Online Search Tool Suits Wildfang

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Wildfang, an online women’s apparel marketplace offering menswear-inspired clothing, has positioned itself as an advocate of feminism, reproductive rights, and immigration and has grown smartly in the few years since its inception.

But to continue to grow at its desired pace, the Portland, Ore.-based company needed a better online search tool, according to Hayley Forsyth, Wildfang’s senior e-commerce manager.

She called the company’s prior search tool “very basic” and points out that it didn’t offer a strong customer experience. In addition, updates to the site had to be handled manually, and the site would crash far too often, Forsyth says.

Wildfang executives knew they needed a more customer-friendly, efficient search tool in place before the 2019 holiday shopping season.

Though some other search engines offered very advanced artificial intelligence and other heavily touted features, as a relatively young, small company, Wildfang found those solutions beyond its economic means.

Starting with a Google search early in the summer of 2019, Wildfang considered several vendors before selecting Searchspring’s Site Search & Autocomplete and Category Merchandising solution.

“It had all the functionality that we were looking for, and the price wasn’t exorbitant,” Forsyth says. “They had all of the automation that we needed. We were impressed with their team. They had a lot of knowledge in our industry. We had a lot of confidence in choosing them.”

The decision was made in September of last year. Searchspring worked with Wildfang’s third-party web developer to roll out the solution at the end of October, just before the holiday shopping season started.

Searchspring’s Category Merchandising is designed to display products in which the shopper is most likely to be interested, with drag-and-drop controls that enable Wildfang to organize and rank product results based on rules that align with business goals. Wildfang can also enhance shoppers’ experiences by grouping matching items, boosting best-selling products, placing sold-out products at the bottom, and facilitating campaigns and promotions.

“We don’t have to worry about the site appearing to be broken if we are out of a size,” Forsyth says. “We now have [automated] rules in place to update the site if we run out of a size or out of a product. Rules are in place to automatically update the site. We don’t have to manually update it anymore. That saves us a lot of time. Anything that can save the employee time is super-beneficial.”

The site can also draw on context to deliver better product choices to customers from the outset, Forsyth says.

“It’s all about the personalized consumer journey and the ability to help our customers find what they are looking for as fast as humanly possible,” adds Wildfang CEO and cofounder Emma Mcilroy.

The Searchspring platform lets Wildfang do the following:

  • Scale its e-commerce site as the company grows, providing real-time updates to adjust to their shoppers’ preferences and needs, while maintaining full control of the site’s merchandising rules.
  • Identify new and best-selling products and promote them without having to manually update as products go out of stock or change in demand. As shopper tastes change, Wildfang can update and optimize merchandising and promotion decisions.
  • Customize and optimize searches, regardless of how different shoppers might search for products on the site.

In the first four months of using Searchspring’s solution, Wildfang saw its search conversion rate increase by 24 percent and search revenue per visit grow by 17 percent. While the percentage of shoppers using search remained constant, overall revenue from search grew by 9 percent. Wildfang also found that shoppers who use the search function are four times more likely to convert than those who do not.

For the upcoming holiday shopping season, Wildfang hopes to get even better results through the combination of its newly adopted Shopify platform and the Searchspring solution. 

The Payoff

Within four months of installing Searchspring's Site Search & Autocomplete and Category Merchandising solution, Wildfang saw the following results:

  • its search conversion rate increased by 24 percent;
  • its search revenue per visit grew by 17 percent; and
  • its overall revenue from search grew by 9 percent.

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