TOP 5 Search Apps: How to Choose One That Fits Your Needs

Smart Search is something that almost all owners of e-commerce businesses either have, worked with, or sometimes just heard of. In fact, those apps are among the most popular ones on marketplaces, and for a good reason. There are several reasons for that.

In modern e-commerce, search apps are, without a doubt, vital for the success of any merchant. After all, if people can't find the thing they want, they can't buy it. Furthermore, if there are problems in the search process, or if it isn't comfortable enough for your clients, they will just go to another store. Modern buyers appreciate two things while they search for the product: speed and comfort. Search apps provide merchants with a solution that pleases clients, prompting them to return for more. However, to find that one app that will help your business prosper, you need to know its pros and cons, what it offers, and how much it costs. That's where we come in.

What Intelligent Site Search Brings to the Table

Now that we have established that search apps are crucial for e-commerce businesses, it is time to talk a little about what exactly they can give you. Here are features that any self-respecting searching solution should provide to its users:

  • Search: the foundation of any app, the relevant search will always find a product to show to the client, even if there are errors in the search query. Navigation: search results page, along with filters, are seamlessly integrated into the store. It also serves a dual purpose: for stores that concentrate on aesthetics, the focus will be on the theme adaptation, while concentration on the functionality of the store (especially one with a bug number of products) will put filters at the fore.
  • Sales enhancers: a myriad of tools that allows you to show more products while your clients browse your store and/or are in the process of checking out. Those include merchandising, Upsell and Cross-sell. Those support the search as a tool for a conversion increase.
  • Analytics: allow you to check and track users' behavior, search queries, and most requested products. This, in turn, allows you to formulate and improve your marketing strategy.
  • Integrations: integration with other apps allows you to synergize different tools to maximize their efficiency, and gives you an "all in one" solution for your store.
  • Customization: all of those features are great, but really good apps also allow you to tweak them to your specific needs, both in terms of functionality and design.

How Do I Choose the Right App?

That is a good question, and to answer that, we will need to point out that different businesses will require different solutions. For example, a store with lots of products will need an app that would be able to handle its catalog, while the store with a lot of traffic, will need an app with an unlimited amount of searches per month. The same could be said for different areas. The electronics store would need different functionality in comparison to the shop that sells clothes.

Electronics and Gadgets

Stores that fall into this category offer an interesting challenge for the app, as they need both to show-off their products, as well as represent a lot of technical characteristics. So it needs both a comprehensive filter system and flexible customization of the search results page. In addition to that, it would require an ability to create custom filters and tags, not to mention some reviews integration, as many people choose gadgets based on reviews.

If that store is also selling accessories to the gadgets and electronics, and most electronics stores do, then it would also profit from the Upsell and Cross-sell features that would recommend such items to the buyer.

Health and Beauty

In terms of Health and Beauty, those stores do not rely on imagery to sell their products. However, they do need a good navigation system, along with custom filters and tags, as many products that they sell have lots of important variables. That means that these shops don't necessarily need to invest heavily in the aesthetic parts of customization, and can put most of their effort into fine-tuning their search and navigation parts.

As with Electronics and Gadgets, they will benefit from Upsell and Cross-sell features, as those are pretty much universal across different fields.

Fashion and Apparel

In contrast to Health and Beauty, Fashion and Apparel stores don't require much in terms of filters. Basically, they need sizes, colors (and color swatches), and, sometimes, materials. What those shops need, however, is a highly customizable app. They need something eye-catching, good-looking, and not overly complex. As long as the search and the search results page look like the rest of the store, it is good.

Of course, Upsell and Cross-sell will help to sell more accessories, though merchandising to promote some of the products will also do a lot of good here.

Pros and Cons of 5 the Most Popular Search Apps

Instant Search +

Instant Search + App
Pricing model: IS+ has four subscription plans: Free, Essential ($149.99/month), Growth ($349.99/month), and Enterprise ($2500/month).

Pros: Instant Search + is an enterprise-level search solution with every functionality it entails.

It has a highly relevant and customizable search, allows you to create custom tags and filters, meshes well with your store's theme, has good synonyms search and suggestions. In addition to that, it has a self-learning automatic merchandising tool that promotes the most searched products.

Cons: Instant Search + is an enterprise-grade search solution, and its prices clearly show that. Smart Navigation and Recommendations are only available from a $349.99 plan and up. It also has restrictions on both the number of search queries per month and total products in the store (up to 40,000 products). It also saves analytics only for a time, depending on your plan, from 7 to 365 days.

Omega Instant Search

Omega Search App
Pricing model: Four subscription plans: Free, Starter ($9/month), Professional ($19/month), and Advanced ($39/month).

