Next is working with its website search provider on the latest version of its Sale website, which will go live on July 18.

SLI Systems provides the search facility across Next’s several websites and during Sale periods records more than 20 million search queries each day.

The technology provider works closely with the retailer on its Sale site as search and navigation are crucial when Next is trying to quickly clear a limited amount of stock. 

Some details of the improvements Next has been making to its main website were released last week by Google, as part of the launch of a study it undertook looking at how retailers can make simple site changes to increase website conversion rates. This includes changes to its on-site search facility.

The SLI system continually learns from the searches that customers make to deliver more relevant results over time. It records all search histories so staff know which search terms are most popular, helping them improve target promotions and cross-selling and up-selling activity on the site.

A Next spokesperson said search is extremely important to the volume of sales the retailer records online. “The customer experience is central to everything we do so we’re continually refining what we’re doing both online and offline. Working with SLI has improved our online search capabilities and allowed us to provide our customers with what they want.”

SLI Systems vice-president of marketing Geoff Brash added that its retail customers typically improve conversion rates by 30 to 40 per cent using the system.

➤ Separately, Next is using a predictive analytics system from SPSS to help it better understand its customers and improve its online and offline marketing. Information on customer behaviour is examined using the software in order to better tailor marketing content and improve customer retention and sales conversion.