Stories

AfterShip

Leverages Algolia’s Search as a Service to Track 12 Million Packages every day, in real time.

About AfterShip

Real-Time Package tracking platform

12 M PACKAGES TRACKED PER DAY
1 M SEARCH PER DAY
345 CARRIERS SUPPORTED
100 COUNTRIES SUPPORTED

Highlights

Problem

Aftership's founding team needed an easy-to-implement, highly scalable search solution, capable of real-time indexing.

Approach

Starting small, with the creation of an MVP, with Algolia's support and subsequent migration of the entire platform in 2 weeks.

Result
25 ms
Search on the website
90%
Reduction of search related complaints

Algolia Speeds Up Search Result Delivery Times From Seconds To Milliseconds

Aftership, a package tracking and notification platform for online retailers, is one of the leading logistics service providers in Hong Kong, working with over 100,000 customers and 340 carriers. Their customers rely on them for easy access to up-to-date status information on their packages.

The Aftership story

Aftership was born when Teddy Chan, an online merchant in Hong Kong, realized he couldn’t track his packages as they made their way to different destinations around the world. Chan knew he couldn’t be the only retailer running into this problem, and the wheels started turning. In 2011, he took his ideas to the Global Startup Battle and Startup Weekend in Hong Kong and left with a first place prize. Today, Aftership is one of the leading logistics service providers in Hong Kong with more than 100,000 customers.

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Providing real-time access

As Aftership grew, finding a service that could provide their customers real-time access to the status of their packages became a priority. On any given day, Aftership tracks roughly 12 million packages, so they need a solution with incredibly fast indexing time. They were using a cloud search solution with a difficult to use SDK and unclear documentation alongside a painfully slow Redis database that took up to 10 seconds to return results from a search query. Factors like down-time and inaccuracy made them cautious about adopting any new SaaS platforms.

Complaints from our customers regarding the search functionality have decreased 90% with Algolia

Thank you, Rude Baguette

In 2013, one of Chan’s coworkers came to him and mentioned that he read about an up and coming search company in an article by Rude Baguette. He didn’t have specifics, but maybe this company—Algolia—could provide Aftership the real-time access to their information they’d been striving for. Chan did a bit of reading and knew that if Algolia could deliver on their promises of instant indexing and returning in results in milliseconds, he had found his solution. So he made the phone call.

Easy from Day 1

From the initial phone call to Aftership being completely live and running on Algolia, it took less than two weeks with only one engineer working on the project. Specifically, it took Aftership just 2 days to have a basic implementation and MVP version of Algolia, after which they migrated their entire platform to Algolia’s solution. Chan attributes this to Algolia’s extensive documentation and support. Unlike other solutions, Algolia did not require a thorough understanding of a third party API or any rewriting of Aftership’s own code to make it compatible with the service. “It wouldn’t have been possible for us to have Algolia up and running in a week without the support team. Algolia’s average response time to a support ticket is a few hours whereas any tickets submitted to previous services we’ve used would take about two days. That’s the kind of delay that a business like ours cannot afford,” explains Chan.

Algolia's average response time to a support ticket is just a few hours whereas any ticket submitted to previous services we've used would take about two days. That's the kind of delay a business like ours cannot afford.
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Search results in 25 milliseconds

The first change Aftership noticed after implementing Algolia was a decrease in the number of response-time related complaints from their customers. In fact, complaints regarding search functionality have decreased 90% with Algolia. Search results are now returned on an average of 25 milliseconds, and the up-to-date indexing ensures incorrect information is never a problem.

Scaling with Algolia

When Aftership first came to Algolia, they were serving approximately 20,000 clients. Today, that number has reached over 100,000. “Growing with Algolia has been easy for us. When we reached the limits of our capacity, we merely added a cluster. Additionally, compatibility and optimization of our code as our user base grows has never been an issue with Algolia, unlike other services.”

Growing with Algolia has been easy for us. When we reached the limits of our capacity, we merely added a cluster!

With search being taken care of, Teddy and his team now have the bandwidth to concentrate on other aspects of growing the business such as expanding their carrier network.

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