New feature: Product Search Filters
Recently, a client came to Corevist with a problem. One of their biggest customers said, “If you want our business, we need to be able to order your products online.” We actually wrote about this in an earlier blog post.
So, we set about to help this client launch an SAP-integrated B2B eCommerce site. But there were just a couple issues:
- Issue #1 – They didn’t want a traditional online “catalog.” No pictures, no pithy product descriptions. Just a simple product ordering interface.
- Issue #2 – Online users want to search and filter products. It’s just what they do. But, our client’s product data in SAP was not grouped or categorized in a way that made searching and filtering possible.
“With the data our client provided, the basic, built-in search feature would work well if users knew a specific product or material number,” says Noah Scribner, Corevist’s Magento Practice Manager. “But there was no way to narrow search results. Plus, not every user happens to know specific materials numbers, so they wouldn’t be able to search on anything.”
“For example, if you wanted to search within ‘fiber cables’ for a six-foot cable with a specific kind of connector and fiber count, there wasn’t a way to do that with the existing data and functionality.”
“Our first thought was to create a solution by developing some custom code. But that’s an extremely time intensive effort, so we looked for ways to solve this problem using tools already at our disposal. And that’s when we started looking at what Magento could do for us.”
“Even though this wasn’t a full blown catalog, we realized that we could leverage the power of Magneto to filter and search for products.”
“The client had attributes already built into their product names. So we were able to take those attributes and provide a filter for those products using Magento and a Magento extension. So now, you can go in and select cable lengths, fiber count, connector type, etc., and drill down until you get to a smaller subset of products.”
“Since we’re using the client’s existing attributes, which they’ve already defined in their SAP data, there’s a lot less work creating these filters.”
“Now if they were to add another attribute, it would have to be in the SAP data first and we would have to adjust the data import to populate that attribute and display it on the Magento side. We’d be making essentially one change, which is to accept that attribute from the import, and then testing it to make sure the attribute displays on the sidebar. Once the import is created, these changes are relatively minor.”
“Because we’re able to leverage Magento’s extension and functionality, we’re able to provide a better search experience with minimal time investment. It’s a much more scalable solution, because we’re not looking at a custom coding SOW every time a change needs to be made.”
“In short, we were able to give our client the search functionality they needed without the the cost, time and energy it takes to create a traditional online catalog. And since it’s built with Magento, they have the base infrastructure there, should they want to expand later into a full blown catalog.”
This feature is still being fully tested, but we’re looking forward to rolling it out as part of our core product soon. Contact us for more information.
About “Behind the Scenes”
As a fast-growing technology company, we’re faced with new opportunities and challenges almost every day. Our response to those events often creates interesting stories (certainly for us and we hope for you).
This series was created to capture and share a “backstage” look at the ways we’re working to scale the company, evolve our services, and respond to the demands of the marketplace. We hope that our customers, partners and friends find value in our efforts to be transparent.