Overstock search function gets makeover

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Overstock.com has partnered with three other companies in an effort to make its overall site experience, and particularly its search function, more user-friendly.

The online retailer has partnered with Omniture Inc., Bazaarvoice and Mercado, using integrated solutions from the three companies through Omniture Genesis to employ a strategy the company calls “searchandising”—the usage of on-site search terms, user-generated product reviews and analytics to optimize product merchandising and relevance for site users.

“This gives us the ability to change the user experience: What products they see, what banners they see, and we can see what banners are doing the best,” said Geoff Atkinson, VP of tactical marketing at Overstock.

Overstock does not allow third parties to advertise via banner ads, the banners on the site all advertise various Overstock promotions.

Atkinson said Overstock initially implemented Mercado, an ecommerce solution provider offering site search and navigation tools, as its search platform a year ago. It later brought in Bazaarvoice for its analytics expertise and business optimization software company Omniture.

Overstock has been using all three companies for its “searchandising” strategy for about two months.Data from Omniture SiteCatalyst is fed into Mercado through Omniture Genesis, where Mercado uses the information to optimize Overstock's search results and site navigation. Overstock displays Mercado search and refinement results that include Bazaarvoice ratings and reviews, which customers can use as a sorting or refinement preference when selecting products to purchase, said Atkinson.

He explained that the product ratings and reviews are “very popular” with users on the site, who can now sort of highest review rating after they search for an item if they choose.

“People make a lot of purchases based on the reviews,” Atkinson said.

Though he declined to say specifically what further changes the Web site may be working on for the future, Atkinson said bettering the user experience is always an ongoing process.

“We're always striving to make site more relevant,” he said.

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