The Best WooCommerce Search Plugin & How to Use It

By Updated: October 16, 2019

As your WooCommerce store grows, it becomes harder and harder for shoppers to find the products they’re interested in. That’s a problem, because if people can’t find the right products, they won’t be able to buy the right products. Basically, if you want to maximize your sales, you need to find the most efficient ways to connect shoppers with the products that they want to buy. A WooCommerce search plugin is one great way to do that.

In this post, you’ll learn how to use WooCommerce Product Table as a WooCommerce search plugin to create a table-based WooCommerce live search, complete with handy sort and filter options (in addition to keyword-based searches):

WooCommerce search plugin example

Ready to learn more? Here’s how to get started with a WooCommerce search plugin…

WooCommerce Product Table: The best WooCommerce search plugin

WooCommerce Product Table helps you display your WooCommerce products in a flexible table layout.

If you think about how shoppers search, this table layout makes a lot of sense. People are using search to find specific products and a table layout provides the most compact way to display products without skimping on information.

With WooCommerce Product Table, you’ll have full control over exactly what information displays in your table. You can set up your own custom column structure with your choice of:

  • Basic product information, like the title, price, SKU, and description
  • Product images
  • Categories, tags, or other custom taxonomies
  • Product attributes or other custom fields
  • Add to cart buttons

What’s more, you can add custom filter options to help shoppers further narrow down the search results. You can also let shoppers sort by any column (like sorting the price from low to high).

If you want to display full product details, you can add a product quick view button that lets shoppers see more information about any search result in a product quick view lightbox. You’ll need the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin to set this up.

Finally, WooCommerce Product Table can do all of this with Ajax, which means shoppers won’t have to reload the page when they search, sort, or filter.

The benefits of this approach are that shoppers…

  • Can see more information about each product in less space via a combination of the table layout and the product quick view.
  • Get more tools to help them find the right products.
  • Have a more convenient experience because they don’t have to reload the page each time they want to try a new search term.

Those three benefits make it easier for shoppers to find the right products at your eCommerce store, which makes it easier for them to buy the right products.

In contrast, the native WooCommerce search widget requires a page reload each time, doesn’t include filter options, and uses your theme’s regular shop page layout, which isn’t optimized for search results.

WooCommerce Product Table

The most flexible WooCommerce search plugin.

Example use cases for a WooCommerce search plugin

To demonstrate why WooCommerce Product Table makes such a good WooCommerce search plugin, let’s look at a few example use cases.

Variable products

If you’re selling variable products, you’ll be able to include all your variations right on the search results page without forcing shoppers to click through to the product single page:

Product variations in search results

Digital products

If you’re selling digital products, you can include audio players or video players right in your search results.

WooCommerce audio store

If you’re selling digital files, you can add extra information like the file format, size, etc. Or, if you’re selling eBooks, you can include other information, like the book’s author:

WooCommerce ebook store

Restaurant ordering

If you have a restaurant and are using WooCommerce as a restaurant ordering system, you can make it easy for hungry visitors to search all or some of your menu:

WooCommerce restaurant ordering system

How to set up the WooCommerce search plugin

Ready to get started with your WooCommerce search plugin? To prepare for this tutorial, you’ll first want to do two things:

  1. Purchase WooCommerce Product Table.
  2. Install and activate the WooCommerce Product Table plugin at your WooCommerce store.

Then, here’s how to set everything up…

1. Choose what information to display in search results

WooCommerce Product Table gives you full control over each column that displays in your search results, which means you can include a lot more information than the native WooCommerce search allows.

You can include:

  • Basic product details, like name, short or long description, price, SKU, category, tag, etc.
  • Product attributes
  • Product variations
  • Custom fields
  • Custom taxonomies

To choose which columns to include, open the plugin’s settings by going to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product tables.

Then, use the Columns setting to select which columns to include. View a full list of column options.

Configure columns to display in WooCommerce search

2. Choose your search logic

By default, WooCommerce Product Table uses an instant Ajax search box that lets shoppers search any column in the table.

Depending on what you configured in step one, this could include categories, tags, custom fields, etc.

However, if you have a ton of products (like into the thousands), this might cause performance issues, which is why WooCommerce Product Table also includes a lazy load feature.

