Retailers Embrace Internal Site Search for Accuracy, Relevancy, and Profitability

53% of Top Retailers Are Personalizing Search Results Based on Behavior and Purchasing History

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 11, 2010) - In the face of difficult market conditions, including a sluggish lift in consumer spend, retailers are under pressure to streamline their e-commerce site's navigational ease of use and relevancy of products offered. One of the key areas this organizational imperative is being taken to is the consumer-driven product research process. Sixty percent (60%) of top retailers are revamping their site search tools to address rapidly shifting customer affinities, according to the Aberdeen Group report, Retail E-Commerce Search: Accuracy, Relevancy, and Profitability in the Age of Choice. The research from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS) details the business benefits derived from upgraded retail site search process optimization.

According to Aberdeen data, search merchandising has become a crucial multi-departmental selling tool for top-performing online retailers. Eighty percent (80%) of these organizations have developed a process for quantifying successful up-sells resulting from search merchandising, and 73% have established a process for disseminating results from search merchandise campaigns to key decision-makers throughout the organization.

"At first glance, merchandising and marketing executives are likely to be the predominant user for receiving search campaign results, as they are ultimately responsible for determining the length of a promotion, target end-user, related campaign products, and other related variables," says Greg Belkin, retail research analyst, Aberdeen. "However, many other parts of an organization can benefit from increased visibility into search merchandising efforts such as supply chain managers, and store-level and customer service executives."

Aberdeen data also shows that nearly half of all top retailers are dedicating analytics resources to leveraging search merchandising campaign results (47%). Search merchandising campaign results provide valuable consumer and business insight, such as determining which products can be successfully cross-sold or up-sold with other products, how customer affinities are changing within a particular time period, population segment, or location, and how site real estate adjustments effect sales rates. With the help of BI applications, this data can be translated into conclusions for executives throughout the enterprise.

Analytical data derived from site search can also be used to improve future search campaigns. Fifty-six percent (56%) of top retailers indicated they are utilizing customer search analytics to re-adjust search results automatically. An additional 44% of these top retailers are adjusting search results manually based on automated analytics reporting.

"Consumer and business analytics resources allow retailers to leverage the search process as a key customer touch-point," commented Belkin. "The more information taken into consideration regarding previous activity and site behavior, the more likely an up-sell will be. This saves time for the consumer and increases profitability for the retailer."

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: EasyAsk and SLI Systems. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: The association partner for this report is the National Retail Federation (NRF).

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About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company
Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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