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GOBI Cashmere improves customer experience, goes headless with Algolia and Shopify

Our goal is very simple: we want to bring the best user experience to GOBI Cashmere customers. We achieve that with Algolia.

Tuvshinbayar Naran-Ochir

Head of Web Development @ Gobi Cashmere

Summary

As a leading supplier of affordable, high-quality Mongolian cashmere to the world, GOBI Cashmere saw its online presence soar in the wake of Covid-19. After deciding to adopt headless e-commerce, its web development team knew they needed a more robust search solution that not only integrated with Shopify Plus but brought benefits above and beyond. Learn how Algolia is helping GOBI meet its goal of bringing the best customer experience while the company sees extraordinary e-commerce growth.

Gobi
Use case

B2C Ecommerce

Headquarters

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Customer since

since 2020

Feature usage

Search API, Recommend, Personalization, Query Suggestions, Facets & Filters, AI Reranking, Synonyms, A/B Testing

Key results
  • Faster, more relevant search results

  • Able to support headless commerce

  • More personalized customer experience

Key numbers
  • Support traffic increase (30 times)

  • Increase in conversions by 4 to 5 times

The challenges

  • 1.

    Shift in focus to greater e-commerce presence

  • 2.

    Move to headless e-commerce architecture

  • 3.

    Need to fully integrate with Shopify Plus

The solution

  • 1.

    Fast, responsive Search engine

  • 2.

    Robust; able to support headless architecture

  • 3.

    Broad choice of features and functionality

  • 4.

    Easy for both technical and business users

The result

  • 1.

    Faster, more relevant, Search experience

  • 2.

    Scale for growth by 30 times

  • 3.

    Increased conversions by 4 to 5 times

For more than 40 years, the GOBI Cashmere brand has been dedicated to the idea that its cashmere should be comfortable, sustainable, humanely farmed, and, despite the material’s famous reputation, affordable. 

Soft, warm, and durable, cashmere comes from the fur of rare, high-altitude goats and is made through a laborious weaving and knitting process. GOBI attains its sustainability goals — as well as its high quality mark and affordable prices — by taking the unique approach of partnering directly with the Mongolian herder families of its home country. It then combines centuries-old knitting processes with modern manufacturing in its factory in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, for beautiful results at lower costs. 

“Our motto is: cashmere for all,” says Tuvshinbayar Naran-Ochir, Head of Web Development at GOBI Cashmere. “People think cashmere is expensive, and we want to change that perception. We want an affordable price and environmental sustainability. That makes our brand unique, as we do everything from raw to final products.” 

The company is living up to its motto, having grown since its foundation in 1981 to include subsidiaries in China, Germany, the UK, and the US. Today, GOBI Corp. provides 100 percent pure cashmere through its own label. Domestically, GOBI commands about two-thirds of the market.

As Head of Web Development, Tuvshinbayar is responsible for all e-commerce and brand site development both for GOBI’s domestic and international operations. The e-commerce team has experienced tremendous growth since he joined six years ago, driven by impressive sales and world events. From a team of one, he’s now in charge of the e-commerce website development team with 25 members.

Gobi image 1

Modernizing ecommerce by going headless

With the bulk of domestic sales coming from tourism, GOBI had to shift its business towards greater e-commerce during the spread of Covid-19. It needed a more robust Search solution that could support its new direction. 

When a directive came from the CEO to create a series of websites using subdirectories for different nations, Tuvshinbayar recognized the company would need to adopt a headless architecture, decoupling the website’s front- and back-end e-commerce functionality. 

The company had an in-house developed search solution for Shopify Plus, which wouldn’t support such efforts, so it set out to find a search platform that could. After reviewing options and receiving a recommendation from Shopify, the company selected Algolia. 

The selection was based on Algolia’s AI-based approach and the broad range of functionality and benefits that it brought GOBI, such as merchandising capabilities.

“We only handled the integration part, then we handed it off to the internal teams to manage the site and search.” 

“I’m really glad we’re using Algolia,” Tuvshinbayar says of the decision, suggesting they found the best search solution for headless commerce. He notes that its full integration with Shopify is a necessary advantage. 

Thanks in part to strong support from Algolia, GOBI was able to complete implementing the Algolia Search platform quickly — in a mere two months. After which it easily added features and additional solutions, such as Algolia Recommend, Personalization, Facets & Filters, AI Re-ranking, and more. So easy, in fact, that the initial implementation of Algolia Recommend took only a week, after which the AI-based system began to learn from the customer searches and results. 

Algolia’s ease of use by both the technically savvy and business users, such as members of the digital marketing or merchandising team, has proven to Tuvshinbayar Naran-Ochir be a benefit.

Improving customer experiences

At the end of the day, Naran-Ochir keeps a razor-sharp focus on the customer, one that Algolia helps him with. “I’m always thinking, what can we do next to the website to improve the user experience.” 

Enhancing that experience GOBI has tapped into Algolia functionality across the solution’s stack, and implemented it across all international websites, except China where the company uses a marketplace for presence. 

In addition to fast and accurate search results, Algolia Recommend plays a big role on the company’s websites; it is implemented on each individual product page and on check-out carts, helping direct customers to products they may like, that can be customized on the fly (by size and color, for example.)

Gobi image 2

Results, he notes, have been impressive. They have been able to scale their search functionality to provide an excellent user experience, through fast, relevant search resulted in dramatically growing the customer base, increasing it in 2022 to 30 times what it was in 2019 And Tuvshinbayar expects traffic to grow dramatically again by the end of this year, as chillier months approach. 

Using the suite of Algolia solutions, GOBI has seen an increase in conversions by 300 to 400 percent, and Tuvshinbayar predicts a similar jump, about 400 to 500 percent, by the end of the year. He says Algolia played an important part in achieving his team’s objectives. 

“Our goal is very simple: we want to bring the best user experience to GOBI Cashmere customers. We achieve that with Algolia.”

Gobi image 3

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