Nextopia vs SearchSpring: Best Enterprise Site Search Solutions
Enabling an advanced site search on your eCommerce website is vital for maintaining a good conversion rate and making the user experience on your store the best that it can be. When it comes to deciding on a site search solution for your enterprise-level online store, two of the most popular options are Nextopia and SearchSpring. So, how do these two solutions stack up against each other, and which should you choose for your online store? Let’s take a look at their full lists of features and determine the best option for your business.
Based in Toronto since 1999, Nextopia is an enterprise-level eCommere site search solution that brings search, navigation, and merchandising solutions to internet retailers. Some of their most notable clients are Gerber, Noritake, and BenQ.
Nextopia offers one pricing plan at $395 a month, and offers no free trial. However, you can get a personalized quote for your business that may change this monthly amount. Although there is no free trial, you can apply for a free demo of the service.
Site Search Features
Nextopia’s site search offers a wide variety of “smart” features that are meant to optimize and enhance searching on your online store. Their adaptive search algorithm is able to automatically rank your best performing results based on consumer behavior, and brings searchers optimized results that include products, blogs, videos, and user-guide information if you so choose. Nextopia also uses dynamic filters that include fully customizable attributes and refinements, such as size, color, brand, ratings, and reviews.
In the realm of autocomplete, Nextopia offers an enhanced version that shows the searcher visual product matches as they’re typing, as well as partial term and SKU matching. Their search also has “Sounds like” or “Did you mean” suggestions to prevent a zero results page, enabled with error-tolerant fuzzy matching so even typos will garner search results. In the same vein, Nextopia gives you the option to customize synonym matching and to create custom synonym maps, establishing equivalences between words that should bring up the same results when searched.
Nextopia comes with all of the basic necessary navigation features that you may want in a site search. This includes fully customizable dynamic filters on any page, custom sorting based on any metric, and sorting by price, color, brand, category, ratings, gender, sizes, styles, and more.
For visual merchandising, Nextopia provides you with a good amount of tools at your disposal to get the most out of your products in search results. You’re able to control product promotions and which products are shown first in search results with merchandising rules, promoting by keyword triggers, specific categories, SKU, attributes, and geographic location. Geo-merchandising actually can go further than that, allowing you to create rules for geographically oriented search results, communications, and product promotions. Additionally, you can control redirects for non-product searches, directing visitors to the URL of your choice (contact page, shipping information, checkout, etc.).
Nextopia comes equipped with a landing page builder, allowing you to create customized landing pages for keyword-driven product promotions, emails, PPC campaigns, and more via a drag-and-drop interface. You can also create custom promotional banners that are keyword-triggered, letting you add graphics and custom HTML to campaigns with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. On top of this, you also have the option to add promotional badges to products to highlight items with graphics that say “hot,” “new,” or other merchandising terms of your choice.
Reporting & Analytics
Nextopia’s offering for reporting and analytics is relatively limited, only offering about four main categories of insights. You’re able to see top searches, zero results found searches, poorly performing results, and keyword discovery reports. While these features are helpful to guide you towards any strategic changes you should make, they’re not expansive enough to compete with the likes of Google Analytics, so you might as well use Google’s feature for site search insights as well if you decide to go with Nextopia.
While Nextopia may be slightly lacking in a few features, that isn’t to say that they don’t have unique aspects that make them stand out from other site search solutions. Nextopia offers a personalized 1:1 search results and product recommendations feature, which uses an individual searcher’s browsing history and shopping behavior to give them unique results and recommendations. As we’ve already discussed, Nextopia’s geo-targeting feature is a notable unique asset, allowing you to not only serve search results that are based on geographic location, but also give users fully-customizable location based messaging, campaigns, banners, and regional promotions.
Designed for enterprise-level online stores, SearchSpring is an eCommerce site search solution that focusses on automating and simplifying all business processes related to on-site search, from analytics to merchandising. Some of their biggest clients include Bethesda Game Studies, Volcom, and Alternative.
SearchSpring costs more than Nextopia, starting at $499.95 a month. However, you can get a custom quote that may change this amount depending on the size of your business. Like Nextopia, there is no free trial, but you can apply for a free demo to check out the service.
Site Search Features
SearchSpring offers a lot of the same site search solutions that Nextopia does, but with their own particular twist on a few features. Their service is equipped with “Did you mean” suggestions, in addition to search suggestions that suggest the most popular queries on your site that partially match the current search. SearchSpring also offers customized synonym and stemming maps, query replacements for typos, fuzzy search typo tolerance, and natural language processing to determine customer search intent and context. All of these features operate in an effort to garner the most relevant results and avoid the “no results” page. If a searcher does happen upon a zero results page, you can customize that to say whatever you’d like, or to redirect to a custom landing page.
