Visitors to Unicahome.com Find More and Spend More with Site Search from SLI Systems

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Home furnishings retailer sees increase in sales generated from E-commerce Site Search

SLI Systems, provider of hosted search and navigation technology

Not only is it much easier for our customers to find popular items like our Alessi housewares, but our own employees can now help customers find what they're looking for or suggest similar products

When site search is fast, accurate, and easy to use, it becomes a key contributor to e-commerce success. Unicahome.com, an online retailer of home furnishings and design products, is a perfect example of the value of search: since implementing Learning Search from SLI Systems earlier this year, orders generated from search now make up 40 percent of the company's online sales.

Before bringing in Learning Search, Unicahome.com, with more than 52,000 products on its website, presented a challenge for online shoppers seeking just the right teakettle or sofa. And since the site specializes in designer brands whose names can be complex, site visitors needed to know exactly how to spell the names in order to search successfully.

Once Unicahome.com chose SLI's Learning Search, the process of sifting through tens of thousands of product choices became faster, easier, and more productive, explained Nick Paladeni, who oversees the company's website and ecommerce operations.

"Not only is it much easier for our customers to find popular items like our Alessi housewares, but our own employees can now help customers find what they're looking for or suggest similar products," Paladeni said. "SLI Systems' site search has helped us improve our service to customers, whether they're shopping online, over the phone, or in our showroom in Las Vegas."

Before implementing site search from SLI Systems, Unicahome was using Google Search to provide limited search capabilities for the ecommerce site. "We were only able to use broad categories for searching," said Paladeni. "For instance, customers could search for furniture, lighting, or housewares, but could not drill down by searching by brand name or by a specific item name. Our products were getting buried in search, because no one could find them."

Customers who didn't spell a brand name correctly, or who didn't describe a product accurately, would simply receive an error message. "Even our employees, who know the stock, had trouble finding products," Paladeni said. "It got to the point where people were discouraged from using search. We had simply outgrown the search technology we had."

When a site redesign was launched at the end of 2008, Paladeni chose Learning Search for the site's new search solution, after taking advantage of SLI Systems' 30-day free trial. At the same time, Unicahome.com also implemented Site Champion, SLI Systems' automated user-generated search engine optimization (SEO) solution.

Since implementing Learning Search, Paladeni and his team have seen an increase in orders generated by searches - such orders now comprise 40 percent of all purchases on the site. In addition, customers who use the site search spend on average twice as much per order as people who don't search. Nearly all orders for high-ticket items such as sofas, and for multiple items, are driven by search - an indication that customers are finding the search feature more user-friendly, Paladeni said.

"We've also found it useful at times to be able to manually adjust the order of search results to highlight certain merchandise - something we were not able to do with our old site search solution," Paladeni said. "For example, we know that people who are searching for a teakettle are often looking for the Michael Graves model, and we can edit the search results so that this specific item shows up at the top of the results."

The insights into customers' search behavior that Learning Search provides also helps Paladeni and his colleagues add products that customers search for that aren't already in Unicahome.com's inventory. "For instance, using Learning Search, we've found that site visitors are looking for wall art - something that we didn't carry in the past," Paladeni says. "However, we work with vendors that carry it, so we may offer these products to meet demand from our customers."

SLI Systems is offering a webinar titled "Search and They Shall Buy - The Anatomy of a Great Ecommerce Site Search," which discusses current trends in site search and how retailers can leverage new features to generate better returns from their e-commerce site search. Anyone interested in seeing the webinar can view it by visiting http://bit.ly/ncMqs.

About SLI Systems
SLI Systems is the developer of learning-based search and navigation technology for corporate Internet sites, e-commerce destinations and consumer Internet portals that Searches, Learns and Improves the user experience. SLI Systems' hosted site search and user-generated SEO solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and yielding valuable customer information. Unlike traditional search 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 Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit http://www.sli-systems.com, or see the company's blog at http://blog.sli-systems.com/.

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|Nancy Hill
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