November 18, 2002, 12:00 AM

Macy’s adds merchandising capability to its search results

Implementing Mercado Software’s Intuifind search technology allows Macy’s merchandisers to display in search results products they want to promote.

In the month since added Mercado Software Inc.’s search-and-browse technology to its site, it has seen an increase in customers adding items to their shopping carts, Gary Beberman, director of technical research at tells Beberman adds, however, that the technology is too new for to know if it has increased conversion rates or sales., a unit of Federated Department Stores Inc., chose Mercado’s Intuifind technology because it helps direct Macy’s customers more specifically to what they are shopping for and because it allows merchandisers to present products in the context of search results. “Previously, search results were based on quality of match and merchants had little ability to display what they thought was important or to downplay what they thought was less important,” Beberman says. “Now we are able to allow merchandising and other criteria to influence the ranking of results.” Besides merchandising considerations, can display products based on inventory level or best sellers, for two examples.

Mercado’s Intuifind product displays search results as well as product attributes to help customers narrow down their search. So a customer searching on men’s shirts will get search results by brand, type of shirt, price and other criteria. “We’re starting to make search behave more like a sales associate,” Beberman says.

The search technology also allows customers to find products without knowing the specific terminology that the merchant uses to describe the product. With the technology, customers who enter broad terms can still navigate easily through the results, Beberman says. “Customers tend to use very broad terms because they know when they get too specific their results can be close to nothing,” he says.

Customer feedback has been good so far, Beberman says, “although it’s too soon to make sweeping conclusions.” Macy’s probably will market the new search capability to customers, he says.

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