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A Solr eCommerce Case Study

Improved Solr search capabilities drive online commerce 

The client is a leading provider of educational solutions for both teachers and parents. Their product lines include supplemental books, classroom decoratives, educational games and manipulatives for kindergarten, through to eighth grade. 

“Our supplemental products help thousands of teaching professionals and families to ensure that their children make the best possible start to their education” 

An important component of the support by the client to their customers, distributors, and retail partners, is their online product site. Whether a user is searching to buy from the site or researching products to buy locally, search is recognized as an important part of the visitor experience. 

An existing Solr-based search facility had experienced performance issues during the buying busy season (summer months prior to the start of a new school year), and it lacked important functionality. The client contracted with Search Technologies to make improvements to the search facility against a hard deadline, to launch a new-look Web site in time for the summer season. 

In addition to architecture reconfiguration to address performance issues, the solution included:

  • Relevancy tuning and additional query parsing, to ensure that Solr’s capabilities were optimized for the application
  • A new content processing environment, using Search Technologies’ Aspire framework, to capture and arrange metadata to drive new search navigation and results sorting options. These can be used both within search results, and to assist visitors who are browsing available products by product type, subject, or grade/age
  • The addition of a new eBook inventory to the search experience
  • A 24 / 7 managed service for both Aspire and Solr. Highly trained Search Technologies staff now remotely monitor, manage and maintain the search application

Online transactions increased by 31% year-on-year, as a direct result of the improvements made to the search capability.