Archive for the ‘Site Search’ Category

Fighting for Better E-commerce, Everlast Finds Its “Big Win” in SLI

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Everlast Image for Blog 10May16

Each time I interview an SLI customer for a case study, it’s a privilege to hear firsthand how our solutions make a significant impact on retailers’ growth. One of my most recent interviews was with Everlast E-commerce Director Mike Ebert, who told me that site search was one of the first things he looked at when he joined Everlast in mid-2014, and that implementing SLI was one of the biggest “wins” he’s had in the changes made since.

“I’ve known about SLI forever and wanted to work with you guys since I was on the agency side,” Ebert said.

“At Everlast, one of the first things I looked at was how easy it was for people to find things on the site. I typed in red boxing gloves and didn’t get any boxing gloves, which was a problem! Only 1% of traffic was engaging with search and only 0.15% of that traffic was converting. It was a blip in what it contributed to Everlast’s revenue,” he said.

Everlast, whose brand is older than the zipper (the company was founded in 1910), controls about 85% of the boxing products market, according to SportsOneSource LLC. Mike knew it was time Everlast.com became a larger revenue-contributing part of the global business, and he set out on a number of new projects to make that happen.

Search First

First, Mike worked with SLI to implement SLI Learning Search®, SLI Rich Auto Complete™ and SLI Learning Navigation®. Moving from Yahoo site search to SLI, Everlast immediately resolved the problem of customers not being able to find the products they were looking for. The results were clear: with SLI, conversions for site search increased 6x.

“I knew I could get SLI up and running quickly and deliver benefits right away,” Ebert said. “It didn’t take much and it produces results.”

Everlast’s success is showcased in an SLI case study.

Replatforming Second

After solving the problem of product findability, Ebert next tackled the job of looking for a new platform and a design agency to create a modern, mobile-friendly site.

Ebert chose the Magento platform, then worked with e-commerce site development specialists Blue Acorn to create a sleek new fitness-inspired site, based on Magento Edition 1.14’s native responsive functionality. The new design makes use of Everlast’s stunning product photography, creates a better user experience and makes administrative management much easier. Read more about this process in Blue Acorn’s case study with Everlast.

Merchandising Third

Everlast also solved its need to showcase products in unique ways with the SLI Merchandising Console. With the ability to create banners on results pages and promote specific products, Everlast is now able to merchandize to two separate customer groups – its longtime customer base of boxing enthusiasts, and a new group of customers looking to add boxing to an overall fitness routine.

For additional promotional efforts, Everlast began working with Bronto to improve its email communication. Now when new customers come to the Everlast site and sign up for emails, they receive a “Welcome” series of emails – these drive 38% of total email revenue, while accounting for only 2.3% of email sends.

“SLI is our big win,” Ebert said, “Now revenue from search represents 10% of Everlast’s revenue.”

He added: “You guys and Bronto are the best tech implementations we have.”

We’re glad to hear it, Mike. Keep fighting for better e-commerce!

Spring Clean Your E-commerce Site

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

PetFoodDirectEven those who aren’t in the e-commerce space know that the holiday season is the most profitable time of the year. But that doesn’t mean the other three seasons can’t be revenue-generating.

While you’re prepping for Holiday 2016, you can still please plenty of shoppers (and boost your business’ bottom line).

Spring is the perfect time to refresh your site. It is the season of spring cleaning and tax refunds, both of which can motivate consumers to treat themselves. Speaking of, I think I have some space for a new pair of shoes. …

So how can you attract and convert these shoppers?

Curate aesthetically pleasing landing pages

First impressions are everything. Impress and attract shoppers by curating unique landing pages for specific audiences. For instance, create pages that showcase your new spring inventory of sunglasses or patio furniture. Include links to these pages in your email marketing campaigns. (You can send me the one with the spring sandals.)

Use high-quality product photos and lots of them so shoppers really get a sense of your items. Seeing products from all angles, or clothing on a real person, will make shoppers feel more confident about adding items to their carts and checking out.

