February 8, 2006, 12:00 AM

CDW eyes better site search in 2006

CDW will spend 2006 upgrading its main web store with new search functionality that lets visitors search by keyword, brand, product type and model, says director of e-commerce Kurt Baldassari.

Improving site search in ways that help consumers and businesses find the merchandise they’re looking for in far less time tops the list of web site priorities at CDW Corp.

In 2005, CDW improved internal search with upgrades such as giving visitors to CDWG.com, the company’s government e-commerce microsite, the ability to search by exact technical specifications for already awarded federal and state contracts. Now CDW will spend 2006 upgrading its main web store with additional search functionality that lets visitors search by keyword, brand, product type and model.

The improved search cuts several steps off the search process, which previously restricted visitors to shopping for computer electronics and accessories by a single word such as “cartridge” or by product type. “We are doing a lot of work on site search this year and that’s going to make it easier to find the more than 80,000 SKUs we carry online,” says Kurt Baldassari, CDW director of e-commerce, who will speak at the Internet Retailer 2006 Conference & Exhibition in a session titled Site Search`s New Role: Promoting the Right Products.

CDW recently implemented enhanced site search options for its ink and printer cartridge categories and will extend the updated search features to other merchandise categories such as computer hardware, software and accessories by the end of the second quarter. With nearly one-third of all sales now being transacted on the web, Baldassari says better site search will help close more sales and expedite better customer service. “Our research shows that nearly 30% of visitors to CDW.com go straight for the site search box before they go any place else on the site,” he says. “Our core shoppers are serious computer buyers and often know exactly what they want. They don’t need to do a general search. They want to search by product names, brands and by very exact specifications.”

Along with advanced site search, CDW, No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, also is enhancing its product pages with bigger images and search results that deliver a range of products priced from inexpensive to top-of-the-line. “If a visitor searches for a particular printer, he will see pages returned that recommend good, better and best along with product highlights,” Baldassari says. “This gives shoppers a greater variety of merchandise to choose from and highlights our inventory.”

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