The best WooCommerce search plugin & how to use it

As your WooCommerce store grows, it becomes harder and harder for shoppers to find the products they're interested in. That's a problem, because if people can't find the right products, they won't be able to buy the right products. A WooCommerce search plugin is a great way to fix this.

In this post, we'll discover the best two WooCommerce search plugins to transform your store. They both work in different ways and you can use them either alone or together. We'll look at:

  • How to use WooCommerce Product Table to list products in an instant order form, complete with AJAX-powered live keyword search. 
WooCommerce search plugin example
  • WooCommerce Product Filters, which helps customers to search by selecting from ultra-fast filters. You can add the filters to your current store layout, or use it with the Product Table plugin.

Basically, if you want to maximize your sales, you need to find the most efficient ways to connect shoppers with the products that they want to buy.

Ready to learn how? Here's how to get started with the best WooCommerce search plugins...

Product Table: WooCommerce search plugin #1

WooCommerce Product Table is much more than just a search plugin. As well as adding a search box which is much better than the basic one that comes with WooCommerce, it actually improves the way your products are displayed. It does this by listing them in a structured table or order form style layout.

If you think about how shoppers search, this table layout makes a lot of sense. People are using search to find specific products and a table layout provides the most compact way to display products without skimping on information.

How the WooCommerce search products works

Finally, WooCommerce Product Table can do all of this with Ajax, which means shoppers won't have to reload the page when they search, sort, or filter.

The benefits of this approach are that shoppers...

  • Can see more information about each product in less space via a combination of the table layout and the product quick view.
  • Get more tools to help them find the right products.
  • Have a more convenient experience because they don't have to reload the page each time they want to try a new search term.

Those three benefits make it easier for shoppers to find the right products at your eCommerce store, which makes it easier for them to buy the right products.

In contrast, the native WooCommerce search products widget requires a page reload each time. Even worse, it doesn't include filter options, and uses your theme's regular shop page layout, which isn't optimized for search results.

What else can it do?

As we've seen, WooCommerce Product Table is much more than just a search plugin.

You'll have full control over exactly what information displays in the table. You can set up your own custom column structure with your choice of:

  • Basic product information, like the title, price, SKU, and description
  • Product images
  • Categories, tags, or other custom taxonomies
  • Product attributes or other custom fields
  • Add to cart buttons (including variation dropdowns, quantity pickers, and other useful extras like add-ons)

You can also let shoppers sort by any column (like sorting the price from low to high). Customers often like to perform a search and change the order of their results, so this is ideal.

Example use cases for the WooCommerce search plugin

To demonstrate why WooCommerce Product Table makes such a good WooCommerce product search plugin, let's look at a few example use cases.

Variable products

If you're selling variable products, you'll be able to include all your variations right on the search results page without forcing shoppers to click through to the product single page:

Product variations in search results

Digital products

If you're selling digital products, you can include audio players or video players right in your search results.

WooCommerce audio store

If you're selling digital files, you can add extra information like the file format, size, etc. Or, if you're selling eBooks, you can include other information, like the book's author:

WooCommerce ebook store

Restaurant ordering

If you have a restaurant and are using WooCommerce as a restaurant ordering system, you can make it easy for hungry visitors to search all or some of your menu:

WooCommerce restaurant ordering system

How to set up this WooCommerce search plugin

Ready to get started with Product Table as a WooCommerce search products plugin? To prepare for this tutorial, you'll first want to get WooCommerce Product Table, and install it on your store.

Then, here's how to set everything up…

1. Choose what information to display in search results

WooCommerce Product Table gives you full control over each column that displays in your search results. As a result, you can include a lot more information than the native WooCommerce search allows.

You can include:

  • Basic product details, like name, short or long description, price, SKU, category, tag, etc.
  • Product attributes
  • Product variations
  • Custom fields
  • Custom taxonomies

To choose which columns to include, open the plugin's settings by going to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product tables.

Then, use the Columns setting to select which columns to include. View a full list of column options.

Configure columns to display in WooCommerce search

2. Choose your search logic

By default, WooCommerce Product Table uses an instant Ajax search box that lets shoppers search any column in the table.

Depending on what you configured in step one, this could include categories, tags, custom fields, etc.

However, if you have a ton of products (like into the thousands), this might cause performance issues, which is why WooCommerce Product Table also includes a lazy load feature.

With lazy load, there's no limit to how many products you can list in the same table. However, it does change the search algorithm logic:

  • With lazy load disabled (default) WooCommerce Product Table searches all content in the table's columns. This could include custom fields, taxonomies, product attributes, etc.
  • With lazy load enabled WooCommerce Product Table searches the product name and product long description only, even if they don't exist as columns.
  • SearchWP integrationFor more advanced logic, you can use WooCommerce Product Table with SearchWP, who have provided an integration plugin.

Basically:

  • Disabling lazy loading offers the most comprehensive search, but it can cause performance issues if you're trying to include thousands of products in your search results.
  • Enabling lazy loading changes the search feature logic, but lets you include hundreds of thousands of products if needed.
Lazy loading

Or, you can create separate product tables for different product categories or tags, each with their own search box.

