The search engine, a strategic feature of your e-shop

You have worked on the structure and contents of your catalog, put in place a detailed menu and integrated a faceted filter on your categories… But you still notice that your customers can’t always find your products and don’t use your search bar to navigate. It might be time to go for a more efficient search engine.

The default search function of PrestaShop complies with the basic needs of a consumer but, in regard to modern behaviors and requirements, this solution is not sufficient anymore.

Behavioral observations

First of all, it is necessary to identify current tendencies. The latest research on the subject are unambiguous: the search function is getting more and more importance in the way customers navigate and browse your e-shop.

Indeed, with the constant increase of online purchases on mobile devices, it is the search engine that has become the main navigation tool, at the expense of the menu (which is collapsed or invisible on smaller screens).

Moreover, many mobile consumers make inquiries of more than 2 words, which leads to precise searches.

The search function usage by the customer is therefore mature

However, studies show that these consumers are still mostly unsatisfied with the quality of results and of the user experience of searching on an e-shop.

The 4 key criteria of an efficient search function

Nowadays, regarding a search engine, visitors focus around the 4 following themes:

  • Pertinence
  • Speed
  • User experience
  • Individualized searches (filters, sorting, user-specific results)

If those four criteria are present, then conversion rates will be optimal

If you believe your web shop doesn’t reaches these objectives, do not worry! Simple and efficient solutions exist.

How to improve search efficiency

Improve the content of your catalog

  • Improve product names and descriptions
  • Add keywords or references to your products to facilitate their identification
  • Sort products in categories with precise names 

Bonus effect: all improvements to your catalog that will be beneficial to your search engine will also improve your SEO!

Do not hesitate to contact your web agency to help you optimize your catalog.

Technical solution

Obviously, there are alternatives to the default PrestaShop search engines. These can be classified in two main categories:

Solutions based on an external service

These solutions are often based on a free PrestaShop module, installed on your website, that will then be linked to an external paid service which analyzes your catalog. This external server will also be the one to respond to customer search queries instead of your own website. 


  • Reliable service and performances that do not depend on the quality of the webhosting chosen by the seller (since the server load for searches is handled by the servers of the external service provider).
  • Updates and upgrades can be implemented without having to update the client module


  • Recurring/monthly billing
  • Integration and design might be less in sync with the theme and/or overall ergonomics of the shop
  • There is a risk of discrepancy between the results displayed by the instant search (provided by the external service) and the search results of the PrestaShop internal search engine (which will be displayed when the users press “enter” or click on “search”). This behavior is due to both search engines not working in the same way. This may confuse the customer.

Internal solutions

These are PrestaShop modules (addons) that replace the PrestaShop default search engine completely.

Pretty obviously, pros and cons are reverted compared to an external service.


  • One-shot purchase (when buying the module)
  • Easy to integrate with your theme (your agency can do this for you)
  • User experience will match the one on your shop
  • Coherence between instant search results and the search results page consequent to a validation.


  • Updates are less seamless and depend on the editor of the module
  • The search engine will use the resources of the server PrestaShop is located on.

Hybrid solutions

These solutions are based on a known external search technology (elastic search, sphynx, etc.) completed by a module that will handle the interfacing with PrestaShop. Graphical integration is delegated to PrestaShop.


  • Powerful search mechanics, well known and well documented
  • Easy to integrate with your theme (your agency can do this for you)


  • Advanced search technologies might be hard to implement, set up and optimize
  • Additional costs (hosting and maintenance) 

The example of Webecologie.com

Webecologie.com has chosen to use JoliSearch advanced Search (version 4), developed by Ambris.

For this online shop of organic products, with a catalog that grows in size all the time (more than 5,000 references) and a lot of different categories (cosmetics, food, cleaning products, etc.), the search engine JoliSearch has allowed to improve the search experience and answer the customers’ needs:

  • A blazingly fast search engine (even for catalogs of more than 100,000 products)
  • An visually attractive instantaneous search
  • A modern and immersive design
  • Typo and letter inversion handling
  • In depth search results through crossings with categories and manufacturers
  • A search option to use the logical operator “AND” between words instead of “OR”

The Search Engine, a strategic function of your e-shop

For Webecologie, the benefits are clear:

  • Increase of search usage to navigate the shop
  • Growth of customer conversion rate (notably on mobile)
  • Number of products consulted are boosted and average cart size is increased

Jolisearch offers a multitude of improvements that will enhance your users’ search experience through extreme performance and enjoyable ergonomic.

You can find Jolisearch on the Addons Marketplace, as well as numerous other solutions available for your PrestaShop.

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