Walmart takes product search 'social'

Aug. 31, 2012 at 6:18 PM

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Walmart says a new search tool on its Web site will show results based on what consumers buy, search for and talk about on social networking sites.

Items that are selling well, generating buzz on social networks or attracting good reviews will be displayed higher in search results, the company said.

The search engine's algorithm takes into account items shoppers have recently purchased on Walmart.com, goods consumers are posting about and sharing on Facebook, and products that have received positive reviews, Internet Retailer reported.

The technology does a much better job of understanding consumers' intent on searches, Walmart said.

For example, when consumers search for the term "house," the old search engine would produce results with numerous dog houses, which few consumers actually bought, Sri Subramaniam, @WalMartLabs' vice president, said.

Now, because the search engine's algorithm considers the items shoppers most often click on, the first results it returns are for DVDs of the TV show "House," he said.

The improved results, Subramaniam said, have led to a 10 percent to 15 percent jump in the number of sales that result from consumers searching for products.

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