For autocomplete, SearchSpring offers a similar feature to Nextopia, where users will see a predictive visual autocomplete module that pops up as they’re typing their search term. Their search also will suggest any products with names or SKUs that partially match the current search, and allows you to define which product fields can be searchable. SearchSpring’s program is quite advanced and open, with the ability to analyze product information to determine its attributes, and access to a search preview to see how their algorithm works and how it ranks products.
SearchSpring has a much more comprehensive list of navigation features available when compared to Nextopia. You’re able to manually set facet orders, choose from a variety of facet types (multi-select, grid boxes, palette options, sliders, images), utilize dynamically ordered facet fields depending on the page context, and give shoppers the necessary sorting options (price, date, size) that you can customize.
However, SearchSpring gets more advanced by enabling auto-eliminating empty facets, only showing relevant facets, giving you the ability to drag and drop facet order, and allowing you to manage custom pinned facets.
SearchSpring offers a decent amount of merchandising tools that you can use and customize for various promotional purposes related to your site search. Like Nextopia, you have the ability to create custom landing pages that are made from hand-picked product listings, as well as add a rich banner at the top of the page. However, landing pages are unique with SearchSpring in that you can schedule them to only appear at a certain date and time, and to last for a specific amount of time. You can also customize redirect pages, deciding which pages certain keywords will redirect the searcher to (contact, checkout, shipping).
Campaigns can be highly edited and customized to fit your needs with SearchSpring, allowing you to customize product positions with a drag-and-drop editor or enable dynamic re-ordering based on merchandising rules. You can bulk upload products to your campaign pages, schedule campaigns for a specific date and time, and set up custom campaign triggers that take effect in various shopper scenarios. Facets can also be manually set, shown, or hidden based on specific category pages, just like you can do with specific products on result pages.
Reporting & Analytics
SearchSpring’s reporting and analytics features are much beefier than Nextopia’s, offering a wider range of specific reports to get to the bottom of what’s working and what isn’t with your store’s search. You can analyze overall search activity, which breaks down which queries came from shoppers, search engines, or custom IP address groups. You can also generate a number of highly specific reports, including:
· Zero Results Reports
· Keywords Reports
· Filters Reports
· Sorts Reports
· “Did you mean” Reports
· Referral Reports
· Product Performance Overview and Insights
· Category Insights
· Search Insights
· Popular Searches with Automatic Search Downgrade Triggers
SearchSpring also lets you look at revenue impact, which shows you how much each SearchSpring feature contributes to purchases and conversions. Additionally, SearchSpring can hold up to 2 years’ worth of insights and reporting data for you to analyze and gain information from.
The most unique feature that SearchSpring boasts about is it’s IntelliSuggest Algorithm, which has a hand in each of its feature categories.
· IntelliSuggest Tracking records clicks, views, items added to cart, and purchases that happen on your store.
· IntelliSuggest Elevations pushes 10 products to the top of the results page of your 5,000 most popular search terms based on product engagement for each specific query, all based on customers’ actions.
· IntelliSuggest Product Recommendations enable automatic upselling and cross-selling.
· IntelliSuggest Product Insights gives you high level and granular views of how products are performing.
Note: IntelliSuggest Product Recommendations and Product Insights are both add-on features that come at an extra cost.
SearchSpring also offers a unique feature in their offering of Product Discovery Tools, which are designed to help customers find products that they may be interested in based on products they’re looking at already. These tools include products that other customers have also viewed or bought, which may be related and have high chances of conversion. You have the additional option to use the Product Finder, which asks customers questions or gives them facets to help them what they’re looking for. Similarly, you can enable Guided Selling, which asks questions to narrow down a filtered group of choices that are appropriate for the specific customer.
Both Nextopia and SearchSpring are extremely competent on-site search solutions designed for enterprise online stores that have over 500 products and make around $2 million and $5 million in yearly revenue. Obviously, SearchSpring is more expensive than Nextopia, but this is most likely due to the fact that it’s service offers more robust options in several categories. You can see this in SearchSpring’s wider variety of facet options for navigation, and it’s clearly more advanced reporting and analytics feature set. Both Nextopia and SearchSpring have their own unique features that may or may not make your decision easier; if your store absolutely needs geographically-based search results and targeting, your best bet would be Nextopia. On the other hand, if you’re pulled to the advanced IntelliSuggest algorithm and Product Discovery Tools of SearchSpring, you may be willing to spend the extra money on their program.
At the end of the day, these two programs are very similar in site search capabilities, and you get what you pay for with either one. If your enterprise business can budget to spend a little more on a search solution, we recommend SearchSpring due to its more robust selection of features and powerfully advanced algorithms.