October 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Borders gets a 62% hike in conversion rates from new Magic Shelf feature

Consumers who use the “Magic Shelf” search and navigation feature at the new Borders.com view and buy more products, the retailer says. The Magic Shelf was the centerpiece of the book retailer’s new e-commerce site launched in May.

Consumers who use the “Magic Shelf” search and navigation feature at the new Borders.com view and buy more products, says Kevin Ertell, senior vice president of e-business. The Magic Shelf was the centerpiece of the book retailer’s new e-commerce site launched in May.

Shoppers who use the Magic Shelf, which lets them browse images of books and other products along scrolling shelves without leaving the page, place 62% more orders per shopping session than shoppers who don’t use the Magic Shelf, Ertell says. The Magic Shelf was developed in Flash technology by Allurent Inc., with additional site search technology from Endeca Technologies Inc.

In addition, users of the Magic Shelf are 13% more likely to purchase online, 9% more likely to return to shop, and 11% more likely to recommend Borders.com to other shoppers.

“Just like any new site, we’re experiencing growing pains, but we’ve had a fair amount of minor things to work on such as improving page-load performance,” Ertell says.

Borders is also considering customer feedback in its plans for improvements. “One request is the ability to preview the inside of a book, so we’ll soon be launching that with Google,” Ertell says. Borders will work with Google Inc. to develop a site search application that will let shoppers search for terms inside a book featured on Borders.com and read sections of it, he adds.

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