Grainger emphasizes search engine marketing, targeted e-mail s, and mining online data.
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The company as a whole has experienced double-digit growth in the past five years, and the recent improvements in internal search have doubled the web site’s conversion rate and increased the average order by $80 to $100.
The biggest challenge was getting its database clean enough for Mercado and Fireclick to work their magic, Mills says. “That’s what they don’t tell you in the pitch-the data has to be clean,” he says. Ten of Jamestown’s 40 employees work on the web site full time, and it took eight months to launch the new information display after the company had purchased the Mercado product.
Mills likes the “closed loop” nature of the optimization program. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed by analytics, but it’s all about following the numbers-deciding which ones are important and using them to make decisions,” he says. “Eventually we ought to get to the level where the system can make all the decisions on its own, and the site is self-healing.”
Elizabeth Gardner is a Riverside, Ill.-based freelance business writer.