Supercharge the WooCommerce search with SearchWP

In the previous section, we learned about what you can search with WooCommerce Product Table - both with and without lazy load enabled. However, there is another option.

To supercharge your WooCommerce search even further, you can install the SearchWP plugin. You can use this advanced search plugin to power the WooCommerce Product Table search box. That way, you get lots of extras such as:

  • Search analytics data and statistics.
  • The ability to control exactly what product data is searchable.
  • Advanced options such as adding synonyms and misspellings.
  • Control over how to prioritize the search results.

3. Configure add to cart column

If you include an add to cart column, shoppers can add a product to their carts right from the search results page.

The Add to cart column settings let you refine how this works. You can:

  • Offer a checkbox to let shoppers select multiple products to add to their cart.
  • Add a quantity selector, which is helpful if shoppers typically purchase in bulk.
  • Choose how to handle product variations - e.g. by using a drop-down or adding each variation as a separate row in your search results.
Add to cart settings

4. Create your front-end search form

There are two ways to add product tables to your site, complete with front-end search form:

  • Enable the options in the plugin settings to automatically add product tables to all your main store pages. This will replace your store's default layout with product tables on the shop page, category pages, etc.
  • Use the [product_table] shortcode to list products anywhere you want. By default, the shortcode will let shoppers search all of your products. If you have a lot of products, though, you can also create separate search forms for different product categories or tags by adding the category or tag shortcode parameter. For example, you could use this shortcode to create a dedicated t-shirt search form - [product_table category="t-shirts"]

Either way, the WooCommerce search products form will appear above the list of products.

Tips for using Product Table as the best WooCommerce search plugin

If you'd like to further customize your WooCommerce search plugin, here are three additional tips...

1. Create "pre-searched" product tables

Another thing you can do with WooCommerce Product Table is create "pre-searched" product tables using the search_term parameter.

For example, [product_table search_term="t-shirt"] would automatically start by applying "t-shirt" as the search term.

This is helpful if you create content around a specific search term and want to automatically display those results with your WooCommerce search plugin.

2. Use a table layout with the native WooCommerce search widget

By default, WooCommerce Product Table lets you place the search box above or below the product table.

If you want to be able to include a search box in other areas of your site - like your sidebar or header - you still have the option to use the native WooCommerce search widget with your table-based search results layout.

To set this up, you'll need to enable the product table layout on product category archives. You can do this on the WooCommerce Product Table plugin settings page (WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product Tables). When you enable this option, it adds the product table layout to your product category pages and also the product search results page.

WooCommerce add product table to shop and category pages

Product Filters - WooCommerce search plugin #2

As promised, I said I'd tell you about the two best WooCommerce search plugins. So far, we've learned about WooCommerce Product Table, which lists products in a quick order form complete with instant keyword search form. The other plugin is WooCommerce Product Filters, which makes products searchable in a different way.

Instead of providing a keyword search, WooCommerce Product Filters provides pre-defined search options for customers to choose from. It does this by adding a series of filters either above the products in your store, or in the page sidebar:

WooCommerce Product Filter plugin with product count

Product filters are an excellent addition to a WooCommerce search box because there's no risk that the customer will type the wrong thing. If you let them enter their own keyword, then this may or may not match the terminology you use for your products. If they use different wording, then they'll get no results and leave your site!

On the other hand, you can avoid this problem by providing product filters. Here, customers can choose from the options that you give them.

For best results, I recommend using a WooCommerce search box as well as product filters. Different customers want different things, so this flexible approach caters for everyone.

How to add product filters to your store

It only takes a few minutes to add product filters to your store, complete with pre-defined WooCommerce search options:

  1. First, get the filter plugin and install it on your WordPress site.
  2. Next, the setup wizard will open automatically. Activate the license key that you got when you bought the plugin.
  3. Third, go to Products → Filters. This is where you add and manage filters.
  4. You'll see that a default filter group has already been created for you. Either edit this or create a new one.
  5. In the filter group, add all the filters that you like. There are loads of options - you can create filters for any type of product data, and choose from lots of different styles.
  6. Finally, you need to choose where to display the filter group. There are two options here:
    1. To display filters above the list of products, select the filter group on the plugin settings page. This will add it to the top of all your store pages.
    2. Alternatively, add filters to your store sidebar (e.g. left or right hand column) via Appearance → Widgets. Find the 'Product Filters' widget, drag it into your sidebar, and choose which group you want to display.

Using product filters with a WooCommerce search box

As I said before, for best results I recommend using product filters and a search box. Everything I've covered in this tutorial can be used together, so mix and match the different methods as needed.

For example, you can:

  • Use WooCommerce Product Filters with the default WooCommerce Search widget.
  • Add Product Filters above or alongside a product table.
  • And much more...

Install the best WooCommerce search plugin today

A quality WooCommerce search products plugin makes it easier for shoppers to find what they're interested in. As a result, they're more likely to make a purchase - leading to more sales for you.

The WooCommerce Product Table and WooCommerce Product Filters plugins offer two excellent ways to allow customers to find products more easily. They both:

  • Take just a few minutes to set up.
  • Are designed for either beginners and developers to use.
  • Come with a no-risk 30-day money back guarantee.

Use them alone or together to start offering better search in your WooCommerce store.

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