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Nebraska Furniture Mart Adopts Website Search Technology

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Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) has always put extreme emphasis on giving customers the best deals and superior service in order to foster lifelong relationships. As such, NFM, which operates America’s largest volume home furnishing stores with more than 450,000 square feet of retail space at each location, recently announced that they've adopted SLI Systems’ flagship Learning Search™ as a way to ensure the best online experience for customers shopping at NFM.com. According to Internet Marketing Manager Jeff Douglas, SLI’s hosted site search solution was a better alternative to NFM’s previous internally developed site search, which had limited functionality. Additionally, it proved to be a better option over a leading non-hosted online retail search product which NFM had purchased but never had the internal resources available to install or manage. “SLI’s hosted approach was very appealing because it required only a small amount of work on our end to get it up and running – and it continues to be completely hands-off for us,” said Douglas. “In addition, SLI easily adapted to our business requirements that called for handling each of our product families differently. The best part about the whole thing is they did all of this during their risk-free, 30-day free trial– and it performs better than we expected.” Search Data is a Powerful Marketing Tool One of the biggest benefits NFM has seen is a huge reduction in the number of complaints from customers who couldn’t find what they wanted on NFM’s site, as well as an increase in user feedback about their search experience thanks to SLI’s Feedback Tool. The Feedback Tool enables NFM to poll search users about search results, and gives them an opportunity to describe what they expected to see for the search term they entered. This information further helps NFM refine its search results to be in line with visitors’ expectations. Another area where NFM benefits from Learning Search is in the comprehensive reporting it provides. Learning Search gives marketers detailed information about the keywords site visitors use and the items they click on, which arms Douglas and his team with great insight into what items they should stock up on or add to their inventory. “Knowing what search terms are used on our site and what products generate interest is really useful to our marketing and merchandising efforts,” said Douglas. “For example, before we implemented Learning Search, we had no idea how popular the ‘Microsoft Zune Player’ was among our customers. Without the search data we were missing out on a big opportunity to sell this product to our visitors as we hadn’t yet added it to the site. “Likewise, it’s also great to know what terms DON’T generate good results, because that means we either need to add new products to our inventory or change the way our products are described so they match those search terms. None of this information was provided from our in-house-developed search tool, and as a result our marketing efforts weren’t as effective as they could have been.” Hosted Solution is Flexible and Customizable Douglas said his team was pleasantly surprised to discover how flexible Learning Search is. For example, the system allows him to set policies for creating different results pages for certain search terms. “If someone types ‘customer service’ in the search box, that person will be directed to the actual Customer Service page rather than an irrelevant listing of products,” he said. Learning Search is also completely customizable so that the look and feel of the search results pages – which are hosted on SLI’s servers – are an exact match to the rest of NFM’s site. And because it’s a hosted solution all the customization work is performed by SLI’s engineering team. “NFM has a long history of giving customers the highest level of service, and we’re honored to have our search solutions chosen by such an esteemed organization,” said Dr. Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems. “Because we provide a hosted offering, many large and mid-sized retailers like NFM find they have more time to focus on other critical marketing activities. They give us an initial data feed and after that, they can sit back and watch the search work for them. It’s a win-win for our customers and theirs.” About Learning Search and Site Champion Based on SLI’s patented “Learning Search” advanced analytics engine, the company’s hosted site search, hosted navigation and automated SEO solutions “learn” from user behavior by tracking the search terms people use on a retailer’s site and the resulting items they click on. The SLI solutions give retailers greater insight into what terms they should be both linking products to and including in product descriptions, and which products are the most popular for various keywords. As a result, retailers can ensure the products people are searching for show up in the right searches – whether those searches are conducted on their own sites or on an Internet search engine like Google. Learning Search is a hosted site search solution that continually tracks visitors’ aggregate search terms and the corresponding items clicked on, and uses that data to deliver results based on popularity. For example, if someone searches for “GPS” Learning Search automatically ranks the items so that those with historically higher click-rates are listed at the top. Learning Search also shows how many products exist and in what categories, and gives visitors the option to sort the results by ascending or descending prices, or filter by category. Learning Search is supplemented with a free Site Search Feedback Tool, which is designed to help e-commerce and other Web sites better understand the quality of their site search functionality based on customer input. More information is available at http://www.sli-systems.com/feedback. More than 250 sites use SLI Systems’ hosted search offerings including ULTA, Tupperware, Harry and David, Smith & Hawken, NRS (Northwest River Supplies), FTD and eTronics.com, among others. 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 automated 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. Current customers include Etronics.com, NBC, Tupperware, and others. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sli-systems.com.

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