Motorcycle retailer delivers e-commerce navigation tool

Client: Chaparral Motorsports

Vendor: SLI Systems

Objective: To build a site search navigation tool on the motorcycle products retailer’s Facebook page.

Chaparral Motorsports, a San Bernardino, Calif.-based retailer of motorcycle parts, helmets, gear and tires, wanted to drive transactions from its Facebook fan page. In addition to an e-commerce site and a brick-and-mortar showroom, the company decided it made sense to provide consumers with a Facebook shopping option that was both social and informative.

“Facebook will be the gateway to the Internet some day,” says Crystal Ashby, VP of marketing at Chaparral. “I wanted to get our offerings in front of consumers on Facebook in an engaging and informational way that wasn’t a hard push.”

STRATEGY: Last April, the motorcycle products retailer tapped SLI Systems, a navigation, merchandising and user-generated search engine technology company, to build a site search navigation platform directly onto the brand’s Facebook page. The two companies had worked together for roughly a year on Chaparral’s e-commerce search initiatives.

“They offered a relevant search engine we could plug and play into our website,” says Ashby, referring to the original e-commerce implementation. “They enabled us to create synonyms between search terms so that all consumers are directed to the same product with three or four different names. They also have the ability to, based off certain search terms, recommend products rather than letting the search engine pick the products for us.”

Ashby says she was interested in finding out what would happen if this technology were available on Facebook. The goal of the implementation, she says, was to enable customers to search and purchase products from the social network.

SLI Systems built a “Search for Parts” link in the left-hand navigation column of Chaparral’s Facebook page. The link enables customers to remain on the Facebook page while searching and be redirected to the e-commerce page only after they click through to a product.

RESULTS: Ashby’s leap of faith proved valuable. Since the implementation, the “Search for Parts” link is the second-most viewed tab on the brand’s Facebook page behind the company’s “Wall.” Roughly 3% of consumers that use Facebook search convert, compared with 0.5% of non-Facebook users.

The number of people searching the overall e-commerce site has grown 10% since the implementation. More importantly, the average order value of purchases from Facebook has doubled, and revenue directly attributable to Facebook has risen by 26%. As a result  of their success, Chaparral and SLI are currently building a tool that will enable fans to “like” and share search results with only one click.

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