Mercado Puts Some Sales in the Search
The idea behind the IntuiFind search engine is to recommend products that have high margins, as well as to push supplier promotions and reduce excess stock.
IntuiFind also can personalize offers according to a consumer's demographic. A manufacturer of office furniture, for example, can post an offer for a $750 executive chair for an executive secretary visiting the site. A student, on the other hand, would receive an offer for a $120 desk chair.
This bottom-line-oriented technology is a sign of the times, according to Yaron Dycian, director of product marketing at Mercado Software, Palo Alto, CA. "A year ago, it was about getting online and getting customers," Dycian said. "Now the essentials of business are back in the game. We all hear about these stories with the dot-coms either making money or going out of business."
Demand for these enhancements was driven by the software company's clients, such as Tower Records, according to Dycian. TowerRecords.com has already reported substantial success using earlier versions of IntuiFind.
In February, the site claimed it doubled its online sales compared with the eight months prior. Last year, its conversion rates hovered around 2 percent. They then rose to 5 percent, thanks in part to the context-related linguistic tools that Mercado provided.
Earlier versions of Mercado's search and navigation tool, as well as its 3.0 version, account for misspelled words, look for phonetic similarities and give consumers the option of describing a product. For example, if a user enters "Belushi in college," the movie "Animal House" would come up.
-- Kenneth Hein