We love the Volusion eCommerce platform, but an area we feel it’s lacking is the standard built-in search functionality.
While it does perform adequately for smaller stores with few products, it really does not scale on that well. It is limited in the type of data the search query pulls from. Primarily, it displays results from product titles only and does not allow customers to search within product description for specific keywords.
The display of the search results is also limited and restrictive. Results are displayed in a single column of results, which does not allow for easy browsing. Customers are forced to scroll through many pages of results to find the desired products. Most often, the customers just give up after the second or third page of results.
Not a good thing for any online business!
Our strong desire to improve our own e-commerce store led us searching for a solution. After testing every popular vendor, we settled on a search company, Nextopia. While it is true there are other search utility providers in the marketplace, like SLI systems, we found their solution to be cost-effective. Basic contracts with the other providers ran in the range of $700-2000 per month. For most small to mid-sized e-commerce stores, this is not feasible financially.
Nextopia, on the other hand, is reasonably priced at less than $100 per month and easily pays for itself by increasing customer conversions every month. The service is remarkably robust and provides much of the same functionality that more expensive solutions provide.
What’s the catch? Hmm, like all things, there is a small catch in using Nextopia with Volusion and it has to do with the product images. While Nextopia has no problem in automatically pulling product text titles and descriptions, it struggles to pull in the correct images. This is due to the way Nextopia interacts with Volusion native xml data source.
But we wanted to use this solution for our own use and we have solved the problem. Through nightly and/or periodic updates (depending on how often products are added or edited) we have devised a simple system for feeding product images into the Nextopia search utility.
Product automatically streams in. Then product is displayed in easy to scan 3 column display with enhanced search capabilities allowing customers to search the brand name, price and several other criteria that the standard Volusion search utility does not have.
Let us help you upgrade your site’s search functionality today. You will be happy as you will start seeing outcomes in the form of increased conversions and more sales!