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Easier e-procurement

Endeca's (www.endeca.com) search, navigation and merchandising solution played a major role in the 32 percent increase in online sales realized by Premier Farnell (www.premierfarnell.com) in the first six months of 2005, according to a press release from Endeca. Premier Farnell—which markets and distributes 400,000 electronic, maintenance, repair and operations products and specialist services—deployed the Endeca solution across its worldwide online sales channels in 2004.

The search engine is available on the company's Farnell InOne (www.farnellinone.com/uk) and CPC (www.cpc.co.uk) Web sites, which serve the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia Pacific, as well as on United States-based Newark InOne (www.newarkinone.com). Because of the size and diversity of its product catalog, Premier Farnell faced the substantial information challenge of helping customers find highly specific products among millions of possible options. For example, the Newark InOne catalog includes 2.6 million products, each described by an average of 30 different attributes. Compounding the challenge was the need to provide the solution in 21 countries and eight language combinations.

"All platforms come with some type of search technology," says Rob Knight, group e-commerce director at Premier Farnell. "We used basic technology at first and then moved to a more advanced third-party product. But we knew all along we needed something much more powerful. Our customers need to quickly find and select products intelligently by technical need or specification, not just by part numbers."

Endeca reports that Premier Farnell is benefiting from several features in its solution: integrated search and browsing; one catalog, many views; dynamic product and content promotion; multilingual support; and integration of contextual content. The result, Endeca adds, is a smooth-running online catalog and e-procurement process.

Knight says, "The search engine has been very well received by customers, and it is reflected in business growth. Web sales in our European and Asian business grew 41 percent in the first half of 2005. E-commerce is now in excess of 18.5 percent of the overall Premier Farnell marketing and distribution business."

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