Faceted Search in uCommerce
Imagine this all-too-familiar scenario: You receive a newsletter from your favorite online clothing store announcing that they are having a sale. You click it, full of expectation for getting a ton of clothing at bargain prices. But every time you click on a product you discover that a lot of them isn't available in your size or favorite color. And every time this happens you get more and more annoyed with the shop.
As you can imagine, it doesn't take long before the user gets so annoyed with this scenario that they leave. Which not only hurts your bottom line, but also hurts how the user perceives your brand in the future.
Along comes a rapidly evolving e-commerce feature called Faceted Search, or Faceted Navigation, which helps customers match actual available products with their requirements, so they quickly and painlessly can locate what suits their needs. Which in turn greatly benefits the shops conversion rate and thus the bottom line. Facets allows the customer to "filter" product categories according to his or her specific needs, limiting the products displayed by properties like color, size, price range etc.
Faceted Search is fully implemented in our avenue clothing demo store, which you can download and play around with right away.
This means that no matter whether you are building a brand new solution based on uCommerce, or you want to implement Faceted Search in an excisting solution, you can use our demo store as a practical example on how to do this and cut away a lot of man hours on your project.
Implementing each different facet is more or less automated. In the Product Information Management part of uCommerce you already have set up a range of so called Product Definitions. These describe each type of product you have in your shop and what kind of properties these should have. For example a definition called "Shoes" that have a "Shoe Size" property, whereas "Shirts" should have both a "Shirt Size" and a "Collar Size" property.
If you want any of these properties to show up as facets when navigating a product category you just fill out a check box indicating that the property should be used as a facet, and uCommerce figures out the rest for you.
Facets and their values can even be language specific, so there is no extra administration added in a multi store or multi language setup.
Although facets are automatically generated out-of-the-box, as with everything uCommerce they can be custimized if you are not happy with the way they work. The default behaviour of each individual facet can easily be overwritten by your own code with your own logic.
For example, we auto generate facets for price ranges. But you may want to override this behavior to create your own "nice" price ranges, instead of the default ones who are often at off numbers.
Write you own .NET based code on how you want a given facet for a product property to be handled, and put it into the configuration file controlling the behaviour for Faceted Search. And now you can customize the behaviour to suit your clients and projects specifics needs.