Lure shoppers deeper into your site with eye-catching banners that boast relevant content. After shopping for sandals, I will want to look for a new spring bag too.

Optimize for different devices (if you haven’t already)

Don’t be that online retailer that shows shoppers desktop results on mobile. Nobody has time for that! There is nothing more annoying for shoppers than having to zoom into desktop results on their mobile devices. In fact, they probably won’t bother and will instead move on to a site easier to use.

Shoppers are coming out of hibernation and no longer sitting at desktop computers or curling up with their laptops in bed. Make sure they can still enjoy a seamless shopping experience on your e-commerce site when they are out and about using mobile or tablet devices.

Set up your site search for seasonality

If I search for “sunnies,” I expect search results that contain (hot) sunglasses. Set up your site search to handle seasonal synonyms like “sunnies” and “sunglasses” so that shoppers don’t instead run into pesky no-results pages.

It should go without saying that your search should return relevant and popular items based on the search term. Consider conducting a site search audit and make sure the items that you would expect to be returned are coming up in search.

While you’re getting your site ready for winter code freeze, make sure you aren’t ignoring eager spring shoppers and spring clean your site.

For more recommendations on how you can improve your site, set up a site search analysis with our team.

Your Shoppers Shouldn’t Need Luck

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

cloverSome people are just born lucky. You know the ones. It doesn’t matter if they are at a garage sale, flea market or thrift store, they are going to find exactly what they are looking for every time. It’s going to be the perfect size, the hottest color and an outrageously good deal. Their natural good fortune seems to be the only help they need.

Good for them, I say. But luck is not everyone’s lot in life.

What about the unlucky ones. The ones who can’t find a parking spot let alone a pair of Jimmy Choo’s for a screaming discount in the exact right fit and shade.

Yes, I know this is a first-world problem. But life is hard enough for the I-never-catch-a-break crowd. Shopping shouldn’t be a burden too. I can hear them muttering, “Why bother looking for a new dress. I never find anything I like anyway.”

Online retailers, you have the power to make even your most unlucky shoppers feel like they’ve won a million bucks.

First of all, I’m going to assume that if you are reading this blog you value site search. Hopefully, you are already delivering amazingly relevant search results based on what shoppers are most likely to buy. (If you have any questions about this, feel free to call us.) OK, moving on.

Give good recommendations. Almost every site has recommendations these days. That doesn’t mean they are any good. Don’t clutter the shopping experience by displaying random products. Smart recommendations provide a personal shopping experience. For instance, people who bought that lipstick also bought this blush. It’s like a knowledgeable salesperson is walking your shoppers through your store, and that makes shoppers feel cared for and understood.

Build buyer confidence. If you think you are unlucky, you might be hesitant about making an online purchase. After all, you might want to see the product in person before deciding to buy. Help shoppers overcome this mental hurdle by showing them every angle of the product in easy-to-view photos. In addition, catwalk and customer videos provide that almost in real life experience. This can be helpful when selling everything from clothes and accessories to dirt bikes and motorcycles.

Provide a seamless experience from any device. Don’t even try to ignore this one. We are a society addicted to our phones and tablets and phablets. Make sure your shoppers can shop at any time from any device. In addition, if your site is not mobile-friendly, it will hurt your site’s ranking in Google’s organic search results. (By the way, you’re invited to the upcoming Internet Retailer webinar: Mobilegeddon: Not Over Yet.)

The bottom line is this: The smarter your site is, the luckier your shoppers will feel. And who doesn’t like feeling lucky?

For more tips on improving your shopping experience, check out our Big Book of Site Search Tips.

Win Parent Shoppers with a Baby-Friendly Site

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

What once was considered a niche market is now a booming billion-dollar industry. Savvy parents are ready to spend a pretty penny to give their bundles of joy the best start in life. Despite declining birth rates in many countries, the global baby care market is growing at a CAGR of 7% and is expected to reach $66.8 billion by 2017, according to Transparency Research (2014).

surfstitchYou don’t have to have a dedicated site for baby products to win these valuable customers. Many health and pharmacy retailers are catering more to the “parent and baby” demographic. Even lifestyle and outdoor retailers are adding infant and toddler items to their product offerings.