With lazy load, there’s no limit to how many products you can list in the same table. However, it does change the search algorithm logic:

  • With lazy load disabled (default) WooCommerce Product Table searches all content in the table’s columns. This could include custom fields, taxonomies, product attributes, etc.
  • With lazy load enabled WooCommerce Product Table searches the product name and product long description only, even if they don’t exist as columns.

Basically:

  • Disabling lazy loading offers the most comprehensive search, but it can cause performance issues if you’re trying to include thousands of products in your search results.
  • Enabling lazy loading changes the search feature logic, but lets you include hundreds of thousands of products if needed.

If you’re not using lazy loading, you can use the Product limit setting to limit how many products to include. Or, you can create separate search forms for different product categories or tags:

Lazy loading

3. Configure add to cart column

If you include an add to cart column, shoppers can add a product to their carts right from the search results page.

The Add to cart column settings let you refine how this works. You can:

  • Offer a checkbox to let shoppers select multiple products to add to their cart.
  • Add a quantity selector, which is helpful if shoppers typically purchase in bulk.
  • Choose how to handle product variations – e.g. by using a drop-down or adding each variation as a separate row in your search results.
Add to cart settings

4. Add product filters (optional)

To help shoppers further refine their search results, the Table controls section lets you add product filters to your search results page.

You can either add filters based on the columns in your table, or you can add your own custom filters, which lets you add filters based on information that isn’t displayed in your table including:

  • WooCommerce categories
  • WooCommerce tags
  • Custom taxonomies
  • Custom fields

View a full list of custom filter options:

Search filters

These settings apply to the filters that appear immediately above the search results.

If you prefer a different approach, WooCommerce Product Table also includes its own dedicated widgets that let you add filters to any widget area. However, any filters that you add via the widgets do not use Ajax like the filters above the search results. That is, shoppers will need to reload the page to apply filters in the sidebar.

5. Create your front-end search form

To create a front-end search form for your WooCommerce search plugin, you can use the [product_table] shortcode.

By default, the shortcode will let shoppers search all of your products. If you have a lot of products, though, you can also create separate search forms for different product categories or tags by adding the category or tag shortcode parameter.

For example, you could use this shortcode to create a dedicated t-shirt search form – [product_table category="t-shirts"]

Tips for enhancing the WooCommerce search plugin

If you’d like to further customize your WooCommerce search plugin, here are three additional tips…

1. Create “pre-searched” product tables

Another thing you can do with WooCommerce Product Table is create “pre-searched” product tables using the search_term parameter.

For example, [product_table search_term="t-shirt"] would automatically start by applying “t-shirt” as the search term.

This is helpful if you create content around a specific search term and want to automatically display those results with your WooCommerce search plugin.

2. Use a table layout with the native WooCommerce search widget

By default, WooCommerce Product Table lets you place the search box above or below the product table.

If you want to be able to include a search box in other areas of your site – like your sidebar or header – you still have the option to use the native WooCommerce product search widget with your table-based search results layout.

To set this up, you’ll need to replace the existing archive-product.php page in your child theme’s folder with the modified file in this help article. You can also use CSS to adjust how the table layout looks if needed.

If you need help with this, we recommend Codeable:

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We've partnered with Codeable to provide our customers with expert help if required.

Combine WooCommerce Product Table with third-party search plugins

In addition to using the table layout with the native WooCommerce search widget, you can also use the exact same approach to integrate your table-based search results with other third-party WordPress search plugins like Relevanssi.

The advantage here is that you’re able to use different search engine logic for how to generate search results and/or include live search suggestions (like Google Autocomplete).

This approach will work with any search plugin that uses the WooCommerce default search results page.

Get started with a WooCommerce search plugin today

A quality WooCommerce search plugin makes it easier for shoppers to find the products that they’re interested in. When shoppers can find the products they want, they’re more likely to make a purchase from your store.

The WooCommerce Product Table plugin helps you create a flexible table-based search results page that…

  • Helps shoppers browse products by displaying more information about each product in less space.
  • Doesn’t require any page reloads, which creates a seamless shopping experience.
  • Can optionally include other helpful features, like filters or a product quick view from the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin.

Purchase WooCommerce Product Table today and start offering better search at your WooCommerce store:

WooCommerce Product Table

The most flexible WooCommerce search plugin.

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance WordPress writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing and WordPress. You can hire him to write for your website.

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