Adlibris – Who thought selling books could be that easy?

Online Swedish book retailer, Adlibris, have used Apptus’ online merchandising solutions since 2012. They sell over ten million titles and have two million customers visiting their site a month. Jenny Cahier, their Business and Web Strategy Analyst, discusses their work with Apptus.

Revenue increased by 14% Conversion rate increased by 5%

“Through working in close collaboration with Apptus we’ve gained a deeper understanding of Apptus eSales. Since implementing the solution revenue has increased by 14%.” JENNY CAHIER, Business and Web Strategy Analyst, Adlibris

What was your initial criteria for selecting the right provider and did this criteria change as you delved more deeply into the process?

The initial criterion was simply to provide a more relevant and personal search experience. However, as we learned more, our requirements grew – we wanted to optimise panel positions depending on the customer’s interests, we wanted recommendations panels to broaden suggestions (not simply duplicate them), and our expectations regarding conversion grew.

What sparked the need to change your search, merchandising and personalisation solution? Was it simply time for a redesign or were your existing technologies no longer fit for purpose?

Our previous site had a basic search engine, which was configured using our own calculated sales and relevance statistics. Initially it worked well enough, but our customers began to ask for better results that showcased more of our catalogue, not just the best selling titles. Furthermore, our company vision was evolving. Instead of competing on just the usual aspects of price, customer service and fulfilment, we wanted to add a more personal experience and to inspire our customers in their choice of literature.

What was the most important criterion which made you select Apptus?

We looked at a few different companies. We chose Apptus because their product was already widely used by other retailers, some of them in our line of business, and, having been developed over a number of years, was far more sophisticated than competing solutions. We did not have the time nor resources to develop our in-house search engine to this level – we needed a product that worked out of the box.

Were there any particular weaknesses in the other solutions that made you disregard them?

It was mainly the time and resources that would have been required to get them to the level already reached by Apptus.

Has anything surprised you since implementing Apptus? Have you learned something unexpected, or has your approach to merchandising changed?

At the start, our marketing department was a bit sceptical of using an algorithmic approach to selecting recommendations, preferring the manual approach we were used to. But we are steadily moving away from this method, allowing the system to make choices based on the customer, reserving manual selections for purely editorial material.

We have also gained more out of Apptus eSales by having regular contact between our Apptus account manager and our online merchandiser. This has had a major effect on our understanding the solution and its fine tuning, how we plan feature requests and understanding each other’s businesses.

When asked about Apptus by others, what would you say to convince them that we’re worth a look?

We have a tradition of building all our systems in-house, but we would never have had the resources and the focus to build a search engine as sophisticated as Apptus eSales. Working with such a dedicated team who’ve developed such a strong product has been very inspiring.

“We chose Apptus because their product was already widely used by other retailers, some of them in our line of business, and, having been developed over a number of years, was far more sophisticated than competing solutions.”

About ADLIBRIS:

• Adlibris delivers 20 000 books every day to customers in Sweden, Norway and Finland

• Founded in 1997 and is today the leading internet bookstore in Scandinavia

• The business is head quartered in Stockholm, Sweden

 

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