Explore Storefront Search

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe what happens during a Salesforce B2C Commerce storefront search.
  • List four questions to ask when identifying the types of search you want on your storefront.
  • List four things that B2C Commerce checks when processing a keyword search.
  • Explain the importance of an up-to-date search index.
  • Describe how you can improve your no search results page.

Search for Products

Brandon Wilson is a senior merchandiser at Cloud Kicks, a high-end sneaker manufacturer. He’s all about creating fabulous storefront experiences for his shoppers. That includes making sure shoppers can search for and find the exact products they want to buy, whether on the storefront or via external search engines.

Brandon Wilson, Cloud Kicks merchandiser

Like all of us, Brandon has had his share of storefront search experiences that ended in unhelpful or, worst of all, no results. He knows firsthand how this can lead to dissatisfied shoppers and increased bounce rates, and wants a better experience for his shoppers.

To get started, he takes a look at the search features described in the Salesforce B2C Commerce for Merchandisers module, specifically the Learn About B2C Commerce Search unit. Then he explores searching from outside the storefront in the Optimize Search Engine Awareness for Your Salesforce B2C Commerce Storefront trail.

In this module, he learns about storefront product search within a B2C Commerce storefront. Shoppers who search are on a mission. Instead of navigating through endless product categories or breadcrumbs, they already know what they want, or have some idea.

Here’s what happens during a B2C Commerce storefront search.

  1. The shopper enters text into the search field.
  2. B2C Commerce evaluates what the shopper enters against the search dictionary, redirects, and settings.
  3. B2C Commerce evaluates how to sort the results (or the shopper sorts the results).
  4. B2C Commerce displays the results.

Once the shopper enters search text, B2C Commerce evaluates what they want to see and how to sort the results, then displays the results.

Keyword search is when a shopper enters a search term into a storefront’s search field and the results appear. The shopper expects the storefront search algorithm to find what they are looking for fast, even if they spell it wrong. B2C Commerce does its part by checking:

  • If there are redirects, which direct the shopper to a particular page or URL
  • The search index, to see if there’s a match
  • If the matches relate to content or products (or both)
  • The spelling, to make reasonable suggestions
  • For dictionary matches with synonyms, hypernyms, or hyponyms, for example

After all this, B2C Commerce displays the results (whether content, products, or both) or a No Results page.

B2C Commerce processes the text a shopper enters by checking for redirects, the search index, whether the results are for content or product, and spelling, and then displaying the results.

Look at the Big Picture

Before Brandon gets started configuring storefront search, he steps back to take a look at the big picture. He wants to make sure he uses all the B2C Commerce search capabilities, and has lots of questions.

  • Which pages show search results?
  • How many search results should he show per page?
  • What happens when there are no search results?
  • What happens when there are more or fewer search results than expected?
  • Should he redirect a search to a category page to give the shopper more results or give them the ability to refine their search?

He answers many of these questions when he configures search in Business Manager. In this module, he focuses on how B2C Commerce evaluates search text to provide the best results for shoppers. That means he configures these.

  • Search Preferences
  • Searchable Attributes
  • No Results Found Page
  • Excluding Specific Category Names from Indexing
  • Keyword Search Refinements
  • Search redirects

The Search Index

The search index is the star of the search show. It uses multiple search dictionaries such as product, spelling, content, synonym, suggest, availability, and active data. Once Brandon accepts the Einstein Data Privacy Agreement, he has access to community data and his search dictionaries are combined with data from the other contributing B2C Commerce merchants. See the Smarter Search with Commerce Cloud Einstein module for details.

Brandon learned in the Salesforce B2C Commerce for Merchandisers module that the better his search dictionaries, the more likely his shoppers will find what they’re looking for.

Beyond search dictionaries, Brandon needs to identify the info he might have missed that’s required for indexing—and helps shoppers. Product branding details are an example. Marking each product attribute as searchable is also important for awesome search results. The search index is only as good as its underlying data.

What’s the Search Index Update Process?

Brandon takes specific steps to make sure the search indexes work properly and he has the credentials he needs to manually rebuild them. He rebuilds them on a staging instance each time he changes the storefront search configuration. He always tests to make sure everything is working. He asks his admin, Linda Rosenburg, to help him test his changes along with the latest catalog data. Once the tests pass, she replicates the changes and the catalog data to production.

Linda Rosenburg, Cloud Kicks admin

Check Catalog Size Versus Search Speed

Brandon and Linda keep a close watch on the catalog size. They know that the bigger the catalog, the more details B2C Commerce must access in the dictionary during search, slowing performance.

In this module, we assume you are a B2C Commerce merchandiser with the proper permissions to perform these tasks. If you’re not a B2C Commerce merchandiser, that’s OK. Read along to learn how your merchandiser would take these steps in a sandbox instance. Don’t try to follow our steps in your Trailhead Playground. B2C Commerce isn’t available in the Trailhead Playground.

If you have a sandbox instance of B2C Commerce, you can try out these steps in your sandbox. If you don’t have a sandbox, ask your manager if there is a sandbox that you can use.

Here’s how to check the index size in Business Manager.

  1. Open Business Manager.
  2. Click site > Merchant Tools > Search > Search Indexes.View search index data by dictionary in Business Manager.
  3. Click the Product Index link.
    In Business Manager, view product index data.
  4. Click the Statistics tab. Take a look at the number of indexed elements and the specific indexed fields.
    In Business Manager, view the product index indexed fields.
  5. Scroll down to see how frequently each term is used within the index. Review term frequency by term and locale (for example, de_DE, default, en_US, and en_CA).In Business Manager, view how frequently each term is used in the index.
  6. Scroll down even more to review dictionaries by locale. (In this case, Brandon is just working with English and plans to add more languages later.)
    In Business Manager, view search index terms by locale.
  7. Click Analyze Terms beside Default for product data to analyze terms by locale.
  8. Enter shoe.
  9. Take a look at the resulting terms.
    In Business Manager, review completed product index search terms.

The search index size looks reasonable. The Cloud Kicks catalog contains an average number of products, so Brandon doesn’t need to change anything just yet. As his catalog gets bigger, he can decrease the size of his indexes by decreasing the number of searchable attributes or by adding stop words (more about those in the next unit).

The No Results Page

When a storefront search yields no results, B2C Commerce checks the shopper’s entry for misspellings. If it finds another spelling, it shows something like this:

“We're really sorry, no products were found for your search: [search term]. Did you mean: [alternative term]?”

The shopper can click the suggested spelling, which launches a new search for that term. But is this enough? Brandon wants to do better. He works with his developer to add creative content to the No Results page, such as:

  • A graphic containing a link to a gift guide at holiday time
  • A creative content asset that gives suggestions on how to search the storefront
  • A set of fun graphics that link to key categories
  • Three fun, sports-related (run, hike, and play ball) graphics intended for a no search results page

Three fun, sports-related (run, hike, and play ball) graphics intended for a no search results page

Next Steps

In this unit, you learned what B2C Commerce storefront search involves, the importance of an up-to-date search index, and what to do when there are no results. Next, you learn how to configure search preferences.

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