May 19, 2005, 12:00 AM

How Tower Records plans a second boost in conversions through site search

When Tower Records deployed a new site search feature a year and a half ago, it saw an immediate 50% boost in conversion rates. Now it expects a new customer-segmenting version to boost conversions again, vice president of e-commerce Kevin Ertell says.

When Tower Records deployed a new site search feature a year and a half ago, it saw an immediate 50% boost in conversion rates. Now it expects a new customer-segmenting version to boost conversions again, vice president of e-commerce Kevin Ertell tells InternetRetailer.com.

Tower first deployed the Commerce Search and Navigation site search application from Mercado in 2003, and quickly saw a 50% rise in conversion rates due to more relevant search results, Ertell says. But now he wants to raise the bar again, and expects to see another large increase in conversion rates by personalizing search results and complementary merchandising offers. “Our goal is to increase conversion rates one percentage point, for about a 40% increase,” Ertell says.

Tower is now deploying Mercado’s CSN v. 3.0 to use the application’s business rules for tying particular merchandising offers and search results to different customer segments. When a customer searches on TowerRecords.com with a particular keyword, the new CSN search tool will produce results and merchandising offers according to the segment identified by the customer’s purchasing history, Ertell says.

“It gives us the ability to target merchandising right in site search, which we find is the most powerful place to do it,” Ertell says. “The idea is not only to have merchandising for effective for sales, but to make the site more relevant to the customers and save them time from having to keep searching.”

Reaching that full capability will take about four months to integrate the new Mercado site search with Tower’s customer databases. Tower is segmenting its customer data into groups based on purchasing histories with BeNow, a database marketing company that provides a web-based tool for accessing and analyzing aggregated customer data, Ertell says.

 

 

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