We recently completed a 12-week analysis of PETCO's site search feature, focusing in particular on the conversion performance of the Sort dropdown box, which allows online shoppers to refine search results using key merchandising criteria, including price, popularity, new, on sale, and last but not least, customer rating! 

Using Coremetrics online analytics, we found that the sort by customer rating tactic was the leading performer by a long shot, delivering 22% greater sales per unique visitor than the second best tactic on a same-session basis and 41% greater sales per visitor on a multi-session basis!  In summary, search shoppers that consult the collective wisdom of other PETCO.com customers to find products spend more dollars per individual than those that use more conventional means to find products, such as price or popularity.  

Do these numbers shock you?  Well, they shouldn't!  Shopping via site search is a huge time saver (and is widely known as an online conversion driver), but allowing shoppers to go one step further and refine search results by a specific preference delivers even greater convenience and relevance.  Sure, many bargain-minded shoppers will continue to refine search results by price (lowest to highest) or on sale items, but a growing number of consumers prefer to consult their peers before making a key purchase, especially one for a beloved pet and family member.  

How many times have you stood in an aisle or viewed a product online and thought to yourself, Is this thing really any good?  Instead of answering that question directly, PETCO is enabling their most passionate and loyal online customers to provide the  answers.  With each new product review (several thousand have been submitted since PETCO launched ratings and reviews), this collective body of customer expertise expands in size and influence, delivering greater marketing impact and ROI.

Congratulations to PETCO on these outstanding results and for leveraging a key site feature, search, to increase the reach and influence of customer ratings, bringing the voice of the customer to the forefront of the PETCO online experience.  

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