Sports equipment retailer MonkeySports tames jungle of search results

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A retailer of team sports equipment is ensuring products show up when and where they are supposed to in search results.

Founded in 1999, Allen, Texas-based MonkeySports started out as a small hockey store in California. After initially venturing into e-commerce with a dedicated hockey equipment site, the company now has multiple sites specializing in baseball, lacrosse, and team sports; as well as a number of superstore locations across North America.

The majority of the products MonkeySports sells are “hard goods” – the actual equipment used to play specific sports. The retailer began experiencing problems with its online search function when it migrated its e-commerce platform from Magento 1 to Magento 2. 

Specifically, the retailer had issues getting its feed spec right and placing product data where it was usable for search. These data issues were exacerbated by delayed response times from offshore tech support for its previous online search solution. MonkeySports developed workarounds in order to get search results live, but discovered front-end design issues as a result.

Following recommendations from other e-commerce retailers, MonkeySports decided to implement Searchspring to address its search and data challenges. During the four-to-six-week implementation process, Searchspring created a Slack channel to enable real-time communication throughout the integration of its solution. 

Previous design and control issues were also addressed as part of the integration. Searchspring is able to replicate MonkeySports’ category layouts and calculate where and when to avoid showing comparison pricing. The retailer can now more closely align badges to its category pages, as well. 

In the first full month following Searchspring integration, an average of 8% of shoppers on MonkeySports’ dedicated sites for hockey, baseball, goalie equipment, and lacrosse used search. In this period, 22% of orders were attributed to search, as was 23% of revenue.

With the Searchspring dashboard, MonkeySports can see exactly why different products are triggered to show in search results, and add merchandising rules to boost certain products, categories, or brands as needed. While MonkeySports is currently focused on search, the retailer has plans to leverage other Searchspring tools in future campaigns, including for the creation of landing pages. 

“We used to regularly get questions from our customer service team, asking why products were displaying in the wrong place or not showing up at all. Since we switched over to Searchspring, I haven’t heard of those types of complaints coming in from customers,” said Ki Song, director of e-commerce development, Searchspring.