Here are a few ways that any online retailer with baby or toddler products can gain a greater share of parents’ and grandparents’ spending.

Focus on Mobile

Browsing the Internet with both hands free is considered a luxury for new parents. Swaying back and forth with a tiny infant in arms and a smartphone in hand is a much more common scene. Consider your site new-parent ready if the desperately sleep deprived can find what they are looking for while only using their thumbs. You’ll want to enhance the real estate of smaller screens while delivering relevant results with speed.

bodenIn addition, think about how best to streamline the purchase process for mobile shoppers. The fewer clicks, the better. Make sure shoppers have the option to save payment and shipping information so they only have to enter it once.

Make the Experience Highly Personal

A few months make a world of difference when it comes to what a baby needs and what parents want to buy. For example, moms and dads of newborns are searching for the perfect swaddle while parents of 6-month-olds are introducing solid foods and encouraging their babies to sit on their own.

When parents sign up to receive emails, gather the dates of birth, sex and names of their children. Tailor email campaigns and curate landing pages with products that match the baby’s age and each exciting developmental stage. In other words, send emails specific to celebrating a baby’s first birthday when the child turns 1, but avoid cluttering up your customers’ inboxes with irrelevant messages about newborns when their baby is already a toddler.

Your clickthrough rate on emails will be higher when parents know you are giving them valuable information specific to their kids. Also, keep in mind that parents will open a majority of those emails on a smartphone or tablet, so make sure both the email and the landing pages are tailored for the mobile experience.

Is it a Binky, Paci, Dummy, Soother or Comforter?

Does your site speak Baby? The pacifier alone has more than 100 pet names. Learning your customers’ language means they will more likely find the products they had in mind. Alternatively, ignoring synonyms, misspellings and popular pet names could lead to search queries ending in a “no results” page by mistake.

In-Store or Curbside Pick Up

Out of diapers and wipes? Need a humidifier for baby’s first cold? Sometimes even overnight delivery isn’t fast enough. If you are a retailer with brick-and-mortar locations, consider allowing customers to complete their purchases online and pick up products the same day at the store. Or even better, deliver their orders curbside to their cars. This will save parents time and keep them from having to wake a sleeping baby.

Chemist Direct Mother & Baby ExampleCater to Moms

Babies aren’t the only ones who need special care. Retailers can gain brand loyalty before the little one even arrives by helping moms-to-be navigate fertility issues, morning sickness, stretch marks and postpartum preparation. These categories are often labeled “conception,” “pregnancy” and “maternity.”

For more tips on delivering an exceptional online shopping experience that will win over parents and grandparents shopping for baby and toddler items, take a look at our E-commerce Baby Boom industry brief.

The Path to Selling Includes Sharing

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

How-to Videos for E-commerceYour online retail site is about more than just the products you sell. It’s also a valuable resource for your users. It should be engaging, offering unique photos, videos, articles and features that shoppers won’t get anywhere else. This content is a powerful tool that you can use to boost your brand and elevate your sales.

The creative use of content can give e-commerce customers a unique and memorable shopping experience – one that creates brand loyalty and convinces customers to buy.

There are many types of non-product content you can use to enhance your shoppers’ experience, and ultimately lead them to a purchase. Some of the top content types used on retail sites are social posts, blogs and how-to articles.

Showcase social posts

A social media strategy is a given for any online merchant today. When you integrate content from your social media networks into your main website, you can deliver more information to buyers and get them excited about purchasing your products. Show that your social pages offer reliable, valuable content and it will compel users to keep coming back for more.

