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Digital Expert Series – How Otrium partnered with Algolia to level up search relevance and optimize the customer experience

Jul 12th 2022 ecommerce

Digital Expert Series – How Otrium partnered with Algolia to level up search relevance and optimize the customer experience
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Maartje Spooren, Group Product Manager at Otrium, an ecommerce retailer for designer fashion overstocks, spoke with us about how the company used Algolia to transform its online search and discovery experience and help customers find what they want to wear.

With 3 million registered members and products from over 300 brands across 10 domains, Otrium has been an ecommerce leader since 2015 and has recently expanded its Europe-based business into the global marketplace.

Watch the full webinar and Q&A session here or read on for the highlights.

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  • On the vision – Maartje shared, Otrium’s driving philosophy has always been that all clothing should be worn. Our founders wanted to ensure that fashion didn’t sit in warehouses as stalled inventory. To keep serving this objective, our focus is on improving the experience for customers so that they can find the fashions they’re looking for. We want to offer the absolute best shopping experience possible across all of our touchpoints.

 

  • On the business challenge – We onboard new brands and styles every single week. That’s challenging for us to organize and for shoppers to navigate. On top of that, we’re growing fast and expanding into new markets. We have 10 different domains, plus web and mobile apps, each with its own strategy. Additionally, we operate in multiple languages. Our existing platform demanded too much manual work from our developers and prevented other stakeholders from making changes. Worst of all, we were struggling with search relevancy. A search for “red dress” didn’t find just red dresses, but delivered other clothing items that were red and dresses in other colors! Overall, we needed a platform that served customers in a smarter, more intuitive way. We needed something that different teams could adapt easily for new products and new campaigns, and that would grow with us.

 

  • On roadmapping the digital transformation – Partnering with Algolia let us focus on some specific needs. Our own Otrium logic for ranking products is fairly complex and valuable to us, so we wanted to retain that, as well as combine it with Algolia’s dynamic product re-ranking for optimum performance. Better relevancy from Algolia gave us the capability and flexibility to push sales of particular brands or categories, plus take other data points into account, like stock availability, newness, and seasonality. Algolia allowed us to implement other search features without having to build them out ourselves, including autocomplete, typo tolerance, and even synonym support. On the back end, Algolia dashboards were intuitive and our merchandising team, brand managers, and marketing team could easily adapt them for market, seasonal, and brand requirements.

 

  • On questions that digital transformation leaders must ask themselves – It’s important to talk with all of your stakeholders beforehand to figure out what features or benefits might be missing from a search tool, product rankings, product listing pages, or from the personalization functionality. We held brainstorming sessions with all of our stakeholders to get information, share ideas, and to figure out what we needed now and in the future. There’s more to win than just winning with your own team, so figure out what a vendor can provide beyond strictly fulfilling your basic requirements. For us, Algolia met all of our needs efficiently, and provided the necessary flexibility to grow. Alongside improved performance, we knew that we could rely on Algolia for service and support after the fact. It’s a company that’s already proven itself.

 

  • On evaluating the right solution – Communication and trust is so important. We really appreciated having full transparency and realistic goals from Algolia around what’s possible with a plug-and-play solution. Algolia provided a realistic timeline, realistic planning and implementation support. There were no surprises – Algolia handled all of our complexity in phases, and delivered the implementation that we needed fast. We went live with the first search improvements in just two months, including a full integration of all product attributes, brand data, category data, search functionality, plus a redesign of the search overlay.

 

  • On success milestones and the road ahead –  We’re seeing increased conversion rates on fewer searches – proof that our search relevancy has dramatically improved. Our typo tolerance works well and we’re able to serve shoppers across spellings and languages. We’re also able to engage shoppers who search for brands that we don’t yet carry by making alternative brand recommendations. Search is being used in more sessions, and those shoppers are staying engaged. Our business users are benefiting, too, using data for insights and adapting those insights to search queries. What’s next for us is enhanced personalization. We already have a personalized shop that we built ourselves, but we’re going to create a personalization strategy that’s powered by Algolia and that is consistent across all of our sites.

 

Did you miss this session? Check out the entire video replay of Maartje’s talk, with slides and audience Q&A, here, or watch previous sessions in Algolia’s Digital Expert Series.

About the author
Tariq Khan

Director of Marketing Campaign Production

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