If you’ve invested time and energy in an effective, relevant results-oriented site search solution, you’ve probably seen an impact on your web site – higher conversions for people who use the search box, perhaps even a larger average order size for people who search. But have you wondered if your site search is delivering all that it can to your bottom line, and if it could be further improved to generate even greater results?

A smart way of optimizing the value you get from your search and navigation is to conduct  testing to objectively decide which design options to use. However, our customers often admit that they don’t test as much as they should because it’s difficult and time-consuming to set up and run tests, and it’s also difficult to decide what they should be testing.

In the absence of testing, many website operators will resort to industry best practices. However, these best practices don’t always make sense for your business – whether for site search or another area of online marketing, as was recently pointed out in a MarketingProfs article about breaking the rules of email marketing.

To solve this problem for our customers, we’ve introduced the Conversion Optimizer, a service for conducting testing. Essentially, we’ve taken all the hard work out of performing tests – you work with your SLI Customer Success Manager to establish the tests, and then you control and watch the tests being performed in real time, via your SLI Merchandising and Administration Console. (You can even stop the test if the results are poor.) And most important, you get results right away, and you can share them with your colleagues.

At SLI, we’re big fans of this testing. It’s the only way to truly understand how variations in your search and navigation features – such as changing the position of the site search box, using a grid view instead of a list view, or tweaking your ranking algorithm – can improve your business. However, thorough testing takes a lot of time and effort, and if it’s not done right, results can be ambiguous or misleading.

We’re making the beta version of Conversion Optimizer tool available to select customers – if you’d like to try it out, contact your Customer Success Manager. And tell us what you think of the new tool. We’d love to hear about the positive changes you’ve made to your site based on test results.