June 29, 2006, 12:00 AM

At Beckett.com, site search is a multi-tasking tool

Properly mined, site search logs files can be a silver bullet. Besides connecting shoppers with products, sports collectibles site Beckett.com looks to site search for data to guide merchandising and content.

Site search logs provide a valuable source of merchandising intelligence at Beckett Media’s Beckett.com, where data from the logs helps spot trends and identify topics ripe for content development. “Search logs are a multi-purpose silver bullet when used effectively,” contends Beth Grimsley, Beckett Media e-commerce director. The company last year switched from its original Alta Vista site search platform to one from Endeca Technologies Inc.

For example, as baseball player Barry Bonds closed in on the homerun record this season, Beckett reviewed the logs files to discover that searches on collectibles for record-holders Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth were rising as well. “This allows you to create really effective merchandising,” Grimsley says.

Site search logs also have identified trends such as prospecting, in which collectors and dealers start looking for and buying merchandise associated with particular players based on the potential increase in value as those players’ careers and stats start to rise. Grimsley also says Beckett looks to the search logs to highlight opportunities for content creation; for instance, top 10 lists created on the basis of what searchers are looking for in particular categories or at particular times, as well as “collector recommended” lists of merchandise.

With a good site search tool, mining search logs for merchandising guidance “doesn’t have to take a lot of resources, if it’s well-managed,” Grimsley adds.

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