Ecommerce Search Evaluation: Omniture Merchandising

Ecommerce Search, Merchandising, and Marketing

March 5, 2009

In October of 2008, Omniture acquired technology assets from the now-defunct Mercado. These assets have been integrated with the Omniture analytics family to create Omniture Merchandising, available since January 2009. The resulting product is a very strong search, navigation, marketing, and merchandising platform.

NETTING IT OUT

Ecommerce search is used on Web sites that support B2B and B2C sales. Vendors have specialized the offerings for this market by adding search marketing (SEO and SEM) capabilities, merchandising functions, interfaces for merchandisers to manage promotions and offers, and reporting geared toward improving revenue as well as seeker experience.

In this report, we evaluate Omniture Merchandising, the fifth major version of Omniture’s search engine, which was released in June 2008.

Omniture, which has been the leader in the area of merchandiser tools, has now extended its leadership role into search interfaces. With Omniture Merchandising, Omniture establishes leadership in the ecommerce search experience and merchandising effectiveness. Retailers and consumer-like B2B will be hard pressed to find a better solution for ecommerce search and merchandising.

Omniture Merchandising’s chief strengths are its search interfaces, especially the ability to multi-select values to refine a search; its shopping interfaces, which make it easier for merchandisers and programmers to create flexible sites and personalized experiences; and its Commerce Merchandising Console, which has streamlined tasks and a high degree of automation and integration to maximize merchandiser effectiveness. Another strength is its integration with Web analytics data from Omniture SiteCatalyst and Coremetrics, which enable merchandising and search behavior to be driven by site metrics.

Omniture Merchandising’s chief weakness is a feature lacking in all search solutions, but which we’d like to see added to Omniture Merchandising: analytic reporting that both recommends and automatically takes appropriate action to improve results. With the acquisition of Mercado’s Ignition technology by Omniture, we hope to soon see integrated search marketing, with the merchandiser console becoming the interface for managing all search marketing for retailers.

OVERVIEW OF OMNITURE AND OMNITURE MERCHANDISING

Omniture, headquartered in Orem, Utah, was founded in 1996. It has more than 5,000 customers in 70 countries, served by more than 1,200 employees. Its analytic platforms are widely used. Omniture entered the search business in January, 2008, when it completed the acquisition of Visual Sciences and thus acquired what had been known as Atomz and later WebSideStory Search. In November, it added Mercado’s Ignition technology to its portfolio, and now boasts roughly 700 search customers. Many of the Mercado search customers were already Omniture customers: analytics are key to successful search experience and especially key to effective search-driven marketing and merchandising.

The search product coming from the Visual Sciences acquisition is known as Omniture Site-Search. The first release of Omniture SiteSearch was delivered in September, integrating it into the Omniture product family. Omniture describes the new release as analytics driven site search, leveraging any visitor metric to optimize search ranking. This announcement not only strengthened Omniture SiteSearch, but demonstrated Omniture’s commitment to the search market. The next release of SiteSearch is scheduled for 2Q 2009.

The subsequent purchase of Mercado’s assets cemented the commitment to the search market, adding not just search but very strong mer-chandising and marketing capabilities to its portfolio. Omniture has integrated what was Mercado Ignition into the Omniture family, creating Omniture Merchandising. Omniture Merchandising has two-way integration with SiteCatalyst and Omniture Recommendations, and we anticipate future integration with more of Omniture’s Online Marketing Suite products, such as Test&Target.

In June of 2008, under Mercado’s management, the product had entered new territory. That release added shopping interfaces with the goal of ensuring that the leadership search and merchandising capabilities in the product could be deployed to full advantage. Some of the advanced shopping interfaces of Ignition have been held back from Omniture Merchandising, in particular the search ribbon, multi-select capability, and sliders for creating ranges. These features are available via professional services today. We hope to see them packaged in the next release of the product, expected mid-year.

Omniture’s key customer segment is marketing teams: by adding the leading merchandising console to Omniture’s marketing analytics, Omni-ture takes another step closer to being able to deliver a fully integrated, end-to-end marketing platform, from search engines through site pages. The vendor that can deliver a platform for managing SEO, SEM, site merchandising, site marketing, ads, and email campaigns will be unbeatable with marketing executives. Today’s environment requires multiple platforms and tools with conflicting, missing, and mismatched information, making it virtually impossible to quantitatively optimize cross-channel campaigns and promotions holistically.

Omniture’s search product line is now as follows:
•    Omniture Merchandising. Ecommerce search, navigation and merchandising for retailers and B2B environments, delivered on demand (SaaS), custom hosted solution, or as licensed software.
•    Omniture SiteSearch. Search, navigation, and promotion for content-oriented sites, for example, publishing and news sites.

News articles require search that is richer in concepts and entities, and less oriented to attributes, when compared to product catalog search. SiteSearch is tuned for the news, publishing, and content-rich sites. Some Omniture customers have opted to use both SiteSearch and Merchandising, for different areas of their Web properties.

This report examines Omniture Merchandising, the technology released as Mercado Ignition in June of 2008...

 


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