Semantic Search for Shopify: Everything You Need To Know

Doki Nguyen
Jun 14, 2024
3 min read

On the eCommerce product discovery journey, finding the information you seek can sometimes feel like a daunting task.

Traditional search engines often fall short when you can't quite pinpoint the right keywords or phrases to uncover precisely what you're looking for. Instead, you're easily left confused with irrelevant search results that don't align with your true intent.

Imagine if your shoppers type and find “laptop cover” on your store, but the top results also present “phone cover” because “cover” is a part of their search query.

This simple mistake for sure won’t leave your shoppers a good impression of your brand’s reputation, especially in the case you call your store a “Smart Gadget 24/7” - yet the search logic is not that very smart.

But fear not; there's a solution on the horizon – enter the fascinating world of semantic search.

With the recent release of Shopify semantic search in the Winter ‘24 Edition, let’s dive into the realm of eCommerce semantic search - where your search meets what you’re thinking about.

What is semantic search?


Semantic search in eCommerce is a search approach that focuses on understanding the meaning and context of user queries rather than solely relying on keyword matching.

With traditional search, if a shopper searches for "comfortable running shoes," the search engine would typically match products with those exact keywords or broad matching keywords. However, with semantic search, the engine goes beyond the specific terms and comprehends the customer's intent.

In this case, the semantic search engine recognizes that the user is looking for running shoes that prioritize comfort. It intelligently presents a range of products that meet the customer's criteria, even if they don't explicitly mention "comfortable" in their search query.

By leveraging semantic analysis, the engine understands the underlying context and delivers relevant results, ensuring a more accurate and satisfying shopping experience.

Because it understands the context and intent behind search queries, semantic search revolutionizes online shopping by delivering highly personalized and relevant results, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and engagement.

Is Semantic Search AI-powered Search?

Short answer: Yes.

Semantic search is a type of AI-powered search. It employs natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence techniques to comprehend user queries in a human-like manner.

By considering context, word relationships, and overall meaning, semantic search delivers highly accurate and relevant results, enhancing the search experience with its advanced understanding of user intent.

Semantic search leverages NLP techniques to ensure search queries and content are analyzed in a way that captures their true meaning and context, leading to improved accuracy and relevance in search results.

Semantic Search vs. Keyword Search

Semantic Search and Keyword Search differ in their approach and output. Let’s look at the comparison:

Semantic SearchKeyword SearchHow it worksUtilizes AI, natural language processing, and context analysis to understand query meaning and intent.Relies on exact keyword matching and basic word-matching algorithms.OutputProvides highly relevant and personalized results based on understanding query context and intent.Offers results based on the presence of exact keywords without considering broader context.Customer ExperienceEnhances customer experience with more accurate and tailored search results.May produce generic or irrelevant results if keywords are not an exact match.DifferencesSemantic search focuses on understanding context and intent, delivering more precise results.Keyword search relies solely on matching keywords, potentially leading to less accurate results.

Despite the similarity in aiming to retrieve relevant information for user queries and serving as a search method to find information, semantic search offers a more advanced and intuitive search experience by understanding the meaning behind user queries than the traditional keyword search, resulting in improved relevance and customer satisfaction.

Semantic Search in Shopify

You may be familiar with Shopify Magic, a free AI suite of features seamlessly integrated into Shopify, empowering your business growth. The current stack of tools by Shopify Magic are:

  • Automatic text generation
  • Sidekick
  • Media generation
  • App review summaries
  • Predicted values for amount spent per customer

Shopify’s sidekick

This February, the company is introducing a semantic search tool, building upon Shopify's successful experimentation with generative AI-based tools.

What’s inside Shopify semantic search?

Shopify’s new semantic search serves the main function as we’ve discussed above: to understand search queries by user intent instead of word meaning solely like conventional search.

How does it work?

Enhancing the traditional keyword-based search approach, Shopify's semantic search takes it a step further by incorporating semantics to grasp the true intent of customers' queries.

By leveraging both text and image data of your products, this feature intelligently determines relevance, ensuring a more precise match between search terms and customer needs.

