July 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Better search drives sales at JCWhitney.com

As a part of a major web site redesign, J.C. Whitney expedited site search and made it easier to shop an online inventory of more than 100,000 SKUs. The result: a 10% jump in sales conversions.


Improved site search is playing a key role in the redesign of JCWhitney.com and helping to increase sales conversion rates. JCWhitney.com, the e-commerce arm of J.C. Whitney & Co., which is part of Automotive Specialty Accessories and Parts, carries one of the market’s largest online inventories of aftermarket vehicle parts.

As a part of a major web site redesign that J.C. Whitney unveiled in June, the company expedited site search and streamlined its shopping categories and product pages to make it easier to shop an online inventory of more than 100,000 items that fit more than 6 million different vehicles.

Specifically, J.C. Whitney, which utilizes site search technology from Endeca Technologies Inc., added more guided navigation and streamlined its product categories to reduce the time and steps customers need to find merchandise. The new home page features a new set of prominent search boxes that let customers type in their vehicle make and model, select the year the vehicle was manufactured and then land on product category pages within three clicks.

As part of the redesign, J.C. Whitney also grouped its inventory into a new series of specialty shops that lead shoppers through a quick series of prompts to find the right product page. For instance, customers who may be unsure of their vehicle make and model can click on the “trucks” portal, next select if their vehicle is a pick-up truck or a sports utility vehicle and then shop a particular category such as brakes or body repair parts.

"The goal of the design is to more quickly present relevant product to our customers and make the overall shopping experience easier to use," says Geoff Robertson, vice president of e-commerce for J.C. Whitney. "With such a large selection of automotive parts and accessories, our challenge is to make finding the right item for their vehicle as simple, as accurate, and as enjoyable as possible.”

J.C. Whitney streamlined its marketing and inventory databases and adjusted its site search program to produce faster results, says Robertson. “We collapsed categories and looked at the site search infrastructure to make it easier for shoppers to go through a very large inventory,” he says.

Better site search is paying off for J.C. Whitney. Since the launch of the redesign, sales conversion rates have improved by about 10%, says Robertson.


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