Katie Evans , Senior Editor
Leading Riding Apparel and Tack E-Commerce Site Improves Relevance of Results through Intuitive Learning Search Service
CUPERTINO, CA – September 15, 2008 – SLI Systems (www.sli-systems.com), a provider of on-demand, intelligent search (www.sli-systems.com) services for Internet and e-commerce sites, today announced that Dover Saddlery (Nasdaq: DOVR) has selected its hosted site search offering to deliver better results to site visitors’ queries.
Founded in 1975 by two U.S. Olympic equestrian team riders, Dover Saddlery sells fine English riding apparel, tack and horse care supplies through retail stores, a mail-order catalog and its e-commerce site which was launched in 2000. Offering thousands of products for the avid equestrian, Dover Saddlery sought to improve their onsite search to increase the relevance and overall quality of search results. In particular, many “long-tail” (http://blog.sli-systems.com/2006/03/does-site-search-have-a-tail.html/) terms – search terms used less frequently but that have higher conversions – were difficult to monitor and ensure search results, according to Anne Coyne, E-Commerce director.
After an exhaustive search for a better solution, Dover Saddlery chose to trial SLI’s Learning Search hosted site search (http://www.sli-systems.com/site-search.php) offering, based in part on the recommendation of its e-commerce platform and hosting provider DMinSite, an SLI partner.
“From the start, we appreciated that SLI had a relationship with DMinSite, which made the integration of the site search into our e-commerce platform a seamless process,” said Coyne. “Based on the performance of the learning search, the extremely flexible design and proven improvement in search results, I was confident SLI was the solution for us. Signing on with SLI has improved our customers’ experience tremendously, which has significant impact on our business.
“Additionally, SLI offered a flexible trial period that allowed us to test the solution on our site. This trial period helped to confirm the significant improvement in search functionality as well as overall customer experience,” said Coyne.
Finding Value in the Long Tail
Key to Dover Saddlery’s experience with SLI has been the ability to serve up much more relevant results for all searches, especially for the higher converting long-tail terms.
“Many people come to our site and search for very specific items, such as ‘black fullseat riding breeches,’” said Coyne. “With the improved search from SLI, we are better able to service these customers, who are looking for a product with a specific blend of characteristics. With these less commonly used, but higher value keywords and phrases, it is very important to have these trigger search results that best reflect our product offering and give customers a wide selection of relevant products.
“Because Learning Search actually learns from the people who use it and the terms they use, anyone now searching with a long-tail term will instantly see a wide selection of products matching their description, with the most often clicked-on items listed at the top,” she said. “This approach to site search has made it much easier for our customers to find exactly what they’re looking for and improves the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase on our site.”
Auto Complete Completes Searches Faster
Coyne and her team recently added SLI’s new Auto Complete feature to the site search, giving visitors a helping hand in completing search terms faster and with less typing. SLI’s Auto Complete relies on the intelligence of Learning Search, using previous visitors’ search activities to automatically create keyword suggestions. For example, someone who types “b-r-i” may see “bridle,” “bridle bag,” “bridle rack” and other suggested terms that they can click on, rather than finish typing the whole keyword.
The Auto Complete feature is just another way Dover Saddlery can provide a medal-worthy search experience to customers. “The ways that SLI is constantly adding new features and improvements to its solution shows us that they really listen to their customers and take their feedback seriously,” said Coyne. “SLI has been one of the most responsive companies we’ve worked with.”
About Learning Search
Learning Search is a hosted site search solution that continually tracks visitors’ aggregate search terms and the corresponding items clicked on, and uses that data to deliver results based on popularity. For example, if someone searches for “saddle pad” (http://equestrian.doversaddlery.com/search?w=saddle+pads) Learning Search automatically ranks the items so that those with historically higher click-rates are listed at the top. Learning Search also accounts for spelling errors, whereas other site search products require exact match search terms to deliver results.
Learning Search also allows users greater flexibility in creating special landing pages and aligning search results with sales and product promotions. Through an enhanced merchandising console, SLI customers can easily change the order of search results, create banner ads, and customize landing pages to merchandise products and content, and leverage search activity for more targeted online marketing.
More than 300 sites use SLI Systems’ hosted search offerings, including ULTA, Smith & Hawken, FTD, TravelChannel.com and Vermont Teddy Bear, among others.
About Dover Saddlery, Inc.
Dover Saddlery, Inc. (DOVR) is a leading multichannel retailer of equestrian products in the United States. Founded in 1975 in Wellesley, Massachusetts, by United States Equestrian team members, Dover Saddlery has grown to become The Source® for equestrian products. Dover offers a broad and distinctive selection of competitively priced, brand-name products for horse and rider through catalogs, the Internet and company-owned retail stores. Dover Saddlery, Inc. serves the English rider and through Smith Brothers, the Western rider. The Source®, Dover Saddlery® and Smith Brothers® are registered marks of Dover Saddlery: For more information, please call 1-978-952-8062 or visit www DoverSaddlery.com.
About SLI Systems
SLI Systems is the developer of learning-based search and navigation technology for corporate Internet sites, e-commerce destinations and consumer Internet portals that Searches, Learns and Improves the user experience. SLI Systems’ hosted site search and automated SEO (http://www.sli-systems.com/site_champion.php) solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and yielding valuable customer information. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously “learns” from the behavior of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sli-systems.com, or see the company’s blog at http://blog.sli-systems.com/.
Nancy MacGregor Hill