August 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

New site search features help Carolina Rustica boost sales by 30%, it says

Carolina Rustica, an online retailer of wrought iron furniture and other home furnishings, has increased sales and traffic with a new site search application designed to improve site navigation and rankings in natural web search, the retailer says.

A new site search tool at Carolina Rustica, an online retailer of wrought iron furniture and other home furnishings, has helped to increase sales by 30% year-over-year during the past six months while also boosting traffic from natural web search, president Richard Sexton tells


“The new site search has led to an exponential increase in the usability of our site in terms of navigation, getting relevant results, and cross-indexing,” Sexton says. “It provides a richer shopping experience and lets shoppers see the whole spectrum of products without being consigned to navigational categories.”

Carolina Rustica’s former site search tool, a basic tool included in its shopping cart software, “was not very useful,” Sexton says. But the new tool, from SLI Systems Inc., improves the site’s search and navigation the more shoppers use it, by using data based on prior searches to serve up more pertinent results, he adds. It also is designed to recognized misspelled words used as search terms and it allows users to sort results.

The complete site search application incorporates SLI’s Learning Search, which uses an analytics engine to improve search results based on past activity, and Site Champion software, which is designed to improve rankings in natural web search by recording site search terms on a separate site indexed by web search engines.

“Site Champion was really important in our decision to choose SLI,” Sexton says. “It’s probably increased by 10-20% the traffic received through natural web search.”

The 30% increase in sales, he adds, was also helped by ongoing in-house efforts to optimize the web site for natural search, increased spending on pay-per-click search, an expanded product line and increasing sales through and Carolina Rustica expects to do about $3.4 million in sales this year, up from $2.5 million last year, Sexton says.


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