finally gets pretty on the inside - SNEWS finally gets pretty on the inside

Outdoor gear etailer improves customer experience by adding search with big pictures.

Faced with the gloomy prospect of being pegged as looking “so 2005”, made some changes… on the inside. About a week ago, the etailer of high-end outdoor gear switched to its new fast and much sexier search platform, polishing up the old version that has been underwhelming customers for years.

Literally. It is FAST. The new search is powered by Microsoft’s FAST ESP. And with its giant-sized search result images, it’s better looking too.

“When it really comes down to it, the coolest thing we’ve done to improve customer experience is make our images bigger,” said Dustin Robertson, Chief Marketing Officer of “In terms of mandatory self-improvement, that’s a ‘duh’ thing, about as cutting edge as a sleeping bag — which is not only too soft to cut anything, but also important to have and not remarkable when you do.”

“I mean, don’t get me wrong,” he added. “I like big pictures.”

Besides the addition of really big pictures, the new search (did we mention it was powered by Microsoft’s FAST ESP?), includes other features that fall squarely in the ‘duh’ category — at least when you really think about how customers want to find gear:

  • Auto spell correct (“Couldviel” automatically becomes “Cloudveil”)
  • Autofill in the search field that shows a list after first three characters (“sof” automatically becomes “softshell”)
  • A color palette filter so you only get results that “go with” your gear
  • A sliding price filter to show you only the trail shoes within your $120 budget
  • A size filter so you know which brands make hiking boots in size 13.5
  • Rollover content so when you’re just looking around, you don't need to click away from the results page onto an individual product page
  • Retractable search filters on the left navigation sidebar for more focus on the gear
  • All search results on one page, loading below the fold (keep scrolling…)
  • Record page load times for all the ADD types that expect results right now, dammit.

The new search platform rolled out on and last week. and will get the big picture treatment in late October.

About is an online retailer of high-end outdoor gear. The etailer carries more than 400 brands in various categories, including backpacking, camping, cycling, hiking, climbing, trail running, paddling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and adventure travel. Backcountry also operates,,,,,,, and is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Interactive Group (Nasdaq: LINTA).