SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

March 06, 2007 12:46 ET

Web Site Search Tools Convert Shoppers to Buyers and Elevate Customer Satisfaction

Best-in-Class Companies Use Search Technologies to Create a Customer Centric Online Experience

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 6, 2007 -- 91% of leading online retailers have improved customer conversion rates, 60% show increased average order value and 100% of leading retailers report year over year increases in customer satisfaction as a result of their web site search applications. This news surfaced in the recent research benchmark report, "Web Site Search: Revenue in the Results," by Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS).

Web site search is a minimum competitive requirement for online commerce as indicated by the 96% of eCommerce web sites that currently have or will have a search tool in place in the next twenty-four months. Differentiation in search tools will surface among companies that focus on key customer service tools that make the online shopping experience more efficient and more gratifying. 86% percent of companies achieving the highest returns from their web site search applications conduct moderate to extensive customizations to fit their specific products or services. The payoff in the eyes of 83% of leading online companies is a positive return on investment (ROI) from their web site search applications.

"eCommerce search applications are innately suited to merchandising, due to their very nature of seeking out products. Yet, 46% of respondents struggle with the proper method to manage this capability," said John Lovett, research analyst, Aberdeen. "To support this function, there is a growing contingent of vendors providing 'Searchandising' tools and techniques for inducing search results to benefit traditional retail merchandising."

Aberdeen questioned companies about their web site search application performance measurement in three critical areas of their businesses to determine which metrics determine search application excellence. The business categories are: Financial, Operational and Consumer. Each of these categories includes Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) specific to Web Site Search that differentiate successful online companies from those that are lagging the industry.

Consumer pressures emerged as prominent factors for eCommerce web sites. Although search is a ubiquitous technology, producing accurate and relevant results remains a top pressure for 78% of survey respondents who seek to deliver search tools to enhance the customer experience. This was followed by the financial pressure of growing revenue faced by 53% of all respondents, trailed by gaining a better understanding of customer behavior through search tools at 35% of respondents. The dominant strategy taken by 59% of survey respondents to address these pressures is continuous fine tuning of search to ensure that customers receive relevant results.

The research, underwritten by Mercado Software and SLI-Systems, shows readers methods to leverage web site search applications to improve comparable year over year sales, customer conversion rates and average order value.

To download a complimentary copy of the report for a limited time, please visit:

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely 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) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to

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