Social content is especially important because it gives the consumer a window into how others are using the products they’re considering purchasing. Some photos, videos or blogs might appeal to a consumer’s practical decision-making by showing the quality and price of the item. Other posts might strike an emotional response, creating a desire for the item because it’s fun or in-fashion. Either way, social content can be a strong influencer in motivating shoppers to buy.

To take your social strategy to the next level, you can also tune in to the Tuesday, March 8 PracticalEcommerce webinar: 5 Ways Social Listening Can Drive Ecommerce Sales.

Be a blogger

A blog is an excellent way to incorporate great non-product content into your retail site while also showcasing your brand’s individual voice. It can also generate some great organic traffic to your site, since search engines like Google and Bing rate quality, consistent content higher in the rankings. A relevant blog naturally improves your SEO. As search engines increase in sophistication, the days of stuffing blog posts with relevant keywords are over. When you create posts that are relevant to your brand, they will naturally place high in search rankings. It also follows that other sites will want to link to this useful content, increasing the reach of your blog posts.

Giving customers insight into your company helps shoppers feel like they can get to know your brand and what it stands for, which helps to create loyalty that will drive future sales.

Offer how-to articles and videos

Inform your customers not only about what your product is, but also about what it can do. Offering how-to articles, particularly in the form of nicely edited videos, display your brand’s expert knowledge to users. When shoppers see that your company is an authority in the field, they will return to your site as a reliable resource again and again. Maybe they’ll come for those valuable instructions, but they are also very likely to come back to make purchases.

Make it Easy to Find

Whichever type(s) of content you integrate into your retail site, you have to be sure users will see it. Be sure it shows up in your search and navigation results. Then feature it prominently using tabbed results pages.

For the full set of tips and examples of integrating content into your e-commerce site, download our e-book: Use Creative Content to Convince Online Shoppers to Buy.

Get Ready for Bunnies & Blooming E-commerce

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Boden SpringLove was so last Sunday. Now spring is in the merchandising air.

Never mind the polar vortex hitting the East and Midwest. Easter and its Bunny are arriving Sunday, March 27 – a full three weeks earlier than last year when it hopped onto the scene April 20.

With this year’s abbreviated shopping season, every merchandising day matters. Whether your shoppers celebrate Easter or just long for spring, this is the time to remind them that warmer weather is on the horizon.

Easter is historically the fifth largest spending holiday of the year (after Valentine’s Day but before Father’s Day, Super Bowl, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day), according to the National Retail Federation.

Candy WarehouseEven if you’re boasting the most beautiful in-store displays, there’s good reason to focus your attention on winning online spring shoppers. Last year, online Easter shoppers planned to spend an average $221.39 – a whopping 58 percent more than brick-and-mortar Easter shoppers, according to the National Retail Federation.

What will shoppers put in their baskets? Food, clothing, gifts, candy and flowers are the top five spending categories for Easter. But don’t make your visitors hunt for what they want.

Boden dressesRead their minds. If shoppers type “Easter” in your site’s search box, make sure your site returns relevant results right away. Candy Warehouse is crushing this by instantly showing search suggestions and product results.

Curate a collection. Boden is using a banner to prompt shoppers to “Make room for new-season dresses.” But the merchandising doesn’t stop there. Clicking on the banner takes shoppers to a collection of spring dresses.

H&D EasterShow the love. Harry & David’s search results not only showcase the most relevant products, but shoppers can quickly see which items have the best and most reviews. This is a great to give browsers the social proof they need to make a buying decision.

For more tips on improving your e-commerce merchandising, download our free white paper Use Site Search Data to Improve Merchandising.

Help Cupids Find the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Cupids (disguised as last-minute shoppers) are aiming their arrows at the hearts of their beloveds. Guide them to the perfect gifts with insight from last year’s Valentine’s Day e-commerce trends, as well as by following these 5 tips to help online shoppers find what they’re looking for this Valentine’s Day.

