Google-Powered Site Search Boosts Conversions for Fat Brain Toys

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E-commerce toy retailer leverages Google mini search appliance to satisfy new breed of search-savvy customers.

Though e-commerce toy retailer Fat Brain Toys recognized that they had a problem with their homegrown site search functionality, they were reluctant to purchase a commercial solution for fear of big price tags and complicated integration. But for over two years the company monitored reports that showed a steady decline in product search matches. Even more disturbing, according to President and Co-Founder Mark Carson, was that it wasn't a result of not having the product, but rather fundamental changes in the searches themselves.

"Three years ago, the majority of our customers entered a single word into our product search engine and it functioned adequately," says Carson. "But with the pervasiveness of search, our customers became increasingly savvier with their own querying capabilities – which actually wreaked havoc on our product search functionality."

Asked for an example of a complex search, Carson provided an actual scenario that caused his product search engine to fail miserably: "magnetic geo mags +sale."

"While we do in fact have a product called Geomag that's on sale," explained Carson, "our product search simply wasn't sophisticated enough to be able to account for complex phrases, misspellings, and advanced search operators."

Frustrated with the thought of hundreds of prospective customers leaving his site empty-handed, Carson set out to find a commercial solution to solve his growing problem. After making a short-list of potential candidates, Carson discovered a new version of the Google Search Appliance, modestly named the "Google Mini."

"Though I had resolved myself to purchase a commercial solution," added Carson, "my budget simply wouldn't support the price tags of many of the solutions on the market. The Google Mini was a perfect fit - both in functionality and price."

While robust search functionality and highly relevant results were obvious benefits, Carson says the real differentiator for him was the ability to meld the Google-powered search into his own site. Using the advanced capabilities of the available XML interface, Fat Brain Toys was able to not only match their site look and feel, but also provide product thumbnails for related search results, order lookup, shipment tracking, and more.

While Carson estimates that the Google Mini has already paid for itself, he's even more optimistic about its prospects as the company enters its hectic holiday season.

"We always strive to be customer-focused," added Carson, "and we couldn't be happier about how Google Mini has allowed us to satisfy this new breed of search-savvy customers."

About Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys was founded in 2002 by husband and wife team Mark & Karen Carson to sell toys that entertain and educate. Hence the Fat Brain Toys tagline, Smarter Toys = Smarter Kids. Begun as a literal garage startup in Elkhorn, Nebraska, the Carsons have grown their company into one of the largest independent, online retailers of specialty toys in the country by offering great toys at fair prices, coupled with truly remarkable customer service. Please visit to see the entire range of toys offered by the company.

Media Contacts:

Mark Carson

President & Co-Founder


Company Information:

Fat Brain Toys

20214 Veterans Drive, Suite 500

Elkhorn, NE 68022


Ph. 800-590-5987

Fx. 402-779-3253


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Mark Carson
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