B2B E-Commerce Case Study:

How UX Research Helped Baileigh Double Revenue from Site Search

Usability testing of an industrial manufacturer’s website uncovered a problem: irrelevant site search results. Google Analytics quantified the problem and sparked UX-driven improvements. The result: average revenue per visit jumped over 100%.

Photo credit: Baileigh.com

Problem: Poor Site Search Led to Lost Revenue

Based in Wisconsin and part of JPW Industries, Baileigh Industrial is a top manufacturer of industrial metal and woodworking machinery. They sell through distributors and directly through Baileigh.com.

Last year, tens of thousands of site visitors used Baileigh.com’s site search functionality to look for products. These visitors were 10 times more likely to make a purchase than other visitors, making them a critical segment. 

However, our usability testing suggested that Baileigh was leaving significant revenue on the table. We observed users having a difficult time finding products through the site’s internal search. Products at the top of the results page were often irrelevant to the user’s search terms, and there was no support offered to users who used the wrong keywords or misspelled their search terms.

Surprised by our findings, we conducted additional research to see how widespread these issues were. We began by identifying common search phrases from Google Analytics data and reviewed the relevant results pages. In addition, we implemented screen recording software — which tracks live users’ actions as they browse the site — and reviewed sessions where visitors used the site’s search feature. 

What we found quantified our initial observations: over 50% of site search users were seeing irrelevant products at the top of the search results and leaving the site empty-handed.

Before: When searching for a “bender”, users had to scroll to the 8th listing to find a relevant product.

Google Analytics data showed that for many search queries, such as “tapping arm”, irrelevant results caused many users to abandon the site.

Action: Analysis and Site Search Improvements

We knew there was a real opportunity to improve Baileigh’s search experience — and their bottom line.  Based on the research and UX best practices, we worked with Baileigh’s marketing manager to establish several goals for an improved site search: 

  • Display the most relevant products at the top of the search results listings by default.
  • Help users find better matches for product searches, recover from errors, and conduct quicker searches by displaying recommended search terms as they enter their search query.
  • Display related search terms on the search results page to further prevent user search errors and find the best search terms.

With goals established, we then identified the tools needed to improve site search performance and provided support as Baileigh’s team implemented the solution.

Example of search suggestions as a user types in the search box.

After: A search for “bender” show relevant products at the top of the results page. Related search terms help users refine their search.

Result: 105% Increase in Estimated Annual Revenue

After Baileigh implemented these research-driven UX improvements, we conducted a new round of usability testing and saw users finding the right products much more easily. 

Over the next 6 months, the site’s average revenue per visit jumped over 100% compared to the same 6-month period in the previous year.

More relevant search results and related improvements increased annual revenue from site search by an estimated 105%.

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About the Project

  • Industry: Industrial machinery
  • Platform: Website
  • Audience type: B2B professionals
  • Methods: Usability testing; web analytics
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Primary stakeholder: Marketing team
  • Company size: 200+ employees (JPW)
  • Company locations: Manitowoc, WI; Nashville, TN metro area