Pros: A storewide search, with fallback and autocomplete functions. It also allows its users to create custom filters and has good analytics. All in all, it has good functionality for a relatively small price.

Cons: The search has less relativity than the rest in this list, often comes up with 0 results page. Analytics, while powerful, are shortlived, with data kept from 7 to 90 days, depending on the subscription plan. It also has a relatively low number of total supported products in the store – 50,000 at the most expensive plan.

Product Filters and Search

Product Filters and Search App
Pricing model: It has a slider that allows you to choose the pricing based on the exact amount of products that you have. Prices start at $19/month and go up to $249/month.

Pros: It is a search app that easily merges with any shop theme, creating a seamless search results page, and a search bar. It has a relevant search along with lots of options for its filters and their customization.

Cons: There is no analytics in this app, which makes it harder to trace your customers' journey. It should also be noted that while filters in this app are superb, the search itself is not a priority for the developers. It also supports a catalog of up to 50,000 products maximum.


Algolia Search App
Pricing model: There are 4 subscription options available: Community (Free), Algolia Starter Plan ($29/month), Pro ($499/month), and Enterprise (custom price).

Pros: It is another Enterprise app, which shows in the functionality and quality. It includes a storewide search, allows full monitoring of all of the store's operations, has deep and powerful analytic tools, allowing for better planning and implementing of marketing campaigns. A really secure app (login only through the API keys), while also allowing for deep customization of searchable attributes and custom rankings (used to order your results by a metric that is important for your business).

Cons: Despite that, there are also some issues with Algolia, as there is no smart navigation (catalog filters), and no custom search results page. While the latter allows to better work with any store theme, it also limits search results functionality. As Algolia is very complex, it also requires an experienced user to properly install it, so most people need to hire someone who can do that for them. And the sharp increase in the pricing that gates the most of useful features makes it hard to recommend Algolia for starters and small businesses.


Searchanise Application
Pricing model: Now, Searchanise has 6 subscription plans: Free, four subtypes of a PRO plan ($9, $18, $27, and $54), and an Advanced plan, starting from $189.

Pros: A really versatile search solution, that offers much for a reasonable price. It has a full-text relevant search, all-time analytics, built-in synonym dictionaries, autocorrections, and suggestions. In terms of navigation, it has a Smart Navigation system, allowing to show filters in catalogs, customizable filters, a Search Results Widget, and recommendation blocs. Not to mention that it allows it's PRO users to order customizations from the app's dev team. But the best feature, in our opinion, is a big number of integrations, from review apps to multicurrency and multilanguage support. All in all, it allows its users a good amount of versatility, while not being too hard on their wallet.

Cons: Searchanise not always manages to mesh with the color scheme of the store, though it became better at this lately. Search Results Page replaces the default one from the store's theme. It works on simple designs but may cause problems on storefronts with a complex design, so make sure that you can adapt it to your store.


With all that said and done, we come to the main conclusion of our article: you need to choose the search app which is the most compatible with the goals and needs of your business. With provided materials and advice, you will surely be able to find the one search to rule them all. Just take into consideration your current needs, the rate of growth and plans for expansion, and your profits, and choose something that suits you best. We hope that this piece will help you with that. Stay tuned for more helpful articles later on!
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“Rock solid performance! I wish we knew about this app a year ago! The intuitive nature of the searches and speed of information make this a perfect app for our web store.”
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"The app really adds value to our shop. The search works 100X better than the default Shopify search and puts us in the same league as the big players. Awesome app!!"
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"Works great for our needs!
The Searchanise plugin/service excels where other leading (and much more expensive) search providers have fallen short on our site. We have over 17,000 products and this plugin indexes them flawlessly and creates a top-notch search experience for our customers. Really pleased that we found this one."
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"The results are fantastic.
We use it on many customers and they are all satisfied. It greatly enhances Magento's search."
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My last hope was to try Searchanise. I was, and I am still amazed! The search results are PERFECT! The sync speed is AMAZING without bags or delays. And I have never seen such great support. The Searchanise App is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I really hope someday to find again such a nice team and support."
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"Searching for a Search app? Try Searchanise. We are totally impressed, works great, it's faster than the default BC search and looks gorgeous in our shop - it's form and function! Supported by wonderful people. Many thanks to Alexey and the team! Excellent app and awesome team"
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"I could say a lot of great things about this add-on, but I think this one line suffices; adding the Searchanise feature to your store is one of the most important and rewarding decisions you will make for your business and customers. Not to mention, the team is an absolute delight to work with, namely Angelina Morozova!"
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