August 18, 2011, 11:42 AM

A head’s up for site search conversions

Helmet City’s conversions from site search surged after it fixed its product data.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Before web-only retailer Helmet City better organized its product data, its site search results often failed to direct consumers to the specific items they wanted, says CEO and owner John Uyeyama.

“In the past, our customers would call our customer service reps or they would know of a particular brand and click through each helmet listing to find that brand,” Uyeyama says, whose e-commerce site sells a wide range of racing and recreational helmets and accessories. “They might have wanted a Bell or Simpson brand helmet for auto racing, then go through each helmet listing looking for one.”

To improve how customers can find products on its e-commerce site HelmetCity.com in March deployed B7 Interactive LLC’s SearchSpring site search feature. Soon after that deployment, it worked with FindWatt, a provider of data management services, to organize its product data in a way that would enable the SearchSpring application to produce better site search results.

Now shoppers can more easily and quickly find products according to their desired specifications. And Helmet City’s conversion rates for site search users have grown sharply compared to shoppers who don’t use site search, Uyeyama says. “Before we implemented FindWatt our conversion rate was 46% higher from site search than the site average,” he says. “Since we uploaded the FindWatt data our conversion rate from site search has been 69% higher than the site average.”

Helmet City’s descriptions of each type and brand of helmet, as well as other products like protective gloves, jackets and goggles, now provide more complete sets of information, such as the level of safety rating. So an auto racing enthusiast looking for a helmet with the strongest safety features can search for helmets with a Snell SA rating, while someone more interested in getting a favorite color for riding his scooter could search for “red scooter helmet.”

The search results page, meanwhile, is now more organized with color swatches that let shoppers sort results by product color; shoppers can also sort results by such parameters as brand, type, material and safety rating.

Uyeyama notes that other improvements have also added to Helmet City’s growth in sales, which he says are just under $5 million a year. The FindWatt-organized data also supports HelmetCity.com’s Miva Merchant shopping cart and product recommendations provided on the site by Sidecar.

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