May 18, 2006, 12:00 AM

Analytics-enhanced site search boosts conversion rates at 4inkjets.com

Pure-play 4inkjets.com uses web analytics to fine tune site search and boost conversion. Conversion rates for analytics-enhanced site search results rose to 9.5% from 6%.

Online shoppers can easily get frustrated when a product search of an e-retailer’s site turns up countless items that shoppers then must wade through to hopefully find what they’re seeking. This kind of frustration can be the kiss of death for online retailers.

To address this challenge, 4inkjets.com has begun using web analytics to fine tune site search on its newly redesigned web site to present shoppers with a list of products that helps them more quickly find the items for which they’re hunting. The new site and site search launched April 28. 4inkjets.com is No. 285 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

The first two weeks after 4inkjets.com went live with the enhanced site search it recorded high-volume surges on numerous products, says Benjamin Chafetz, vice president of marketing.

“We changed the order in which search results appear, for example. If a search term matched two printers and returned two separate results, it would intelligently choose the more popular item, based on sales, and place it on top,” Chafetz explains. “Further, the enhanced search then seeks the various cartridges for that printer and lists them below. Conversion rates for such product searches went from 6% to 9.5%. Today the average conversion rate for the site is 7.6% compared with the previous site’s 4.7%.”

Before launching the redesigned site, the company examined high-volume and low-volume keywords along with high and low conversion rates for individual products, using analytics technology from Omniture Inc.

“Prior to the new site, the highest drop-off rate was on printer pages linked from search results. I subsequently created a rule that said in certain circumstances, depending on search terms and other factors, do not bombard shoppers with so many choices,” Chafetz says. “If someone searches for a Deskjet 700, now the new search results page includes those printers as well as relevant printer cartridges. That way, shoppers only have to go to the one search results page to see most of the items they would need for the product they’re seeking. Likewise, if, for instance, a shopper searched for a cartridge used by only three printers, the three printers come up on the search results page, too, which helps shoppers confirm on the spot that the cartridge they’re looking for is the right one.”

The company also retagged all search rules and product backgrounds with numerous variations, including product names with and without dashes. “The only way I was able to know how to make all these improvements,” he adds, “was by using web analytics.”

4inkjets.com, whose parent company is LD Products Inc., reached 2005 web sales of $16.4 million, a 58.7% jump over $10.3 million in 2004.

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