SLI Systems

June 17, 2009 12:51 ET

Hansen Surfboards Rides the Wave of Higher Sales and Conversions With SLI Systems

Learning Search Hosted Site Search Brings Six- to Eight-Fold Increase in Conversions for Surf Gear, Accessories and Apparel Retailer

CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwire - June 17, 2009) - As the saying goes, "Surf's up!" And for Hansen Surfboards, sales and conversions on its e-commerce site ( are also up, thanks to hosted site search from SLI Systems. The provider of on-demand, intelligent search services for Internet and e-commerce ( sites was selected by Hansen Surfboards earlier this year to improve the search and navigation experience for the retailer's online visitors. Hansen has also deployed SLI's user-generated SEO ( solution to drive more traffic to the site through organic searches.

As explained by Josh Hansen, president of the family-owned business, SLI's Learning Search site search ( solution has been a key component of the company's efforts to grow its e-commerce business.

"Since we started using SLI in February of this year, we've already started seeing great results. For example, conversions are six to eight times higher for people who use the search on our site compared to those who don't. And people who search the site spend about 15% more per order than non-site search users," he said. "Over time, we plan to make adjustments so that ultimately anyone who comes to our site uses the search because it's such a great component of our e-commerce site."

Catching the E-commerce Wave with Better Site Search

Hansen Surfboards was started in 1962 as a surfboard shaping business by Don Hansen, Josh's father. Over time, the business grew and began shipping surfboards all over the world. Today, Hansen Surfboards occupies a 16,000-square-foot retail space in Encinitas, CA -- just north of San Diego. The company started selling boards, accessories and surf wear online in the mid-2000s and has made its e-commerce site a much greater focus the past couple of years.

"As e-commerce has become more important to our overall business, we've taken a look at areas on our site where improvement was needed," said the younger Hansen, who took over management of the business in 2000. "The external site search was definitely in need of our attention, as we could tell that many search terms people used generated no results, which caused cart abandonment and lost revenue. With SLI, those issues have been resolved."

Several months ago Hansen's team began researching site search vendors and evaluated SLI Systems and one other provider. They ultimately chose SLI because of the intelligence of its search and the quality of results, as well as the Site Champion user-generated SEO component they offered. Site Champion uses Learning Search data to determine long-tail and other keywords used on the site and creates "Related Search" links that are crawled by search engine spiders. Site Champion automatically creates landing pages optimized for higher ranking in organic searches to drive more traffic to the Hansen Surfboards site.

"Our previous site search was also problematic because it didn't allow us to easily create new search queries -- for new products, for example -- and didn't offer any way to refine search results by color, size or other attributes," he said. "With SLI, all of this can be performed automatically -- and because it's hosted, our work is minimal. The SLI team handles pretty much everything for us and our business has reaped the benefits."

Hansen sees the SLI search getting better and better over time, as the learning from users' search behavior takes place, and expects that the e-commerce site will continue to grow and thrive as a result. He also has interest in using SLI's Learning Navigation offering, which creates navigation pages based on site search activity and results, so people can click on a category page (e.g. "Women's Surf Clothing") and then be taken to a search results page for that term.

"Working with SLI has just been a great experience," said Hansen. "They're incredibly responsive and proactive, and demonstrate real value in helping us grow our business. Even though they're one of our vendors they feel more like a partner."

About SLI Systems

SLI Systems is the developer of learning-based search and navigation technology for corporate Internet sites, e-commerce destinations and consumer Internet portals that Searches, Learns and Improves the user experience. SLI Systems' hosted site search and user-generated SEO ( solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and yielding valuable customer information. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems' patented technology continuously "learns" from the behavior of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit, or see the company's blog at

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