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Keeping customers in front

Nothing frustrates online shoppers more than failing to find what they want to buy. Too many clicks ruin a deal. That's why Patagonia, known for its outdoor apparel, wanted to make sure that its Web site was consumer-friendly in time for the onslaught of holiday shoppers. To eliminate potential glitches, the retailer decided to overhaul the search and navigation functions of its online store.

Perry Klebahn, executive VP of direct sales at Patagonia, explains, "With the goal of delivering the best possible customer experience, Patagonia needed a solution that could reveal our variety of technical apparel while giving customers the means to find specific items in two to three clicks of the mouse."

To enhance its search capabilities, the retailer implemented Endeca InFront in late November. Klebahn says, "[The solution] enables us to integrate an effective search with browsing capabilities to quickly connect customers with highly precise results."

Patagonia is also taking advantage of the software's merchandising features to promote products relevant to a shopper's search and navigation results.

According to a press release from Endeca, Patagonia's decision to improve the search function of its Web site is in step with a growing trend among B2C and B2B e-commerce operations. A July 2003 report from Forrester Research on Web site usability reportedly indicated that search was the most common failed feature of hundreds of sites reviewed. Rather than risk losing business, retailers are instead trying to remedy potential problems.

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