Enhanced search techniques: Typos, Partials, and Numerics

📖 We updated Boost app to V3 on 19 April 2023 and it comes with several new features that we think would be interesting to you. Our new Search features focus on improving the product search experience through faster and more accurate returned results.

⚠ This article only works for Boost AI Search & Discovery V2 and above. To find out which version of our app your store's current theme is installed with, please follow this article.

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What is new in Search V3?

To make our search engine smarter and more accurate than ever, we have worked with new Natural Language Processing technologies and Machine Learning techniques side by side with faster algorithms and more efficient product queries. Through these advancements, we have come up with 3 new features that will improve your search engine capabilities: Partial Search, Typo Tolerance, and Numeric Search and Special Characters.


Partial Search

Partial search is an algorithm that analyzes user search terms and predicts potential keywords or phrases when the search terms have only been partially typed in.

For example, in the case that a user only remembers a part of a product’s name, Partial search will still be able to find the relevant results. This feature is particularly useful when a business has a large amount of product data to search from or when a product’s terms and spelling cannot be fully remembered.

Partial search works by having tokenizers break a string of characters into tokens that can be made searchable:
Tokenizer
Description
Example use case
Prefix
Creates Prefix tokens.
Searching for ball will include results for ”balloon”.
Searching for alpha will include results for “alphanumeric”.
Suffix
Creates Suffix tokens.
Searching for ball will include results for "baseball ".
Searching for metric will include results for "geometric".
Infix
Creates Infix tokens.
Searching for Metric will include results for "Asymmetrical".
Searching for Pha will include results for "Alphalux".

Typo Tolerance

Typo tolerance is an algorithm that allows a system to recognize typing errors and still output the correct spelling.
Typo tolerance is fundamental to your search engine by saving time and effort for users who make minor typing errors. If a user misspells a word, the search engine will suggest the correct spelling or provide results that match the intended word.
Additionally, it can help users with disabilities or non-standard keyboard layouts easily access your business website and search function.

💡 Boost Typo tolerance algorithms use various techniques to handle different types of errors, such as swapping adjacent letters, omitting or adding letters, or substituting similar-looking characters.


Numeric Search

Numeric search is a search algorithm that allows users to search for numerical values within a given range or with specific values.

For example, if your customer inputs a search like “dress between $70 to $100” or “sale 50%”, our search engine can easily handle this query and output accurate results.

💪 Special Characters refer to any character that is not alphanumeric, meaning any character that is not a number (0-9) or a letter (A-Z).

When it comes to Boost Search, these special characters are treated as blank spaces by default, and accents are ignored as well. For instance, if a user searches for "(shirt)", Boost would treat it as "shirt". This rule applies to all features, including Search, Synonyms, and Auto-suggest.


The benefits

  • Boost revenue and decrease bounce rate: streamlined performance on partial searches, typo tolerance, and numeric searches will minimize bounce rates and no-search-result rates, which all lead to better conversion rates and increased revenue.
  • Enhance product discoverability and findability: by having partial searches and typo tolerance on its search engine, a business remarkably increases the chances that its users will find or discover relevant products even if they haven’t fully typed out or mistyped a search term.
  • Improve user experience: A more capable search engine means greater shopper satisfaction. With more accurate results on partial search and typo tolerance, users will not find looking for items such as a chore anymore. Additionally, users who are accustomed to searching by numbers on other sites will find your store familiar and easier to find products faster.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our dedicated support team at support@boostcommerce.net.