What’s the Cost of Keeping Search Results Current and Relevant?

I’ve bought two dozen or more bottles of wine from the New York Times Wine Club over the past few years.  That would not qualify me as a highly valued customer, I’m sure, but it would likely rank me as worth retaining.

This morning I received an email ad from the wine club promoting a new Spanish wine.  Though I was not interested in the offer, the email did serve as a trigger to visit the site.  When I landed, I searched on pinot noir – the only grape I’m interested in these days — and here’s a picture of the results page.  It’s beautifully laid out but what a brand-eroding experience!

Of the 12 wines proffered, 10 are tagged Not Available.  I know that one of them, at least, hasn’t been available for a year.  The list would suggest, therefore, that the search pulls from historical product offerings rather than current product offerings.  That might be acceptable if the products are simply out of stock, but what if they are no longer offered?  Is it really that difficult to maintain a database?

The cost of providing current, relevant search results may be far less than the cost to the brand when it reflects so poorly on its diligence and processes.  How do you ensure that your search results reflect relevance AND currency?

–Roger Beynon, CSO

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