Another way you can give love a nudge and fuel romance is to follow the tips and tricks in the infographic below from The Shelf. (Hint: If you aren’t marketing to men between 25 and 34 years old, you are missing the mark.)

download-(27)_edv3

Amazon & You: How to Win

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Last week SLI Systems sponsored the Internet Retailer webinar Amazon & You: Top New Competitive Strategies for 2016. eShopportunity founder Fahim Naim and Medelita CMO Dan Stephchew took a look at what is emerging as the best ways for online retailers to compete with Amazon.

The webinar was jam-packed with examples from the recent 2015 holiday shopping season (including how to gracefully opt out of Black Friday without killing your sales).

While Amazon is undeniably a Goliath, you can beat the e-commerce giant by turning its weaknesses into your strengths. Here are a few key takeaways:

Help shoppers find what they are looking for. Amazon isn’t the easiest place to shop. It can feel like you are wandering through a huge warehouse without a soul in sight to help you. You have little choice but to base your purchasing decisions on price and reviews.

Fahim advises, “Do a better job of helping customers engage and find relative products.”

An effective way of providing a more satisfying shopping experience is by delivering relevant site search results. Engage customers further by offering a product or gift finder, which suggests a collection of products based on a series of questions. This level of personalization is impossible to deliver via the Amazon interface and it allows you to build brand loyalty.

Treat shoppers differently. Amazon is one-size-fits-all. There is no room to massage your message for different audiences. As a result, you miss the opportunity to create tailored offers for different shoppers, like first-time buyers and loyal customers. You can outshine Amazon in this area by leveraging your email marketing with content and offers designed to reach specific shoppers.

Own long-tail search terms. It’s OK if Amazon wins broad keyword searches. Shoppers who find your site via long-tail search terms are more likely to find exactly what it is they want to buy. You can build landing pages specific to these keywords. (To learn more about this, check out the webinar Advanced Data Mining.)

For more competitive strategies, watch the Internet Retailer webinar. To see how SLI Systems can help you implement these strategies, join us for our next live demo on March 8.

EASY – A Deciding Factor for E-commerce Technology

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Easy to use technology for E-commerceEasy is a critical feature for today’s technology solutions – easy-to-implement, easy-to-use, easy-to-measure and easy-to-update. Of course solutions need to be effective and results are the number one point of comparison. But if you’re in the position of choosing technology and you’ve narrowed your options to those with proven results, you’re likely to choose the one that will make it easier for you or your team to achieve the results you want.

After all, there’s only so much you alone can do – you need technology that expands your abilities, rather than giving you one more thing that requires your expertise.

This is how Michael Schuler of the Minneapolis-based Schuler Shoes felt about the company’s website. A year ago, he was the only one who could customize merchandising banners and SEO since it required going into the code to make modifications. He knew this process wasn’t sustainable as the business expanded its product catalog. He needed a merchandising solution that was straightforward enough for anyone on his team to use – he needed it to be easy for his employees to edit promotions and optimize SEO.

Michael Schuler also needed a site search and navigation solution that would provide a consistent product-finding experience for shoppers. He wanted to make it easy for shoppers to find and buy what they were looking for.

At the same time, Schuler was moving the business to a new e-commerce platform and he needed a hosted site search and navigation provider that would easily integrate with the latest version of Magento.

Of course Schuler wanted the solution to work well – choosing a vendor with a solid history, reliable infrastructure and clear, proven results was a given. But easy was a key theme in his search for the right vendor. In the end, he chose SLI Systems as the best fit to achieve his goals. As stated in a case study on Schuler Shoes:

“We chose SLI because it fits well with Magento and offers the features we needed. SLI Learning Search Connect easily plugged into our Magento platform, quickly improving the shopping experience and simplifying merchandising and promotions,” said Schuler.

In fact, yesterday SLI Systems announced it’s the first and only Magento Gold Partner to offer a site search extension for Magento 2.0. Our commitment to “easy” meant that we wanted to have our plugin for Magento 2.0 ready as soon as our customers needed it.

Schuler also achieved his goals of making it easier for his team to manage merchandising and SEO, along with making it easier for shoppers to find the products they wanted.

