February 15, 2007, 12:00 AM

As it adds SKUs, WineEnthusiast.com also increases site search conversions

When it expanded its product line by 30%, WineEnthusiast.com was concerned that its old site search function wouldn’t keep up. But a new search tool has led to a 20% increase in the number of site search users who make a purchase, the e-retailer says.

When it expanded its product line by 30%, WineEnthusiast.com was concerned that its old site search function wouldn’t keep up. But a new search tool has led to a 20% increase in the number of site search users who make a purchase, Glenn Edelman, senior director of online marketing and merchandising, tells InternetRetailer.com.

“Under our old site search, a ‘no results found’ page used to be one of the most common pages on our site,” Edelman says.

One of the biggest problems was an inability to handle misspelled product and brand names, such as the merchant’s popular Riedel brand of wine glasses. “We couldn’t even handle Reidel, with an e-i instead of i-e,” Edelman says. “So we knew that if we wanted to expand our product line, we needed a better way to organize our product information.”

Wine Enthusiast expanded its product line in November 2005, adding more private label brands to its selections of wine racks, cabinets, glassware and related items. At the same time, it also launched a new site-search-and-navigation application from Endeca Technologies Inc. and realized an immediate improvement in the number of sales from customers who used site search, Edelman says.

“The tool allows our customers to find products incredibly well,” he says. “We saw an immediate spike in site search conversions.”

So far, Wine Enthusiast is using the search and navigation components of the Endeca tool, but is also looking at how it will implement the tool’s merchandising features to add more shopping options to search results, Edelman says.

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