3B Scientific is making it easier for customers to find particular products among its inventory of 111,600 anatomical and biological teaching aids. A recent technology upgrade enables the global manufacturer to provide advanced site search, including partial keywords, in multiple languages across its 14 e-commerce sites.
3B’s products include models of human hearts and skeletons, anatomical charts and posters for medical practitioners’ offices, and supplies for professionals involved in biology, physics and physical therapy. It also sells other health-related products and software.
About 30% of 3B Scientific’s direct sales come through its e-commerce sites, says Miles Sprott, director of global sales and marketing. The rest are through EDI transactions with hospitals, physician offices, teaching institutions, and distributors of educational and medical supplies. Sprott declines to disclose total or online annual sales.
The 69-year-old company has been selling online for nearly 20 years, since Sprott built 3BScientific.com, the company’s first website. Although not transactional at first, 3B added products a few years later and now has 14 individual e-commerce sites, including Brazil, France and South Korea, with content translated into eight languages.
The breadth of languages led 3B Scientific to the Searchandiser site search software from GroupBy Inc. in 2014. In September 2017, 3B upgraded to a new version of Searchandiser that it applies to its websites in multiple languages, along with other technology from GroupBy including site navigation and product recommendations.
With the technology upgrade 3B gained advanced search capabilities with richer search results, Sprott says. “As site performance increased, we added parameters like partial word search we didn’t use before because it caused performance issues in terms of speed,” he says. “Search results are richer so now our team is working on filtering those results.”
It’s too soon for hard numbers on results of the technology upgrade, Sprott says. But since 3B started having its search pages recently indexed by Google, the manufacturer has recorded more organic site traffic. “Our first job is to get more people on the website,” he says. “It’s difficult to tell how much site search holds people on a site. There is still more work to do with product categorization and documents, such as user manuals, that will be implemented by GroupBy.”
The company is true to its paper catalog roots and sells through catalogs in less-developed regions around the world, Sprott says. “In all developed markets—Europe, Japan, U.S. and Canada, where there is an e-commerce propensity—we sell online,” he says. In some countries 3B sells offline through sales reps or distributors, Sprott says, such as Iceland and Uzbekistan, “but many of those customers find us online.”
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