It's important to note that Shopify’s semantic search does not apply to predictive search but rather focuses on enhancing the search experience by understanding the underlying meaning and context of customer queries.


Image source: Shopify


At present, the feature is only accessible on the storefront search exclusively for Plus merchants operating English storefronts and having fewer than 200,000 products.

To benefit from semantic search, your store must rely on Shopify's native search results. If you're utilizing search syntax or an app to generate search outcomes, the output of semantic search may not be visible.

Semantic Search in Boost AI Search & Discovery

Semantic search is also an AI-powered search tool built in Boost AI Search & Discovery.

Boot’s semantic search excels at processing natural language queries, accommodating synonyms, handling misspellings, and leveraging contextual cues to deliver highly relevant and accurate search results.

By understanding the nuances of language and context, your store’s search now is greatly enhanced with the search experience for all shoppers regardless of their search style or device.


To leverage the power of Boost’s semantic search and help you gain the maximum performance of your onsite eCommerce search tool, Boost also provides you with the following search-monster tools that go hand in hand in our app:

  • AI synonyms
  • Searchable fields
  • Partial search
  • Scoped search
  • Typo tolerance
  • Numeric Search & Special Characters
  • Manual Synonyms
  • Search Merchandising

Experience the power of Semantic Search in Boost app!

semantic search performance

*number based on 574 stores

Since the rollout of this feature, we've witnessed remarkable enhancements in our eCommerce performance. By comparing key metrics from the pre-launch and post-launch periods, we've observed a clear and significant impact:

“Our Click-Through Rate (CTR) surged by an impressive 32.66%, from 3.51% to 4.67%, indicating more effective engagement with search results. Additionally, the Conversion Rate (CR) experienced a noteworthy increase of 11.51%, rising from 1.017% to 1.198%, demonstrating higher purchase intentions among users.”

Jamie, Product Manager

Boost AI Search & Discovery

These performance indicators strongly signal a promising upward trend in customer engagement and conversion rates, using our Semantic search feature. It's exciting to see the positive impact of our refined AI-driven search capabilities on your stores.

Sell right where your shoppers search with Boost’s outstanding semantic search!

Maximize your sales potential by leveraging built-in Boost's semantic search, allowing you to immediately get what’s in shoppers’ minds right when they hit search!

Try Free Now

What now? Next steps for your eCommerce business

Embrace the demand to communicate with shopper’s search

When a shopper seeks a product in your store, your search engine faces the dual challenge of comprehending this user's intent and matching it with data that best fulfills that intent.

Hence, semantic search is here and aims to bridge the gap between search algorithms and the product results they generate, ensuring a closer alignment with the needs and preferences of your shoppers.

As a store owner, you should make a move and implement a semantic search in your store to embrace this ongoing technology trend.

Everyone else is doing it. Without doubts.

To drive conversion growth for your eCommerce store, prioritizing intelligent intent understanding is crucial, with semantic search at the forefront of building a robust site search, as conventional keyword-matching results are no longer sufficient.

What if I don’t use AI search or semantic search?

Providing a subpar search experience not only disappoints users but also has far-reaching consequences.

When visitors encounter outdated search technology on an eCommerce website, it not only falls short of their basic expectations but also tarnishes their perception of the overall experience.

As a result, they may not return to the site and worse, could even express their dissatisfaction on other platforms, such as their community group or personal channel on social media, leading to negative feedback and potential revenue loss for your business.

Prioritizing a modern and efficient search experience is vital to attracting and retaining customers, fostering positive brand perception, and driving sustainable revenue growth.

Get started with Boost AI Search & Discovery

Dive into Boost’s 14-day free trial and give it a whirl to witness firsthand how Boost’s semantic search can work its magic to enhance your store’s search performance as well as conversion.

But hey, implementing new tools sometimes feels like navigating a treacherous maze. Fear not! Our team of eCommerce search specialists is here to guide you through.

Request a free demo or Try Free Now, and let our team show you how to unleash the true power of Boost’s AI search.

Doki Nguyen
Content Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
3 min read