Mikasa boosts e-commerce experience with new hosted site search

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Housewares retailer Mikasa & Company has implemented SLI Systems Inc.'s  hosted Web site search and automated search engine optimization offerings to increase site traffic, improve the customer experience and capture more online sales.

Since the implementation, Mikasa has seen the number of searches conducted on its site steadily increase, resulting in more sales and conversions. It also has seen higher traffic numbers stemming from greater visibility on major Internet search engines.

"SLI Systems gave Mikasa & Co. the ability to provide a better shopping experience and therefore a better brand experience for site visitors," said Stephen Henderson, director of consumer services and e-commerce for Mikasa.

"Today, SLI helps our visitors find exactly the item they're looking for, faster," he said. "We know that the largest percentage of visitors to the Mikasa & Co. site are going directly to search, so our ability to share our brand and our products with our visitors has been aided terrifically by SLI by replacing our previous search tool with theirs."

New Jersey-based Mikasa re-launched its e-commerce site in December 2005 and used an off-the-shelf site search solution that was part of its e-commerce platform. Within a few months the company realized the site search was not serving its customers well: it performed slowly and the results were difficult to sort through.

As a result, the company received a number of customer complaints. These visitors told Mikasa that its previous search tool was disappointing: excruciatingly slow responses, and results far too difficult to shop. Consequently, Mikasa, in a measurable way, was turning visitors away from the brand and losing conversion with its search experience.

"When Mikasa first approached us their search was so poor it was broken," said Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems, Cupertino, CA . "I remember at the time their homepage featured a red bowl, and if you did a search for red bowl it would say 'Sorry, no results found.' "

The number of visitors who search the site at www.mikasaandcompany.com has increased dramatically. Also, conversion rates for customers who use the SLI search tool are converting at roughly double the rate of the rest of the site, according to Mr. Ryan.

SLI Systems didn't optimize Mikasa's site. Instead it is using the retailer's Site Champion service, which allows the site search pages to be indexed by the search engines.

"This has resulted in hundreds of new pages being included in the search engines, which are optimized for the search terms used on the site search," Mr. Ryan said.

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