How Perry Ellis uses segmentation to personalize search results

About Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis is a leading global retailer for men, with a rich history spanning nearly 50 years. They’re an international staple that houses other brands such as Callaway Apparel, Cubavera, Original Penguin, Rafaella, and Golf Apparel Shop.

Their large product offering has established Perry Ellis a diverse customer base, full of shoppers who are interested in business, casual, and/or formal clothing. A loyal Nosto client of three years, they’ve been utilizing our ecommerce experience platform to inform and create highly relevant experiences for every shopper.

Given their dedication to personalization, Perry Ellis was the perfect candidate for trying our new Search feature.


As a lifestyle brand with a wide audience, Perry Ellis’s challenge was two-fold.

First, they needed a search solution that delivered hyper relevant search results. Understanding that relevancy is a pillar of any good search experience, Perry Ellis wanted to ensure that their results would be relevant based on any type of query, including color or fabric.

Second, Perry Ellis needed flexible segmentation abilities within those search results to provide the ultimate personalized experience.

They were already utilizing Nosto to personalize parts of their website, specifically through  Segmentation & Insights to inform their Category Merchandising. For instance, shoppers with an affinity for formalwear experience different category pages than shoppers with an affinity for casualwear.

To create a complete and cohesive personalization experience, they wanted to bring these segmentation capabilities into their search feature, which they weren’t able to do with their previous search provider.

We definitely have a wide customer base, which makes search an important part of the business. Nosto’s Search is exactly what Perry Ellis needed: we needed the capability to apply merchandising rules to different search terms, and have the flexibility with segmentation to serve up different results to shoppers so they can have the best personalized experience.

Lexis Kambour, Ecommerce Manager


Just like our experience platform, Nosto’s Search is powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and real time data to achieve relevancy through deep customer understanding.

Without any additional configuration, Perry Ellis was able to serve hyper relevant search results to their shoppers and understand all types of queries. Through natural language processing (NLP) and self-learning algorithms, our Search can understand user intent and complex queries including compound words and typos.

For instance, our search feature can interpret the query “white shirt”, and then show clothes that fit that description, rather than surface t-shirts and other items that are white. Other complex queries include:

  • Swimming shorts: We understand that swim and swimming have the same meaning, even though they are different words
  • Outerwear nylon vests: Since we utilize all product data that often have the highest conversion rate for complex search queries, we surface 4 of these products at Perry Ellis
  • Belt:  We are shown belts and don’t find trousers with belts, or other products where belt is a keyword
  • “Sweters”: Although the user mistyped the term sweater, our Search to has extensive typo tolerance

“Customer searches these days are a little more specific, a little more demanding. They’re not just searching for a polo; now, it’s a polo with striped collar or a polo with a print pattern. So for us, I love that Nosto’s Search can recognize things like color,” says Lexis.

Using our data and analytics, Perry Ellis also leveraged customer insights to inform the merchandising strategy for different segment’s search results. This led them to use specific query rules and global merchandising rules to create a truly holistic, on-site personalization strategy.

Implementing specific query rules

Based on the data Nosto gathers from customer behavior throughout the site, Perry Ellis was able to segment customers based on “style” affinities, such as casual shirts versus dress shirts, and create dedicated merchandising rules for those segments about specific queries.

For instance, Perry Ellis has a query rule for the search term: “linen”, their third most searched term on the website. The query rule boosts products in the search results based on the customer’s most preferred style (eg: casual linen shirts vs. dress wear linen).

“Leveraging segmentation is the perfect opportunity for personalization. If a shopper is searching for linen and has a clear affinity for a certain style, we can make sure to show the most relevant product in their results right away, without the shopper needing to manually sort them,” says Lexis.

Implementing a global merchandising rule

Additionally, Perry Ellis set up a global merchandising rule that applies to all search queries. Depending on the segment of clients, the rule would yield different results.

For example, they used a global merchandising rule for customers willing to pay full price versus customers always looking for a discount.

Shoppers with a new arrivals affinity were most likely to be shoppers with big brand loyalty. Applied to this segment of shoppers, the global merchandising rule boosted those new arrivals and demoted discounted products in their search results, giving the shoppers immediate access to what was new and helping Perry Ellis meet their profit margin.

For shoppers with a discount affinity, Perry Ellis wanted to make sure they did not have to dig throughout the website to find these deals, so they boosted discounted items in their search results. In order to optimize this experience, Perry Ellis also included an inventory rule, which meant that the discounted items in stock were displayed at top.

“This advanced capability of segmentation helped us optimize the search experience. We don’t want to frustrate customers by showing things on sale, but are actually out of stock. We want to show deals that are actually available to our shoppers, and Nosto helped us do that,” says Lexis.


Perry Ellis can now provide the most relevant search results for every single query, creating a discovery experience that’s personalized, accurate, and focused.

Since implementing our Search, Perry Ellis has been able to increase productivity by using one platform to manage every part of their customer’s on-site experience. Additionally, the team there has been able to take full control of the merchandising of their search pages, creating a cohesive, personalized experience and relevant results that align with their business goals.

Lexis says, “As a manager, the user friendliness of the Search tool has saved me time and helped me optimize what I can. Also, there are perks to having everything in one place. It’s great that we can tie everything all together, like looking at our Segmentation & insights from Category Merchandising and then create that same experience in Search. Overall, the flexibility helps us to create a very tailored experience.”

We look forward to continue working with Perry Ellis as they evolve their Search implementation and create even more highly–personalized experiences for their shoppers.