U.S. Toy Company Increases Transactions and Revenue by Cross-linking Site Search Results through SLI Systems

Online Retailer of Toy and Classroom Supplies Improves Customer Experience and Guides Shoppers to Other Branded Sites for Their Buying Needs

SAN JOSE, CA – May 16, 2011 – SLI Systems (www.sli-systems.com), provider of full-service, customized, on-demand solutions for site search and navigation, merchandising and user-generated SEO, announced today that U.S. Toy Company (www.ustoy.com) has increased revenue and improved the online shopping experience by cross-linking search results across its three branded websites. In recent months, referrals from the company’s consumer website (www.cptoy.com) site search pages to its B2B website (www.constructiveplaythings.com) accounted for 13 percent of total revenue for the company’s educator division, and resulted in several hundred purchases that would otherwise have been lost.

U.S. Toy operates three websites, each with distinct products and audiences: USToy.com (novelty toys and party goods), ConstructivePlaythings.com (educational toys and classroom supplies for educators), and CPToy.com (toys and games, geared toward consumers). The latter two sites – one for teachers and educators, and one for consumers – both carry the “Constructive Playthings” title, which can cause confusion for site visitors who might not realize which site they’re visiting.

SLI, which provides hosted site search for all of the U.S. Toy websites, helped the company cross-link its search results so that visitors on one site can conduct a search and see products available on the alternate site(s). For instance, if an educator types “locker” into the search box on either of the consumer websites, the visitor will see a message at the top of search results saying that items matching the search term are available on the sister B2B site. If the visitor then clicks on a product in the results, (s)he would then be taken to the ConstructivePlaythings.com website.

Before U.S. Toy worked with SLI to cross-link the sites search results, visitors often did not find the products they were looking for when searching one of the sites.

“Cross-linking our search results has cleared up customer confusion around which site to shop on,” said Chad Coleman, marketing manager for U.S. Toy Company. “We no longer worry that customers won’t find the products they want, even when they are shopping on a U.S. Toy site aimed at a different audience. Referrals from site search are driving a greater share of revenue, are reducing customer service calls, and are directly resulting in sales that we would not have captured before.”

Since the cross-linking of search results was introduced in early March 2011, referrals from the consumer-focused Constructive Playthings site to the educator-focused site were 5% of total year-to-date revenue, Coleman said. Referrals to the educator site were also the third-largest driver of revenue and traffic to the site during that month, after direct site visits, and organic searches via Google.

“Our cross-linked search results bring site visitors to the places where they can find the products they want,” Coleman said. “We believe this will encourage visitors to stay on our sites longer and potentially buy more products, since their search experience is more satisfying.”

Since implementing Learning Search for SLI Systems at the end of 2010 – replacing an in-house site search solution – U.S. Toy Company has seen an increase in visitors’ average time spent on the site; visitors who use site search stay on the various U.S. Toy sites for an average of five minutes, compared to one minute for visitors who don’t use site search. The bounce rate for visitors who use site search is a fraction of the site’s overall bounce rate. Additionally, the conversion rate (CVR) of site search pages is 300% greater than other site pages, and site search pages generate a per-visit value 400% greater than other pages.

“Online businesses that create separate but similarly branded sites that serve different audiences need to prevent site abandonment stemming from poor or no search results,” said Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems. “By referring visitors to products on sister websites, site owners capture sales that might otherwise be lost and encourage visitors to remain on these sites longer, increasing order value and revenue. This is a good example of how we customize our service for each client to meet the unique demands of their individual business.”

SLI’s Learning Search is a hosted full-service site search solution that continually “learns” from ongoing site search activity, improving relevance of search results and reducing the time it takes users to find what they need. By tracking every query and click-through, Learning Search ranks results based on what’s most popular and delivers results people are looking for on the first page 95% of the time. SLI’s site search solution is shown to improve the overall customer experience, and generate increases in conversions, number of page views and average order size, among other key performance indicators.

About SLI Systems
SLI Systems provides full-service, customized, on-demand solutions for site-search, navigation, merchandising, and user-generated SEO. SLI Systems’ solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and increasing site conversions. Unlike traditional search and merchandising software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously “learns” from the behavior of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. SLI Systems is a privately held company with offices in San Jose, California; London; New Zealand and Australia. For more information, visit www.sli-systems.com, or read the company’s blog at http://blog.sli-systems.com, watch the SLI YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/SLISiteSearch, follow SLI on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/slisystems or listen to SLI hosted ecommerce podcasts at http://www.ecommercepodcast.com.