Brookfield Properties Custom Search Experience Provides Valuable Search Data and Improved UX

Chicago

“[CURTIS Digital] introduced the mindset that if the data exists, we need to be able to audit it, and he provided that function for every feature his team implemented. We now have a culture of measuring our performance and their work introduced that focus to our marketing team.”
–Sean Thomas, Senior Director, IT Digital Real Estate

Headquartered in Chicago, Brookfield Properties (formerly GGP) is one of the largest real estate companies in the U.S. and the second largest manager of mall properties across the country. Their portfolio includes 161 locations in 42 states, comprising over 146 million square feet of retail space. Brookfield focuses exclusively on managing, leasing and developing retail properties.

Brookfield Properties Undertakes a Massive Website Redesign

Part of managing an extensive number of properties requires having a strong online presence. In Brookfield’s case, this included a portfolio of over 115 websites. Many of these sites included a large amount of obsolete information, making it hard for shoppers to find exactly what they were looking for. In order to better serve their customers, Brookfield set out to redesign and relaunch all of its websites.

As part of this undertaking, Brookfield re-evaluated the search experience on their sites. They determined an overhaul was in order for this aspect of their online experience as well.

Most out-of-the-box website search solutions can’t handle implementation across multiple domains, so the Brookfield marketing team found itself in the world of custom software. They hired a search vendor to design and implement a custom search solution that would meet their unique needs. Unfortunately, after months of work, the vendor was unable to produce any tangible progress using the solution they had agreed to build.

Custom Search Feature Built and Ready in 60 Days

After over a year of work on the new websites, Brookfield was behind schedule, and the lack of a functional search experience was threatening to push back their relaunch even further. After working with CURTIS Digital during other aspects of their web migration project, Brookfield selected CURTIS Digital to develop a search feature that met their requirements and deadline.

The CURTIS Digital team soon realized that Brookfield had other unique requirements that needed to be taken into consideration. For example, most website search solutions require webpages to be indexed by Google, but many of the pages on Brookfield’s websites were not. In addition, Brookfield had technical integration needs that had to be compatible with their existing site infrastructure. Despite the complexities, CURTIS Digital provided the first fully-functional search for Brookfield’s websites within 60 days of project execution and continued to refine the process even further for first three months after going live.

Search Data Allows Brookfield to Make Informed Decisions

Brookfield’s custom search feature includes a powerful dashboard that displays real-time data about where users are and what they’re searching for. This dashboard renders on a large display that hangs in their corporate office for convenient, real-time viewing. The company’s collection of websites averages 1.5 million searches per month, and the custom dashboard easily enables Brookfield’s team to access current and historical data to identify patterns and trends.

Brookfield’s search data serves three very valuable purposes:

  1. Editorial teams can use the information to provide relevant content based on trending keywords. They can also tweak keywords by using the exact text input in search queries, increasing relevance of content.
  2. The business development team can let prospective tenants know when shoppers are searching for their company and products. This provides a powerful incentive for these retailers to lease space in locations where they do not have a presence.
  3. Leasing agents can provide concrete data on how many times website visitors looked for a company that wasn’t there, as well as which locations had the highest demand.

While Google Analytics provides valuable insights into traffic flow and which pages are the most popular with visitors, the custom search feature that CURTIS Digital built for Brookfield takes website analytics to a whole new level, letting Brookfield’s management know what shoppers want.

Providing Brookfield with access to tangible data based on actual customer searches gives them the power to make informed decisions based on immediate, real-world demand instead of vague estimates and assumptions.

Custom Search Provides a Stellar User Experience for Shoppers

With over 1.5 million searches per month occurring on Brookfield’s custom site search solutions, it’s clear that shoppers find the search feature to be a highly useful tool. Website visitors see results as they type, including relevant stores, restaurants, sales, events and other information.

By providing accurate and relevant information in every search, shoppers can quickly find what they’re looking for without having to navigate complicated menus or wade through irrelevant results.

By enabling Brookfield to focus on the way users interact with their websites, CURTIS Digital provided an invaluable solution that not only adds to Brookfield’s bottom line, but that also provides a high-quality user experience for visitors, while lowering bounce rates and boosting conversions.

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