August 24, 2005, 12:00 AM

Oriental Trading trades up for better site search and analytics

Instead of making any wholesale changes to its Internet store, Oriental Trading Co. is adding better site search technology from Endeca and new analytics from Coremetrics to generate greater cross-selling opportunity and drive more sales.

Rather than make wholesale changes to its present e-commerce site, Oriental Trading Co. instead is concentrating on using new search and analytics technology that generates greater cross-selling opportunity.

About a year ago, Oriental Trading, No. 52 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, added a new site search program from Endeca Techologies Inc. The Endeca package replaced an internally developed program and helps Oriental Trading do a better job in cross selling and up selling its merchandise, says vice president of e-commerce Steve Fortson.

The old site search program only returned about three items. But the new Endeca package lets Oriental Trading deliver more specific results by category, price and color, which the shopper can then refine and narrow down even more. Search results are also delivered back to the user with bigger images, category best sellers and other shopping categories the customer can visit, Fortson says.

With better site search Oriental Trading can incorporate more cross-selling promotions and products into search results such as seasonal specials on holiday cards. “If the user searches on ‘cards’ we can now make them aware of the seasonal opportunities we carry in cards and then remind them that it is getting closer to Halloween or Christmas,” Fortson says. “This kind of search result gives us more ways to target the shopper with different merchandising opportunities.”

Oriental Trading, which carries more than 10,000 SKUs online, is also adding improved web analytics from Coremetrics Inc. to better track site usage, visitor traffic and customer behavior. The new analytics program went live in July and is helping Oriental Trading better understand and analyze specific metrics such as the effectiveness of product page layouts, Fortson says.

Oriental Trading increased its web sales by about 33% from 2003 to 2004. But to keep its web sales momentum going, the web retailer is placing an emphasis on new programs and applications that help to identify better cross-selling opportunities. For instance, Oriental Trading recently utilized Creative Good Inc., a New York City customer experience company, to solicit feedback regarding and benchmark how its e-commerce performance compared to other web merchants. As a result of the site analysis and comparison exercise, Oriental Trading made some adjustments, including making its shopping cart icon more visible on the home page and product pages.

“We aren’t making wholesale changes to the site at this point,” Fortson says. “We are adding technology and programs that help to better measure cause and effect.”


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