What is the difference between a search and a request?

What is the difference between a search and a request?

If you’re looking to add search to your eCommerce store, you’ve probably come across the terms search and request. They’re often mentioned in pricing plans and are key aspects to how a tool like Motive Commerce Search works. So, what’s the difference between them both?

The basics of search vs request

A search is a query entered by a customer. It’s the information that they input into the search box to get a result. In the very first search engines, a user typed what they were looking for and hit the search button. Once that button was clicked, a transfer of information happened and a request was sent to the server to retrieve the results. 

The search was Red Dress, and the request was asking the server to show all the results for Red Dress.

Today, when the customer makes this same search, they’re shown lots of results of different styles, sizes, brands etc of red dresses. And, as the customer starts to refine their search, they might click on the filter for medium. When they do this a request is sent to the server to display all the results with this filter. They might then click on another filter for brand, which sends a second request to the server. In this way, we can see that one search may in fact have multiple requests associated with it.

Searching with instant results

Today, search engines have more advanced features than their early counterparts. There are trending searches, predictive searches and instant searches; which give you results while you type. Motive Commerce Search gives shoppers instant results, which creates a more dynamic shopping experience and reduces the steps needed for a customer to find what they’re looking for.

Providing instant results brings with it another question: If the customer never clicks a ‘search’ button, what is counted as a search and what is counted as a request?

The importance of search intentions

If you type or delete fast enough when using the search box on Motive Commerce Search, it will wait until you finish typing to show results. But as you know, not everyone comes from the Mavis Beacon school of typing. 

If you end up typing too slow or grandpa typing as they say, then each letter will send a new request. Requests are also sent as you scroll for more results, as well as if you sort or filter the search results. If you're paying by requests, these small actions can quite quickly become very costly. That’s why we don’t charge by requests.

Grouping searches by intention

With Motive Commerce Search, we see those requests and group them into what we think is a customer’s search intent. We do this because an intention to find something when searching may include a lot of requests. 

As an example, let's say your customer is searching for LED lights. They might type the word lite into the search bar, realise their mistake, delete -te and add -ght instead. That is a request. 

Let’s imagine they don’t see what they’re looking for in the initial results, so start using filters, maybe clicking on the category for LED. That’s also a request. 

Once the customer sees results they might filter by brand or simply add LED as an extension to their search in the search box. Each of these actions would be another request. 

At Motive, we think it’s important to identify what the customer is actually trying to find, not how many requests they're making. That’s why it’s important to also define the search intention. If you’re using Motive Commerce Search, a new search intention begins if your customer fully clears the search bar, either by pressing the "clear" button or by pressing the delete key. 

By choosing an option that charges by searches and not requests, you’re only paying for what you and your customers really care about: searching and finding and not all the little steps en-route

Find the perfect balance for your shop

Different sized shops have different needs, and understanding the relationship between searches and requests will help you choose the best plan for your shop. Search engines have evolved, and how they’re priced should evolve too. We don’t want great features like instant results and filters costing you more than you need to pay. 

Searches vs requests are just some of the ways Motive Commerce Search provides your shoppers with a dynamic shopping experience. To discover more about our other great features, check out our knowledge hub or get in touch.