the meaning behind a search query and look for the most relevant results in a large product dataset, thereby helping to increase product discovery.

When you understand your customers' intent, you can offer instant and relevant search results. For example, if a customer types "este luader" into Fragrance Buy's search bar, the store's natural language search functionality understands that the customer is actually looking for "Estee Lauder" and provides those results. This improves the overall shopping experience and increases the chances of a successful transaction.

Shopify Instant Search_Fragrance Buy example_NLP_no border

» Still a bit in the dark? This guide decodes natural language search

3. Personalized Product Discovery

Shopify instant search can also boost personalization for product discovery by using data about your customers' behavior and preferences. This may include keeping track of the products your customers have viewed in the past and using that information to suggest similar products in future searches.

By using data from personas and product rating systems, instant searches can make customers' discovery experience even more tailored and efficient.

Here are a few potential outcomes of this:

  • Your customers are more likely to buy products that match their interests and needs.
  • Your customers are more likely to make repeat purchases because your store caters to their preferences.
  • Your store maximizes product discovery and increases your chances of making a sale.

For example, if a new customer searches for a "white dress" in Princess Polly's search bar, they'll see the standard collection as a result with related (but general) search prompts on the side.

Shopify Instant Search_Princess Polly example_Personalization_no border

But as the customer browses the white dresses in the collection, particularly the mini dresses, the store's Shopify instant search notes the customer's preferences and interests. So, the next time the customer visits the store, their experience is already more personalized with suggestions for mini dresses and white dresses before even starting their search.

Shopify Instant Search_Princess Polly example 2_Personalization_no border

» Dive deeper into the personalization experience

Smart Shopify merchants understand that their store's search can make or break their customer experience. With the help of its features, you can:

  • Convert more leads into customers Instant search makes it easier for your shoppers to quickly find the right product without the hassle of navigating through multiple pages. This significantly increases their odds of purchasing.
  • Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty An effective instant search solution gathers valuable information about your customers' searches and interactions on your site. You can analyze this data to gain insight into customers' intent so you can show results that enhance their satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Increase sales Mobile instant search reduces the need for extensive site exploration, shortening the path to purchase and increasing the likelihood of buying and spending more. Shoppers who use search spend 2.6 times more on average than those who don't.

Do It the Fast Way

The eCommerce industry is highly competitive, and with so many choices, customers expect a certain experience when they shop online. With Shopify instant search, you can give your customers a personal shopping journey that effortlessly leads them to the products they're looking for, thereby increasing your conversions and customer retention.

» Don't have a Shopify store? Explore your Magento Search and BigCommerce Search options instead