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Dunelm doubles online revenue & improves search conversion rates with fast, accurate search

Leveraging Algolia’s best-in-class search engine enabled our teams to quickly and easily develop a search experience that met the demand and expectations of our customers.

James Hoare

Chief Technology Officer @ Dunelm

Summary

With Algolia as its chosen search team and technology solution, Dunelm increased its search conversion relevance, doubled its customer capacity on its site, and more than doubled its online revenue. Meanwhile, the digital team gained a single, streamlined analytics dashboard, which gave a single view of the site’s search performance with the ability to easily customize the site experience and perform continuous refinements and optimizations to their customers' journeys.

Dunelm
Use case

B2C Ecommerce

Headquarters

Syston, United Kingdom

Customer since

since 2019

Feature usage

Search API, Analytics, InstantSearch

Key results
  • x2 Online sales 

  • x2 fluctuations in demand

The challenge

  • 1.

    Dunelm’s prior site experience lacked search relevancy, in-house manageability and the ability to operate at scale

The solution

  • 1.

    Algolia’s Search API, InstantSeach and Analytics

The result

  • 1.

    Dunelm dramatically boosted its search relevance conversion rate,customer capacity and revenue

New ultra-relevant search and discovery experience boosts Dunelm’s search conversion rate, customer capacity and revenue

Dunelm, a family-run business, was established in 1979 as “the home of homes” with the purpose of helping everyone create a home they love. Today, Dunelm is the UK’s #1 homewares retailer boasting more than 170 stores across the UK and a thriving online retail business. Their focus is on delivering a friendly, helpful experience for their customers, which is why they strove to improve their digital ‘shop window’. 

Dunelm introduced a new digital strategy to enable them to respond more rapidly to changing digital environments as well as expanded its inhouse development capacity in order to perfect their digital transformation. 

Along with this change in strategy, Dunelm wished to replicate its physical store experience online providing their customers with the ability to “create a home they love” in a digital space quickly and easily. To achieve this, Dunelm needed a world-class search experience.

Dunelm image 1

The challenge

Dunelm’s prior site experience lacked search relevancy, in-house manageability and the ability to operate at scale

As it was scaling its digital presence to meet consumer expectations, Dunelm needed to empower its business through technology. 

With their digital transformation plans and goals, Dunelm’s previous search experience did not meet the higher demands or increased expectations demanded – all of which means they wanted to significantly improve the relevance of search results served up to their web visitors as well as increase their conversion rates. 

Additionally, they needed the ability to grow alongside the increasing use of their website as more and more people moved to online shopping. And finally, the ability to make changes to their site was cumbersome and needed a disproportionate amount of development support and maintenance resources. 

Dunelm’s legacy site search capabilities were not sufficient to meet the company’s business goals—resulting in poor relevance in search results and unsatisfactory conversion rates. Worse, their ability to be agile in the market was hampered by only having the ability to create one to two releases per month. Dunelm’s site also struggled with both scalability and performance issues. 

Constrained by its current technology, the site hampered Dunelm’s ability to serve their customers quickly, relevantly, or at scale. Moreover, they struggled with a legacy site that required a lot of ongoing development and maintenance resources and was simply not fit-for-purpose in terms of their digital transformation plans. 

In order to deliver a spectacular e-commerce experience that converted window shoppers into revenue-generating buyers, site visitors need to have an easy method of discovering and locating the product they desire very quickly – as well as be inspired by Dunelm’s virtual shopping experience – before they bounce to a different site. A new, world-class search and discovery experience was required if Dunelm was going to live up to its e-commerce potential. 

Through a replatforming effort to move its e-commerce site from a monolithic, legacy platform to a new cloud-native digital platform, Dunelm’s technical team decided to take a microservices, headless commerce approach. In essence, this decouples the front-end presentation layer from the backend ecommerce system.

Dunelm image 2

The solution

Algolia’s Search API, InstantSeach and Analytics

To find a new search solution that would best fit its headless commerce approach, the digital team wanted a search technology that could easily integrate with its existing AWS back-end. Dunelm selected Algolia over open source solutions like Elasticsearch because of Algolia’s tailorable and transparent API-based search platform that was best-suited for headless commerce. Also important deciding factors were the high quality of Algolia’s documentation and support. Additionally, Dunelm’s lead engineers found Algolia’s pre-built capabilities including indexing, merchandising ranking, rules, and analytics were huge time savers and improved productivity across the engineering team. 

Using Algolia’s API, Dunelm benefitted from superior search relevance out of the box, an engineering-first mindset, a low total cost of ownership, and support and guidance from the Algolia team throughout its digital transformation. 

With search no longer an afterthought, Dunelm is also able to deliver a compelling user experience, serving customers at scale, and delivering results comprising improved search conversion, increased customer capacity, and boosted revenue.

The result

Dunelm dramatically boosted its search relevance conversion rate, customer capacity and revenue

By enlisting Algolia’s search API and InstantSearch capabilities, complete with filtering and sorting features, Dunelm significantly improved its search conversion relevance rate by quickly serving up products that site visitors were seeking and matched their intent — accurately and at scale. 

Algolia’s analytics dashboard coupled with its Rules and Query Suggestions functionality enables Dunelm to further refine its search and discovery experience, while enabling the team to shape and tweak search results ranking and tie-breaking rules based on factual data.

Dunelm image 3

What's next

Personalization, voice and search capabilities 

With its eyes on the future, Dunelm wants to harness the power of personalized search experiences to enhance the customer journey building on the success its digital transformation and e-commerce business has already enjoyed.

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