Personalised search means big business

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CDON.COM is an online Nordic retailer and have used Apptus’ online merchandising solutions since 2004.

CDON.COM sells 12 million products across a variety of categories and receives 90 million visitors per year. In 2014 CDON.COM upgraded their search to use Apptus’ behavioural search algorithms. Philip Mossinger, CDON.COM’s Web Manager, discusses the project and its impact on their business.

• An online Nordic retailer with head quarters in Malmö, Sweden.
• Sells 12 million products across a variety of categories.
• Receives 90 million visitors per year.

The challenge

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

We’ve worked with Apptus since 2004, but, as is often the case in technology, we weren’t on the latest version of their software. We talk regularly so we knew that their behavioural search was a big leap forward. It was clear to us that the new search solution had to include a behavioural feedback loop. With a catalogue of 12 million products we needed to rely on behavioural data in order to present the most relevant product for each specific search of our customers.

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?

CDON.COM has significantly increased the number of products it sells, and the number of categories had exploded. Given that 30% of our visitors use site search, with such an increase in the size of our catalogue it was clear that our existing search was going to need an overhaul.

The risk was that we’d have gone to the trouble of extending our range only to discover customers were no longer able to find what they were looking for. The current search was also customised for our legacy product categories such as music, movies, books and games.

When you sell these and combine it with clothes, shoes, sport and white goods it requires a more intelligent search to present the most relevant results.

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

Of course, we do keep up-to-date with the market, but Apptus were the only supplier to include a behavioural feedback loop in their search solution that could cope with our traffic load and product catalogue.

However, we like to be methodical and decided to test Apptus’ latest search solution against what we were then using. We always test all our new features on the website since we don’t know how our customers will react and behave.

Sometimes we think a new feature is a clear improvement but when tested on our customers it has proven otherwise. We understood the theoretical benefits of the behavioural feedback loop in delivering better, more relevant search results but we wanted to put an actual figure to it and so we conducted an A/B test.

50% of visitors were offered the old search solution, and 50% the new.

The solution 

What were the results of the A/B test and were you surprised by them?

Actually, yes. Having been a long-standing client we knew the quality of Apptus’ work but we were truly amazed at the results. Conversion rate increased by a staggering 8% (which, for anyone familiar with eCommerce knows, is an astonishing improvement) and search exits decreased by 18%.

This last figure is important, because search exits are a good indicator of the quality of the search results. The fewer people who exit, the better and more relevant the search results must be.

What’s next for CDON?

The next step for CDON.COM is to use the behavioural data in more parts of the website such as campaigns and e-mail. We also want to continue creating a more personalised experience for our customers, presenting relevant products in other areas of our site beyond search.

With our rapid expansion of new categories it’s crucial to balance exposure of products the customer has bought before with products from new categories.

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

I would say that Apptus is a reliable partner with a product that can significantly improve the customer experience. We had the opportunity to test their solution and see the effect on our customers and the results were excellent. Their desire to make a better product and improve it in close dialogue with their clients is a key differentiator.

In order to keep up with competitors you need the very best technology and this is where Apptus excels.


Conversion rate increased by a staggering 8% (which, for anyone familiar with eCommerce, knows that this is an astonishing improvement) and search exits decreased by 18%.


Web Manager, CDON.COM

The Result

Conversion rate increase
decreased exits

“Having been a long-standing client we knew the quality of Apptus’ work but we were truly amazed at the results.”

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