EasyAsk, the leading provider of natural language semantic technologies, and DollarDays, the largest by-the-case online store for small businesses, shared details of DollarDays’ recent back-to-school season success.
In 11 short years, DollarDays is celebrating several milestones, including doubling the number of SKUs it offers to more than 225,000 and the number of suppliers to more than 500. Traffic on the DollarDays site has increased significantly, as have the number of memberships. All of this translates into revenue growth for DollarDays, even in a business environment where competitors are shrinking or going out of business.
DollarDays’ CEO, Marc Joseph, attributes DollarDays’ continued success to many key variables, including a growing number of price-sensitive shoppers, dominant marketing (as seen in the company’s back-to-school programs), and an overall exceptional customer experience led by strong site search, merchandising and analytic capabilities.
“As the volume of traffic and the total number of items increases, the more important it is to present the right items to the visitor as quickly as possible,” says Joseph.
DollarDays originally used the open-source search product, Solr, as part of its open-source e-commerce software stack. Solr is an open-source search platform from the Apache Lucene project.
Business Reasons DollarDays Upgraded to EasyAsk from Solr
- Highly descriptive search—Because of their explosive product catalog growth, DollarDays needed to give shoppers more search functionality and the ability to enter more detailed descriptions in the search box.
- Faceted navigation—Most navigation systems define static categories. EasyAsk[‘s] natural language automatically generates additional layers of product definitions that greatly improve faceted navigation.
- Agile merchandising—Merchandisers can leverage EasyAsk eCommerce to create banner ads, promotions, and rapidly identify and adapt as shopper trends develop.
- Manageability—The scope of managing search terms over a product catalog of 225,000 SKUs can be overwhelming. EasyAsk offers intuitive graphical tools and analytics to make the job easier.
“EasyAsk search dramatically reduced the time for customers to find products and get to that all-important checkout stage,” said Joseph. “As our number of items and seasonal merchandising needs grew, EasyAsk’s superior faceted search enabled our shoppers to more explicitly explore items across multiple dimensions. We offer a number of niche products, and once the visitors get to our site, we need to make it easy to find the exact product they want. EasyAsk helps us do that.”
Kevin Ryan, Vice President of Merchandising at DollarDays, said, “Wholesale sites are generally behind consumer sites when it comes to usability. Many sites only offer basic search and simple navigation by category. Imagine scrolling through 5,000 different products in the same category, such as toys, to find the one you’re looking for. People eventually get frustrated and leave. That is what sets us apart—we are way ahead of the competition.”
DollarDays recently redesigned its homepage, leveraging EasyAsk’s analytics, natural language merchandising and faceted navigation to better guide visitors and present high-priority items for the season in much less space. DollarDays also uses EasyAsk analytics to discover and actively promote the top items its customers are looking for at any given time. An example can be found in its “School Charity Drive” page, where EasyAsk Analytics identifies the 500 most-popular items from last year and promotes these in a blackboard-style category grid.
Joseph is an active contributor to The Huffington Post on economic and business issues. According to Joseph, “Despite the fact that many U.S. consumers believe we are still in a recession, DollarDays is well into our best back-to-school season yet, which is the biggest season for our company. EasyAsk is a big part of our success.”