April 14, 2011, 11:16 AM

A multilingual site search system fits the bill for German retailer Hessnatur

The site search system made it easier for the retailer to launch an English-language site.

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For six years, German natural clothing retailer used a homegrown site search system. But as the retailer began toying with the idea of launching an English-language web site, it decided it needed an upgrade.

“We had been using a search system that we developed for our German-language online shop, which really wasn’t satisfactory,” says Kornelia Hejduk, the retailer’s e-commerce shop and project manager. “First of all, the quality of the results was deficient. And second, the long load times bothered us.”

The retailer turned to the Fact-Finder offering fromGerman vendor Omikron Data Quality GmbH in part because it automatically corrects consumer spelling errors. Thus, if a shopper types in “cahsere cardigan” rather than “cashmere cardigan” the search system directs them to the proper products. That has bolstered the site’s conversion rate and increased sales, says Hejduk. The retailer declined to disclose the specific increases.

More important, says Hejduk, is Fact-Finder’s ability to operate independent of language. That means that a consumer can type the German words for “cashmere cardigan” on Hessnatur.com and receive the correct results. The system can understand and translate 24 languages, including English, German, French, Polish and Swedish. That’s important for Hessnatur because its customers live across Europe and speak many languages.

Moreover, when the retailer launched its English-language store, it didn’t have to adapt its site search system to accommodate English-speaking shoppers.

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