SLI Systems and FitForCommerce Retail Study; Site Search vs. Re-platforming

By Jessica Benton | 05 Mar 2013

SLI Systems and FitForCommerce have released a study that details how retailers can leverage an advanced site search solution to alleviate the need for costly and time-consuming re-platforming exercises. The study findings have been published in a new downloadable whitepaper.

The Site Search vs. Re-platforming whitepaper from SLI Systems and FitForCommerce details ROI advantages of a robust site search solution for improving user experience, product merchandising and SEO; potentially offsetting the need for costly, time-consuming re-platforming initiatives.

When implemented correctly, site search can reduce or altogether remove the need for a new e-commerce platform. Re-platform initiatives can often be a costly and complex exercise that can take millions of dollars and several months to years to complete.

State-of-the-art site search technology has advanced to the point of being able to handle a greater portion of the customer’s online experience and can now control key website functions that have traditionally been major factors in the decision to re-platform. With a robust, flexible site search solution in place, online retailers can positively impact conversion rates, average order values, and other key metrics, obviating the need to upgrade or switch platforms.

Retailers avoid spending time and money on e-commerce re-platforms

Retail clients of SLI, including Jelly Belly and Vermont Teddy Bear have been able to avoid costly and time-consuming re-platforming exercises by leveraging advanced site search solutions. The retailers’ experiences have been showcased in the whitepaper.

“We have enabled site search to power a b-to-b experience that is similar to our b-to-c shopping experience,” said Brandon Finch, director of e-commerce for Jelly Belly. “Many of our retail store purchasers are looking for a b-to-c style experience – including product taxonomy – but integrated into a purchasing structure appropriate for business users. Site search has allowed us to accomplish this, particularly for the thousands of mum and dad retailers out there that rely on us for their retail assortment.”

“We avoided spending a huge amount of time and money to enable a mobile experience,” said Victor Castro, VP of e-commerce at Vermont Teddy Bear.  “We had a mobile site up within a week by leveraging our search solution. Enabling transactions via mobile is a possible next step for us, but now we have our eyes open going into this and deeper pockets without having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an experiment (e.g. a commerce-enabled mobile web site).”

Site search vs. re-platforming; results speak for themselves

The results of the site search implementations were significantly greater ROI, as well as major cost savings derived from no longer needing to re-platform their e-commerce and mobile commerce sites. SLI will showcase the findings in a webinar to be held on March 7, 2013, featuring IR 500 retailer Jelly Belly, and e-commerce consulting firm FitForCommerce, an SLI partner. Register for the webinar now.

The whitepaper showcases several retail brands’ best-of-breed site search deployments and highlights key areas:

  • Dynamically updated merchandised landing pages and category assortment to reflect current product availability. An advanced search solution can be overlaid on an existing e-commerce platform, giving merchants easy-to-use graphical interfaces to create these pages without the involvement of the IT group
  • The use of site search to drive much of the web experience, including navigation, search, merchandising, landing pages, and SEO efforts. When site search acts as the front-end of a website companies can conduct merchandising and product presentations more efficiently – again, without the need to involve IT
  • Multi-variant testing. Typically an area of limited capabilities for the underlying platform, this type of testing in site search shows different users different experiences and tests conversions and average order values to determine which approach is most effective

The study also highlights how mobile site search can be a saving grace for companies looking to enable a mobile shopping experience, by creating an integrated experience that enables better mobile browsing and prominent searching capabilities, which are often limited on mobile commerce platforms. The SLI Systems and FitForCommerce Site Search vs. Re-platforming study is available as a free downloadable whitepaper.

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