Retailers Using Site Search in Lieu of Ecommerce Site Re-platforming

FitForCommerce works with online retailers of all shapes and sizes – from the small, high growth ground breakers up to the largest multichannel giants. We have recently noticed a really interesting and surprising trend: retailers are using advanced site search solutions to delay and in some cases, even avoid a re-platforming effort. Why?

Retailers are re-platforming every 3 to 4 years at costs up to $10m for the big guys – and this is not including the “soft” costs of business disruption. In a poll conducted during our recent webinar on this topic, more than 70% of the audience indicated that they would prefer to find an alternative to the pain of re-platforming.

We wanted to know more so we conducted a study (of course, we are consultants). We found that by overlaying site search on current platforms, retailers can achieve some of the same advantages they would have with a re-platforming, including:

  • Management of the front-end experience (site navigation,
    product presentation, etc.)
  • Flexible and dynamic merchandising
  • Putting control of the site into the hands of merchandisers
    versus IT/web engineers
  • Optimizing online marketing channels
  • Improvement of overall website look and feel
  • Better understanding visitors’ behavior and intent
  • Increasing site traffic (particularly SEO)
  • Driving efficiencies in site management
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These things lead to better conversion rates, greater average order values, improved brand communication, and overall revenue/profit improvements. Sound like justifications for most re-platforming efforts? They should, because they are.

Ultimately, for reasons like scalability, checkout optimization, and back end system needs (order processing, etc.), retailers may need to re-platform. However, we found that site search really has come a long way in addressing some of the underlying drivers for re-platforming. What’s more, advanced site search solutions are much less expensive and take less time to implement than a full re-platforming effort. Retailers can get a lot of the way toward re-platforming nirvana without spending the big bucks.

All of this is documented in more detail in our recent whitepaper, “Site Search vs. Re-platforming: How focusing on advanced site search can eliminate the need to re-platform your ecommerce website”. We highly recommend you download this great free resource as well as listen to the webinar.



  • Analyze your site search log: Your site search logs can reveal customer needs, intentions, navigation, and merchandising issues and opportunities.
  • “Page Not Found”: If a customer stumbled upon this page, at least show some bestselling products.
  • Searchandising: Optimize user experience in site search by loading synonyms, using no result terms, etc.