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Unlock Conversion by Optimising IRP Search

IRP Search helps your high-intent shoppers zero in on their desired items fast — it also collects important data points on what your customers want.
Author
14 August 2022 - 5 min read

Unlock Conversion by Optimising IRP Search

IRP Search is a powerful feature built directly into Commerce Cloud, it helps your high-intent shoppers zero in on their desired items fast — it also collects important data points on what your customers want. IRP Search encompasses more than just the search box; it's a bundle of features that supercharge search and unlock conversion.

IRP’s first party functionality works because Merchants operate off a single data source and can track the impact on revenues and profits.


How Search Works in the IRP

When a site visitor enters a search term, the IRP makes a first pass at matching every word that has been entered against brands, categories and models. If it finds matches, the results are displayed on the SearchResults.aspx page on the front end (and on the SearchHistory.aspx page for Admin Users).

The IRP also uses the Word Replacement functionality at the start of the search process. You can find further details within the Word Replacement section.

If the site visitor enters a string of words in the Search bar (let’s use the same example as above, ‘VR Pro Cavity’, the IRP will first examine all three words for a match, then two words and finally one word (assuming that you have enabled the Enable Search Combinations Application Setting). The IRP will then display the results. These are called ‘combination results’. So, in our example, the IRP first examines:

  1. ‘VR Pro Cavity’ — if the IRP finds matches it will display them. If no matches are found then the IRP moves on to examine combinations.
  2. ‘VR Pro’, ‘VR Cavity’, ‘Pro Cavity’ — if the IRP finds matches it will display them. If no matches are found then the IRP moves on to examine each word individually.
  3. ‘VR’, ‘Pro’, ‘Cavity’ — if the IRP finds matches on any word, it will display the results.
  4. If no matches are found then the IRP displays the message ‘There were 0 results for VR Pro Cavity’.

Third party features add costs and reduce profit. They are neither secure or GDPR compliant and can create bugs in the end user experience.


Word Replacements

Word Replacements (or 'Search Aliases') are a feature used to correct search results if a user has made a spelling mistake or entered an incorrect word. A Word Replacement replaces the incorrect word with an alternative correct word.

For example, a site visitor enters the term ‘long sleve‘ in the Search bar on the front end of your website. As you can see, this is a mistake as the visitor meant to type ‘long sleeve‘. They then click the Search button.

  • If you have not set up a Word Replacement for ‘sleve‘ then the IRP will let the visitor know that no results were found.

However, if you have set up a Word Replacement for ‘sleve‘, the IRP will transform the incorrect term into the correct term and then run the search checking brands, categories and models for any matches. The IRP will then show the number of results to the visitor.

A great feature of this section is that you can see at a glance which of your Word Replacements are successfully returning results and which are failing.

Read more about Word Replacement in the IRP Knowledge Base


Search Redirects

You can use this section to redirect search terms entered by the customer to specific pages on the Desktop Site (and also your Mobile and Trade sites if you have these enabled). This is one of the most powerful features of the IRP search functionality; redirects are straightforward to configure, for example you can populate URL-rewritten redirects by using placeholders. More information regarding the setup can be found within the following Knowledge Base article:

Read more about Search Redirects in the IRP Knowledge Base


Failed Individual Word

This page displays a list of search terms entered by users that could not be matched on your site. This is important for you to know so that you can prevent it from happening and thus provide your customers with a better user experience. To do this, you can replace the term with a correct term, make the term one to be ignored by the IRP, or delete the term.

You can click on the Action Drop Down and select which action you would like to take (Replace Word, Permanently Ignore, Delete). If you click on ‘Replace Word’, you can add a word replacement and this will appear on the SearchWordReplacements.aspx page as soon as you add the word and click ‘Update Failed Individual Words’.

You can also click 'View’ beside the failed word which will allow you to view the attempted searches and you can then add a redirect.

The Alerts bar will also show the number of Failed Individual Words.

Read more about Failed Individual Words in the IRP Knowledge Base


Search History

This page displays all the searches, both successful and unsuccessful, that customers have conducted on your website. You can see details such as the customer's country, language, platform, IP address and date searched. This feature is a good way to find out which countries are searching for which products, or what your most popular products are. You could then adjust your marketing to cater for these searches.

If you see a lot of failed searches relating to a particular search term, you can add a Search Redirect or a Word Replacement to resolve this. It is beneficial to review this section regularly to get an idea of what is being searched for and add in any relevant Search redirects or Word Replacements for the failed searches.

Read more about Search History in the IRP Knowledge Base


Ignored Words

This page displays a list of search terms that you want to be ignored if a customer searches for them using the front-end Search bar. Examples of these would include 'And' or 'At'. This would mean, for example, that when a site visitor searches using the Search bar at the top of the site for the phrase 'Hat And Umbrella' the database query will instead use 'Hat Umbrella'.

Foreign derivatives will be applied when a customer's Language Setting is different from the default.

You can click on the ‘Translate’ button to change the language you are editing.

Read more about Ignored Words in the IRP Knowledge Base


Search Tags

You can add search tags on the ModelEdit.aspx page under the ‘Model Search Tags’ section. You can select a language for the search tags from the drop down list and then add search tags for any active languages.

After the search indexes are rebuilt (via the ‘Rebuild Search Index’ Common Task), these tags will be used when fetching the results of a customer's search.

Example: If you are using the IRP search functionality to search for a term such as ‘Floral Kimono’, if there are no products with the words ‘Floral’ AND ‘Kimono’ in their name, category and brand combined, the system will search for ‘Floral’ OR Kimono’. This will widen the search since there were no results for all of the words in the search.

This is an example where Search Tags should be utilised on a model to allow specific models to return for specific additional search terms. In this example, adding the tag ‘Floral’ will allow it to come back for ‘Floral Kimono’ and if there are results returned, it does not widen the search any more.


Rebuilding Search Index

As models, brands and categories are added to or removed from the IRP, the search index must be rebuilt for these to show or be hidden in search results. The search index speeds up the website and search elements on the website.

There will be a Common Task set up to manage this automatically (Rebuild Search Index) and there is also an option to do this manually via the Bulk Operations section.

There is also another Common Task that can be setup which is the ‘Rebuild Predictive Search Index’ .You should add and activate the ‘Rebuild Predictive Search Index’ Common Task in order for the Predictive Search feature to work. This allows you to automatically rebuild the Predictive Search index repeatedly at a defined time interval, or executed once at a specific date and time.


Application Settings

You will find the Application Settings via the ApplicationSettings.aspx page and you should navigate to the ‘Search’ section where you will see several settings associated with the IRP Search feature. Some of these include:

Enable Predictive Search: Check this box to enable the predictive search feature within the search bar on the website’s front end.

Enable Search Combinations: When a search fails, the IRP uses this setting to determine whether to look subsequently at the best possible combinations of the search terms.

Enable Search Quick Filter: Check this box to show a ‘Quick Filter By’ drop-down list at the top of the SearchResults.aspx page (the placement of the list also depends on whether the ‘Show Attributes On Left Nav’ Application Setting is enabled).


Actions

  • Ensure all relevant Application Settings are set.
  • Update Search Tags for all relevant Models.
  • Review Search Redirects, Word Replacements and Ignored Words sections and ensure these are accurate and up to date.
  • Regularly review the ‘Search History’ section to get an idea of what your customers are searching for and what improvements can be made. You can view the ‘Successful Searches’ and ‘Failed Searches’ tabs to get an overview.

Ensure the ‘Rebuild Search Index’ Common Task is set-up and also the ‘Rebuild Predictive Search Index’ Common Task (if this setting is enabled on your site).

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