July 6, 2012, 3:31 PM

Searching for a good time

PartySuppliesDelivered.com triples conversion rates through site search.

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Live for 10 months, PartySuppliesDelivered.com is showing customers how to find fun thanks to site search and navigation features designed to learn what shoppers want, says Ian MacDonald, the retailer’s vice president of e-commerce and marketing.

Sales have been growing steadily since the party supplies site launched last fall, and a big reason for that is the site search and navigation system the retailer added to the site within a few months after launching on an e-commerce site platform from Yahoo Inc.’s Yahoo Merchant Solutions.

MacDonald, a veteran e-commerce executive, chose to deploy a site search and navigation system from SLI Systems Inc., which uses built-in “Learning Search” software to record how consumers search and shop on a retail site, then automatically serve up search and navigation results based on individual products’ click-through rates. If many site visitors searching for cowboy costumes click search result listings for a particular cowboy costume style, for example, the system would automatically start to show links to related products high in site search results.

In tests that compared shoppers who use the retailer’s site search with those that didn’t use it, PartySuppliesDelivered discovered that users converted at a rate 54% higher than non-users within the first month of deploying the new system, MacDonald says. And because the SLI system is designed to continue learning how shoppers use site search, and what links they click, to further improve search results, the conversion rate among site search users more than tripled the rate of non-users within a few months of the SLI system deployment, he adds.

In addition, shoppers who search on the site order 10% more in dollar terms than those who don’t search, and 50% fewer site visitors have abandoned site search results pages with the new site search system compared with before the system was deployed, MacDonald says.

PartySuppliesDelivered.com is one of six e-commerce sites operated by Mattress USA Inc., No. 383 in the Internet Retailer Top 500.

To learn more about site search, read the upcoming August issue of Internet Retailer.

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