Problem: Organize.com sought to merchandise its site search results.
Solution: It employed a site search software platform.
Results: Online orders increased 60 percent in the first month.
When Organize.com first employed an onsite search program in 1999, officials at the company believed the Yahoo! solution they implemented was state-of-the-art. Fast forward to the middle of 2005, and what was once a top-of-the-line technological breakthrough had become obsolete. Search results often were randomly displayed, and Organize.com was unable to track whether customers were using search to purchase.
Organize.com wanted a solution that allowed its merchandisers to be able to decide which products were most relevant to customers’ searches, says Kevin Watts, director of e-commerce for the Riverside, Calif.-based organizational products cataloger.
In seeking a replacement solution, Watts in fall 2005 ran a live, 60-day trial of a search platform that determined the relevance of search results based on the number of clicks a particular result received. The more customers clicked on a given product, the higher it appeared in search results.
But there was a problem: It didn’t work. “The technology behind the trial was impressive, but we didn’t notice a big change from what we were doing with Yahoo!,” Watts recalls. “We wanted the ability to put our best sellers right up front.”
Sent back to the drawing board, Watts focused his attention on search solutions that would allow Organize.com to “get [its] hands dirty and actually merchandise the results of the search.” Further research brought Organize.com to Mercado Software, which promised Watts the ability to create his own business rules for every potential keyword customers might use.
In mid-November 2005, Watts charged Mercado with launching the solution by January 2006. He provided the vendor with a product data feed in comma separated value (CSV) file format, which Mercado then used to create a searchable database that was standardized across product categories.
Once the product was in place, Watts’ team was able to view searches for particular keywords and determine if the results provided the most relevant results for consumers. Using the Web-based dashboard, Watts says he’s able to override results for a chosen keyword, placing best sellers at the top of the list, even if those best sellers would otherwise appear far down in the results or not at all. This ability proved useful this past November when an article in the Wall Street Journal mentioned an Organize.com product by an alternate name.
“We noticed people were searching for the product using the name from the article, so we tweaked the results for that keyword,” Watts remembers. “Sales went through the roof for that item, and we sold out in a day.”
Any changes Watts and his two merchandisers make to the system go live immediately. And to keep the search results current with product inventory, Organize.com updates the product data feed twice a day.
Monthly costs for the solution run between $3,000 and $5,000, but Watts says the increase in online sales allows the product to pay for itself.
Having gone live on Jan. 10, 2006, the solution increased online orders by 60 percent over January 2005. Watts credits Mercado’s site search with that increase, as well as the commensurate increase in revenue of 57 percent.