$25 million. That’s how much annual sales Cardinal Health Inc. estimates its clunky legacy website was driving to its competitors.
Cardinal Health’s healthcare industry customers were frustrated by obstacles to finding products on Cardinal Health’s medical products site. “That’s not a position we wanted to be in,” Matt Wingham, director of e-commerce, medical products and services, said Wednesday in Chicago at the B2B Next conference, which had more than 700 attendees.
“We had a major problem enabling them to find products, and that forced us to rethink how to tackle the problem; we focused on product content and site search,” Wingham said.
Cardinal Health Inc. is a $130 billion pharmaceuticals and medical supplies company that distributes products to more than 85% of hospitals in the United States. But its customers often went elsewhere to find products and, in addition to lost revenue, the slowdown potentially impacted the quality of care at hospitals and other providers, Wingham said in a session titled “Finders Keepers: Using Search to Win in B2B.”
Issues with the legacy site included unorganized content and few search filters. And some product pages had a disclaimer stating that “not all units of measure indicated may be available for sale,” and that customers should contact their sales representatives for “product specifics,” he said.
Preparations for the new website, which launched in March, included developing a new site taxonomy for more than 300,000 SKUs. The process involved mapping terms from 2,000 internal-facing product categories down to about 800 customer-facing categories, Wingham said. Internal staff conducted the site update and reduced search categories from about 2,000 attribution fields to under 350, he said.
The medical products business unit is in the process of migrating customers from the legacy site, with good results so far. “Over 75% of site visits now contain a search, and we are getting good feedback from customers,” Wingham said.
Cardinal Health followed a simple formula, he said: “Good content plus a good search engine equals a good search experience.” Wingham had some advice to others facing a site search upgrade: “You need to get your product house in order to make search work.”
And in hindsight he noted a wish that he had pursued product information management at the outset of the upgrade. “Look at PIM as a single source of truth for product data and it’s easier to clean up data as you go,” he told his audience.
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