I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

  • Aug 21, 2019
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Keeping people engaged on your eCommerce site isn’t just important – it’s crucial. If visitors aren’t putting items in their shopping carts and making it to checkout, then you’re not going to stay in business very long. Conversion is the name of the game – and it all begins with the search experience. 

How many times have you visited a retailer’s website, searched for something, scanned the results, and then said, “Huh? That’s not what I wanted.” Are you going to stick around on that site? Nope – if you’re like most people, you get frustrated and leave, which means the retailer loses the conversion, or the sale. Nobody’s happy.

Changing the game for end-users

Changing that scenario is exactly what’s behind a recent integration that Slatwall completed with Algolia, whose API makes searches faster and more meaningful. As Ashleigh Smith, Senior Customer Success Manager at Algolia, explains, better searches make for better business. “When you keep people engaged on your site and display search results that are meaningful and relevant to them, they’re not going to bounce off your site and end up on Google or Amazon,” she says. “They’re going to stay with you because they’re getting what they’re looking for.”

Think of Algolia as a searching superhero: Once the API is up and running on the Slatwall eCommerce platform, a powerful array of analytics, filterability, and sortability is at people’s fingertips. According to Izabela Baldyga, ten24’s client solutions manager, this functionality is particularly appealing to retailers who have hundreds or thousands of products on their websites. “By augmenting search capabilities, these retailers make it easier and more satisfying for visitors and customers to engage,” she notes. “Algolia allows you to drill down into search results.”

It’s an especially useful tool in scenarios where there’s a broad array of metadata, like a manufacturer with 1000's of SKUs. Imagine all the different ways visitors might want to search and filter the results. Depending on the retailers’ industries, people might be conducting searches according to size, color, texture, material, vintage, construction, or any number of parameters. The important thing is that when the search is powered by Algolia, the results are valuable and actionable.

The API’s analytics and conversion tracking features mean that retailers can leverage visitors’ activity and patterns to answer important questions and make decisions that encourage conversion and drive business. For instance, as Smith explains, “Merchandisers and marketers can see what the top searches are over the last 30 days – all the way up to 365 days depending on your plan. Based on what visitors are searching for most frequently, retailers can then tweak search results so that visitors start seeing other products that are relevant to those top searches.” In other words, visitors’ prior search habits are harnessed to provide ever more personal search results. Smith refers to the process as “configuring relevancy.” 

Great for developers, too

So far, we’ve addressed what the Slatwall/Algolia integration does for retailers and the end-users who visit their sites. But it’s also equally impactful for the developers who implement the API. “Because the API configures so easily, it takes the pressure off developers to build searches from scratch,” says Jack Hoge, Senior Solutions Engineer at Algolia. “It’s very easy for developers to use and implement.” Without Algolia, he explains, it takes much longer to build a search. That’s because there are lots of moving pieces that developers need to get just right in order to ensure a good search experience. 

Take typo tolerance and synonym handling, for instance. Both of these are easy to ensure with Algolia because they’re built right into the API. Accomplishing these feats without Algolia, on the other hand, is a significant undertaking that requires an awful lot of extra work. 

“Algolia’s user-friendliness is definitely a big plus for developers,” agrees Gus Erickson, full-stack developer at ten24. “Because it’s so highly configurable, once it’s initially set up in the code, you can go in and customize it to your heart’s content.” 

Let’s say there’s a keyword that people enter pretty frequently on your website – but entering that keyword also yields some search results that you know aren’t relevant to users. Developers can easily configure Algolia to suppress non-desirable search results, manipulate the order of search results, and influence search rankings. In fact, Algolia is purpose-built to be user-friendly and intuitive so that non-developers are able to make adjustments.

Transparent and powerful

So, how do you know if you’re visiting websites that feature the Slatwall/Algolia integration? You don’t – and that’s intentional. The whole experience should be seamless for the front-end users who are visiting the websites. You won’t know that Slatwall is enabling a site’s eCommerce or that Algolia is powering the search. What you will notice is a search experience that’s fully-featured, extremely responsive, and lightning-fast. “It’s all very ‘under the hood’ and that’s by design,” says Baldyga. 


Is a Slatwall/Algolia integration right for your eCommerce site? Contact us and learn more!


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