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Industrial safety gear company improves search speed and relevance with Algolia

Seeing that our Algolia-powered global search navigator is used 35 to 40 percent of the time is a clear indicator of the value of Search. It doesn’t have to be justified with sales because it’s a powerful solution. It creates a much better user experience by having a better search engine to find our site’s content.

Theresa Kuske

Digital Marketing Director @ Ergodyne
Use case

B2B Ecommerce


Saint Paul, MN

Customer since

since 2018

Feature usage

Search API, Instant Search, Filters & Facets, Query Rules ,Visual Editor

Key results
  • Improved search speed and relevancy

  • Faster indexing

  • Reduced developer workload

  • Meet multi-faceted B2B customer needs

Key numbers
  • 190% increase in global search interactions

  • 500% increase in click through rates

  • 100% improvement in no results rate

The challenges

  • 1.

    Slow backend system

  • 2.

    Need for developer involvement in configuration and changes

  • 3.

    Need to provide content and product search

  • 4.

    Wide variety of end users

The solution

  • 1.

    Improved customer experience

  • 2.

    Fast indexing of multiple products and prices

  • 3.

    Improved Search relevance through Filters & Facets

  • 4.

    Flexible merchandising using Query Rules and the Visual Merchandiser

The result

  • 1.

    Improved customer experience

  • 2.

    Fast indexing of multiple products and prices

  • 3.

    Improved Search relevance through Filters & Facets

  • 4.

    Flexible merchandising using Query Rules and the Visual Merchandiser

Ergodyne, a Klein Tools Company, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota takes workplace safety seriously. Since 1983, the company has innovated safety work gear to provide protection, promote prevention and manage the elements for industrial workers. 

Founded by Dr. Thomas Votel to sell a unique back support that encouraged proper lifting and took stress off the spine, the company — now helmed by his son Tom — has an ever-growing lineup of products dubbed Tenacious Work Gear: hand, face, skin, eye and head protection solutions, knee pads, footwear accessories, cooling and warming products, lanyards to prevent dropping tools from a height, industrial storage systems for PPE, portable shelters and more. It's all part of the company’s mission to “Make the Workplace a Betterplace.” (The company’s name comes from the Greek “ergo” meaning work, and the “dyne,” a unit of force.) 

The bulk of the company’s business is B2B through authorized distributors and wholesalers, which makes managing their web experience “tricky,” says Theresa Kuske, Ergodyne’s Digital Marketing Director. 

“We have lots of different types of users that come to our site and have different goals and ways to use our site,” she says. “So, while we do have an e-commerce site, I’d say that is half of what we do, but the other half is content, education, training, resources, and things like that to help our customers sell our product as well as get the product data for them to sell.”

Ergodyne image 1

Ergodyne’s distributors occupy a wide mix of spaces from mom-and-pop shops, which may need more online assistance to find what they are looking for, to larger global distributors that need a combination of marketing content, sales assistance, and e-commerce capabilities from the company’s website. In addition to these main customers, the digital marketing team needs to make content available to independent sales reps and end customers like safety specifiers at organizations, small contractors and even weekend warriors. 

“There’s certainly a large range of people we need to reach.”

The right tool for the job

Kuske’s goal for Ergodyne’s website is naturally to make it as effective as possible, and that means typical KPIs like sales, conversion rates, and leads, but also creating an excellent user experience: quick and easy checkouts, fast and relevant search, and content that illustrates industry thought leadership. 

“We’ve been really focused in the last few years on user experience, asking, ‘How can we improve our site experience?’ And we’ve been gathering feedback and data with feedback widgets, customer interviews, and usability testing,” she says. 

In 2016, the company re-platformed its e-commerce site to the Magento platform using Solr for search functionality, but it quickly decided it needed a better solution to be able to provide the multi-faceted search capabilities it required to meet the needs of its wide customer base — with faster, more relevant results — and without too much internal development efforts. 

After reviewing several options, the company decided to adopt Algolia Search, Kuske says, because of its feature set and pricing. 

She adds that Ergodyne selected Algolia as a search partner and solution provider in part to take the work off the company’s small digital marketing team.

“We have a small team, so doing it ourselves — configuring synonyms and doing the dev work to be able to create a really great search experience — wasn’t something we wanted to spend a ton of effort on, and then continually maintain.”

Ergodyne image 2

Getting started quickly was, of course, key to showing the value that the new search tool would have, Kuske says. She says getting started with Algolia was quick and demonstrated great results. The company has since re-platformed to Drupal commerce and had to rebuild certain elements; the team used Algolia to build out its entire pricing index in only about a month because of its fast-indexing capabilities. “We really needed the fast-indexing operations and speed that Algolia has to serve the 500-plus levels of pricing we sometimes have for a single item,” Kuske said of the monumental tasks need for speed.

Adding content search and improving relevance

In the last five years using the platform, Kuske says Algolia Search has been a great solution for Ergodyne. It does require some maintenance and review, Kuske says, but that’s to optimize the experience — an ongoing challenge for her time-strapped team. 

“We spend time every month looking at the analytics and making sure that we’re understanding how people are using our site and if there are any issues between search results and click results.” 

With an eye on better providing their distributors with the tools they need to sell Ergodyne solutions, the company has recently been looking at ways to bring more visibility to its online content. It updated its global federated search to include a wide array of blog articles, documents, videos, and podcasts, as well as its product mix. 

“We know that 35 to 45 percent of people who go to our site are using our global navigation search, so it’s important to make sure those results are relevant, but that if they are searching for something they are able to find other things besides just product because that’s not the primary goal for every search.” 

In only months of launching its content search capabilities, internal feedback has been great, and the use of search to find more than products and product data has grown significantly. The company has seen a 190% increase in global search interactions, resulting in six times the number of click throughs, and a 100% improvement in “no results” rates.

Kuske says that thanks to Algolia, the company has been able to provide content to its customers — again primarily its distributors — with content based on access levels to ensure they get the right data for their needs. “That was one of our biggest concerns with documents and videos, that a lot of our content is really driven for various specific users depending on their role and their price region.” 

Currently, the digital marketing team is looking at how to further optimize the Ergodyne website’s search functionality to include facet category merchandising using Algolia’s Filters & Facets feature — making the search filters more relevant — to improve the user experience even further and drive even greater relevancy from results. 

Ergodyne is investigating using even more Algolia features such as Recommend, A/B Testing, and Personalization in the digital team’s tenacious work improving the website experience for its incredibly extensive user mix. 

“Instant Search itself is so fast and quick, there are other sales tools we’ve been discussing building out and utilizing Algolia Search to help our customers find.”

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