March 6, 2008, 12:00 AM

New site search lights the path to products at furniture retailer NFM.com

Nebraska Furniture Mart cuts complaints from shoppers who can’t find what they want and boosts customer feedback with a new site search and customer feedback application.

Nebraska Furniture Mart has significantly reduced complaints from shoppers who could not find what they wanted on NFM.com and increased customer feedback about their search experience on the site since deploying a new site search and customer feedback application, Internet marketing manager Jeff Douglas says.

The retailer has deployed SLI Systems Inc.’s Learning Search and Feedback Tool, a hosted service that replaces NFM.com’s former internally built site search tool. Data that site operators pull from reports generated by Learning Search also provides insights, based on what search terms visitors use and what they click on, about what items NFM.com should add to inventory or increase in inventory, Douglas says. “Knowing what search terms are used on our site and what products generate interest is really useful to our marketing and merchandising efforts,” he adds.

For example, Douglas says, prior to implementing SLI, NFM.com, which sells not only furniture but appliances and electronics, didn’t know how popular the Microsoft Zune player was among its customers. “Without that search data we were missing out on a big opportunity to sell this product to our visitors, as we hadn’t yet added it to our site,” he says.

Douglas adds that the new site search tool also shows which search terms don’t generate good results, which suggests what products on the site need to be replaced and what product descriptions need to be altered so as to better match search terms. “None of this information was provided by our internally developed search tool, and as a result our marketing efforts weren’t as effective as they could have been,” he adds.

Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems, notes that the hosted search offering gives retailers such as NFM.com more time to focus on core competencies and critical marketing activities. “They give us an initial data feed and after that, they can sit back and watch the search work for them,” he says.

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