A new feature on its product pages that leverages careful mapping of product data is paying off in higher conversions and sales, and fewer returns, Kyle Hilbrenner, vice president of ecommerce and digital marketing, explained today in a session at the B2B Next conference in Chicago.

Following a recent website redesign, product detail pages on RepairClinic.com allow buyers to input an appliance model number and find out quickly whether the part on the page will fit that refrigerator, snow blower or lawnmower. Making that work requires careful mapping of data for more than 4 million parts.

On a daily basis this is a tedious process. Our team is constantly optimizing and maintaining.

Finding the right water inlet valve for a Whirlpool refrigerator might not seem that hard. But it’s complicated by the fact that manufacturers constantly introduce new models and because a part often fits models from many brands.

RepairClinic.com, which sells more than 4 million parts for repairing appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, and equipment like snow blowers and lawnmowers, spends a lot of time making sure it can point buyers to the part they need. A new feature on its product pages that leverages that careful mapping of product data is paying off in higher conversions and sales, and fewer returns, Kyle Hilbrenner, vice president of ecommerce and digital marketing, explained today in a session at the B2B Next conference in Chicago.

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Kyle Hilbrenner, vice president, digital marketing and ecommerce, RepairClinic.com

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As part of a website redesign that went live in June, Hilbrenner said, RepairClinic.com added a search box on each product detail page that lets a buyer search for their product and find out whether the part on that page will fit that appliance or piece of equipment.

Answering that question is more complicated than it seems, he said. Manufacturers constantly release new products, but often parts designed for earlier models will fit the newer models. Plus a part for a Whirlpool refrigerator, such as a water inlet valve, might fit a Frigidaire or GE refrigerator. Or it might not.

Verifying the accuracy of part data

Hilbrenner described how RepairClinic.com keeps track of which parts fit which models through a combination of data. It gets some data from manufacturers, has its own data and relies on information from outside sources. Plus, it verifies its information with experienced technicians in such areas as refrigeration and HVAC to make sure it’s pointing customers in the right direction.

In addition, RepairClinic.com, which generates 80% of its revenue online, carefully tracks feedback from its call center agents who account for the remaining 20% of the sales for the company, which sells both to businesses and consumers.

Because it has such accurate information, it was able to add the “Does this part fit my product?” widget on its product page—and it’s generating significant results.

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Since introducing the feature in June, the company’s overall return rate is down 3% and 5% for website sales. The conversion rate for return visitors to its website is up 3%, Hilbrenner said. He did not have at hand a comparable figure for new site visitors.

The search widget on product pages is just one of several features of the new redesign, which is producing positive results, Hilbrenner said. He said the conversion rate for the ecommerce site is up 10% year over year, and average order value has increased by 7%.

Mapping each part to the product it fits is not an easy task for a company like RepairClinic.com that sells more than 4 million parts from 175 brands. “On a daily basis this is a tedious process,” he said. “Our team is constantly optimizing and maintaining, and looking at different pieces of content how we can iterate and change.” That content includes 3,500 proprietary videos, 7,000 diagrams and manuals, and more than 700 articles.

All that content provides buyers with information that can make them more confident that the part RepairClinic.com offers is the one they need, Hilbrenner says.

And the newly redesigned website makes it easier for buyers to save useful information. For example, they can log in and save the model number of their refrigerator or other appliance, and save relevant manuals and articles. Then, when another part fails on their product, they can log in and immediately see the parts that fit their appliance, and more quickly get the part they need to make a repair.

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“That enables the customer to save information that’s important to them,” Hilbrenner said. “We give them that functionality on our site to reduce that friction.”

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