December 21, 2011, 4:39 PM

Motorcycle Superstore revs up parts sales with better site navigation

The e-retailer will detail how at Internet Retailer’s design conference in February.

Lead Photo

Jason Miller

Motorcycle Superstore Inc. overhauled its site search and navigation tools for in 2010. Those improvements, which make it easier for consumers to locate the right parts for their bikes, have helped to make the parts business Motorcycle Superstore’s fastest-growing product category for sales, says Jason Miller, chief technology officer and vice president of technology for the e-retailer. In addition to parts, the e-retailer also sells tires, riding gear and accessories.

Miller will tell attendees at Internet Retailer’s Web Design and Usability 2012 Conference about the approach Motorcycle Superstore took to identify search and navigation issues and how it solved them with a combination of navigation revisions and model-specific search results pages. Miller will explain his approach Feb. 13 during a pre-conference workshop at 1:30 p.m. in a session entitled “Making sure your customers find the merchandise they want.”

Miller says refining site search is an ongoing process, and he frequently examines search data collected by SLI Systems, the e-retailer’s site search software provider, to better understand how consumers interact with “Consumers will call a product something different than how our products loaders call it,” he says. “Weird names bubble up in our reports so we add that information to our naming conventions for our products so it is easier to find it.”

When it comes to parts, one of the search tools the e-retailer offers is a drop-down tool that asks consumers to select the make, model and year of the cycle for which they are seeking parts. Once the consumer enters this information, only the parts that fit that bike are displayed. Consumers can enter their cycle information up front to see all applicable parts, or first drill down through parts categories to see, for example, all 62 of the street motorcycle slip-on mufflers carries. Entering the motorcycle’s make and model information at this point then refines the search to show only the slip-on mufflers that fit the bike.

If a consumer doesn’t enter his motorcycle information at either of these stages and goes to add a part to his shopping cart, Motorcycle Superstore requires him to enter his bike information so it can make sure, up front, that the part he wants is compatible with the bike he wants to put it on. “We don’t let them put it in the cart if it’s not the right part for their bike,” Miller says. “Within our cart and checkout process, we also make sure to repeatedly show them the make and model of the bike they’ve chosen so they don’t run into issues where they buy the wrong part.”

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Miller to speak because of his software development and site design experience. At Motorcycle Superstore, he leads all the teams responsible for technical operations of Motorcycle Superstore is No. 206 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.


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