“With SLI site search, navigation and refinements, we have seen 20% fewer bounces and a 7.5% increase in the time visitors spend on the site, indicating the solutions are helping customers in the ‘pre-shop’ phase before they buy from us in-store or online,” Schuler said.

If you’re in the position of choosing a new technology vendor, look for easy – easy-to-implement, easy-to-use, easy-to-measure and easy-to-update. Add easy-to-show results to this list (as we’ve done with our latest SLI Dashboard), and you’ll be set. Michael Schuler found a solution that was all this, plus provided better results than his previous solution. For him, it was an easy choice.

Dressbarn Wins Award for Customer Engagement Success Using SLI

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

rtp cust engageThis year, industry-leading retail magazine Retail TouchPoints recognized 18 innovative retailers with a 2015 Customer Engagement Award. According to Retail TouchPoints, each winner has gone the extra mile to delight, surprise and satisfy shoppers. SLI is honored to be recognized with Dressbarn, the Silver Winner in the E-Commerce Innovation category.

“Customer engagement has become a key focus for retailers striving for success in today’s omnichannel world,” said Retail TouchPoints Editor-in-Chief Debbie Hauss. “The award winners are ahead of the curve and are achieving business success in this increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Among the winners this year, Dressbarn joins retail giants AT&T, Barneys New York, Kate Spade, Kohl’s, Payless ShoeSource and Pep Boys.

Dressbarn Uses SLI Learning Search to Create Great Omnichannel Customer Experiences

A major priority for Dressbarn is to always provide a great customer experience, regardless of the channel. One way the retailer continues its mission is to use SLI Learning Search® (and search data) to offer its customers a unified, seamless experience, making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for across all channels.

Online

Dressbarn pays close attention to online trends, monitoring site search activity and on-page analytics, to optimize landing pages, PPC ads, email campaigns, site search and more. For instance, this past summer, Dressbarn saw a spike in search volume and conversion on the keyword Camryn dress. Dressbarn used its top-performing keywords report to identify the Camryn dress as a product to feature across channels to take advantage of its recent popularity.

Dressbarn quickly created a landing page using SLI Landing Page Creator™ just for the Camryn dress and then promoted it via the home page, email campaign and PPC ads. With search data in hand, Dressbarn also was able to fine-tune the page’s meta tags for better SEO. Conversion rates and sales soon skyrocketed.

Mobile

Dressbarn also provides its customers with a mobile-friendly experience. To adapt to the physical limitations of the mobile user experience, the retailer implemented SLI Mobile’s prominent search bar (vs. tiny magnifying glass) and easy-to-select refinements on search and navigation pages (e.g. color, size), speeding the shoppers’ path to purchase. The retailer also resizes all images into thumbnails, increasing the page load speed and customer engagement.

On its mobile site, Dressbarn has seen noteworthy results engaging customers and increasing conversion with SLI Rich Auto Complete™. Rich Auto Complete™ delivers a search experience with fast, visual and dynamic results. Shoppers are able to type less and buy more. With Rich Auto Complete, the time it took a shopper to find a product and complete a purchase decreased significantly, and mobile site search usage increased by 25 percent.

In-Store

At Dressbarn brick-and-mortar stores, the retailer offers associates and shoppers an endless inventory of products and information via iPads on display. If a product isn’t on the rack at the time, customers are able to use site search to look up the product, review the product description and get a clear idea of how it would look. This was a unique opportunity to use Dressbarn’s digital properties to make its stores more effective and its customers more informed and engaged.

For Dressbarn, it’s not all about making the sale right at that instant, but about building a seamless and delightful omnichannel experience that creates loyal customers who love Dressbarn and want to have a life-long relationship with the retailer.

Congratulations again to Dressbarn for a well-deserved win.

To learn more about Dressbarn’s winning merchandising strategies, view recent SLI webinar with Dressbarn E-Commerce Marketing Manager Sri PV: Merchandising Matters.