If there is one key takeaway from the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference, it’s that eCommerce sites must be responsive to the increased sophistication of customers by offering better user journeys, more helpful features and creating safe, more satisfying experiences that meet or exceed customers’ expectations.

Kevin Metz, VP of e-commerce for Caché and SLI Systems CEO Shaun Ryan launched into an exciting discussion at IRWD 2013 about how faceted navigation does just that by allowing customers to find and refine large groups of products by helpful parameters. This in turn can lead to increased conversions and average order value.

In their discussion, “Take search beyond words: Develop a multi-faceted refinement strategy to deliver more sales”, Metz said Caché uses several refinements, such as color swatches, material, level of embellishment and occasion that allow shoppers to narrow down selections to the most applicable group. Through the use of these refinements, their search usage has increased by 42 percent, and they’ve seen an 88 percent increase in conversion rates from those who use search.

He also said that because they design and manufacture their own products, their specifications and attributes allow a richer browsing experience.

“Our merchants take great care in defining attributes and characteristics,” said Metz. “We were able to mine that data and integrate it and serve it up to the consumer,” offering richer search criteria for customers to search.

Ryan also discussed other common SLI-powered faceted navigation features, such as selection sliders, images on facets and effective improvements in the logic of bread crumb trails, which all help create a unique and streamlined browsing experience. Facet sliders let users manually change variables they are searching for, such as price or size ranges, dimensions or ratings. Facet images can help give a visual break to a page full of text and improving the logic of breadcrumb trails can help users travel throughout a site more easily.

These and other navigation features can help give greater leverage in putting top categories front and center for customers and add richness to the way we search and browse for products.

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