• November 1, 2007
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Nailing It Down

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For more than half a century, Medina, Minn.-headquartered Rockler Woodworking and Hardware has provided its customers with hardware, tools, wood products, and finishing, along with woodworking plans, books, and videos. The company, which has been on the Web since 1996, had been relying on a packaged search, navigation, and merchandising system for its online retail branch, Rockler.com. But, simply put, that older software "was not robust enough," says David Werden, the site's senior Web developer. The system's shortcomings left the retailer looking for a way to deliver a more flexible search-and-navigation experience, enabling customers to locate merchandise with fewer clicks. Now, however, that's an issue that's been nailed. With Rockler.com's confidence in the software chipping away, the woodworking specialist evaluated several search-engine offerings ranging from very basic tools to enterprise products before selecting Progress EasyAsk, a site search, navigation, and merchandising platform from application infrastructure software provider Progress Software. (Progress acquired EasyAsk in 2005.) "We were attracted to EasyAsk by the prospect of presenting a more unified interface, whether a customer is drilling down through our category structure or looking at and refining search results," Werden says. Rockler.com launched EasyAsk search and navigation features this past February, and two months later rolled out the EasyAsk analytics functionality to identify popular searches and those that were not returning products, according to Werden. EasyAsk lets Rockler.com provide product search results coupled with related articles and blog entries via EasyAsk's indexing functionality; highlight sale or overstock merchandise on its "Rockler Outlet" pages; and feature, promote, and categorize "Rockler Exclusive" items on one landing page. As a result of the implementation, Rockler.com has improved its Web site's browser-to-buyer conversion rate by 30 percent, while search results are returned about five to 10 times faster, according to Werden. "The accuracy of the results is better and the variety of ways to find a product has increased," he says.
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