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Dover Saddlery chooses SLI Systems
Sep '08
SLI Systems announced that Dover Saddlery has selected its hosted site search offering to deliver better results to site visitors' queries.

Founded in 1975 by two U.S. Olympic equestrian team riders, Dover Saddlery sells fine English riding apparel, tack and horse care supplies through retail stores, a mail-order catalog and its e-commerce site which was launched in 2000. Offering thousands of products for the avid equestrian, Dover Saddlery sought to improve their onsite search to increase the relevance and overall quality of search results. In particular, many "long-tail" terms -- search terms used less frequently but that have higher conversions -- were difficult to monitor and ensure search results, according to Anne Coyne, E-Commerce director.

After an exhaustive search for a better solution, Dover Saddlery chose to trial SLI's Learning Search hosted site search offering, based in part on the recommendation of its e-commerce platform and hosting provider DMinSite, an SLI partner.

"From the start, we appreciated that SLI had a relationship with DMinSite, which made the integration of the site search into our e-commerce platform a seamless process," said Coyne. "Based on the performance of the learning search, the extremely flexible design and proven improvement in search results, I was confident SLI was the solution for us. Signing on with SLI has improved our customers' experience tremendously, which has significant impact on our business.

"Additionally, SLI offered a flexible trial period that allowed us to test the solution on our site. This trial period helped to confirm the significant improvement in search functionality as well as overall customer experience," said Coyne.

Finding Value in the Long Tail
Key to Dover Saddlery's experience with SLI has been the ability to serve up much more relevant results for all searches, especially for the higher converting long-tail terms.

"Many people come to our site and search for very specific items, such as 'black fullseat riding breeches,'" said Coyne. "With the improved search from SLI, we are better able to service these customers, who are looking for a product with a specific blend of characteristics. With these less commonly used, but higher value keywords and phrases, it is very important to have these trigger search results that best reflect our product offering and give customers a wide selection of relevant products.

"Because Learning Search actually learns from the people who use it and the terms they use, anyone now searching with a long-tail term will instantly see a wide selection of products matching their description, with the most often clicked-on items listed at the top," she said. "This approach to site search has made it much easier for our customers to find exactly what they're looking for and improves the likelihood that they'll make a purchase on our site."

Coyne and her team recently added SLI's new Auto Complete feature to the site search, giving visitors a helping hand in completing search terms faster and with less typing. SLI's Auto Complete relies on the intelligence of Learning Search, using previous visitors' search activities to automatically create keyword suggestions. For example, someone who types "b-r-i" may see "bridle," "bridle bag," "bridle rack" and other suggested terms that they can click on, rather than finish typing the whole keyword.

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