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Hager Group charges up its digital transformation with Algolia

The customer experience Algolia Search delivers is really very high and we wanted to have that kind of experience on our websites.

Benjamin Guerry

Digital Business Solution Leader @ Hager Group
Hager Group
Use case

B2B Searchandizing

Headquarters

Germany

Customer since

since 2018

Feature usage

Search, Dynamic Results

Key results
  • Fast and relevant search results

  • Improved customer experience

  • Smooth integration with Magento (Adobe)

Key numbers
  • 10 websites using Algolia 

  • ~20,000 products per website

Technologies

Adobe Commerce powered by Magento

The challenges

  • 1.

    Improve customer journey beginning on website

  • 2.

    Complex, highly technical products and services

  • 3.

    Make it easier for customers to surface relevant information

  • 4.

    Search platform usable by marketing team

The solution

  • 1.

    Quick to implement and easy to configure

  • 2.

    Integrates with existing platform (Adobe Commerce powered by Magento)

  • 3.

    Scalable search and discovery able to handle 20,000+ products per country

The result

  • 1.

    Improved customer service through faster search

  • 2.

    Less steps for customers to find relevant information

  • 3.

    Easy to use by technical and non-technical staff

Founded in 1955 by brothers Hermann and Oswald Hager along with their father Peter, Hager Group has grown to be a powerhouse in electrical manufacturing. Still family-owned, it continues to manufacture electrical products but also other energy management systems, smart building automation, security solutions, and more. 

The company provides electrical tradespeople with the solutions and services to install electrical systems in residences, commercial and industrial buildings in more than 100 countries — a whopping 23,000 highly technical products per country. 

With all sales through wholesalers, the sales and marketing teams must support their partners by creating strong customer journeys that better lead them to the right products. 

That’s not such an easy task with such an enormous breadth of products, so to improve the customer experience, so Hager Group decided to completely rebuild their web solution. 

Three years ago, the company developed an internal “Digital Factory”, a team of engineers, designers, and architects to work with marketing and sales to optimize digital channels: mainly websites that display catalogs and content and mobile applications that help electricians on the worksite.

Sparking new customers through search

Hager Group’s 25 websites are primarily tools to inform customers on solutions and products they will then purchase from their local wholesalers. Consisting of more than 30,000 pages per website, Hager Group websites provide a catalog of all its solutions plus editorial content but providing the information customers need to begin their customer journey is not simple. 

Benjamin Guerry is Digital Business Solution Leader at Hager Group, in charge of building digital solutions for business and overseeing building all the websites and mobile applications. 

He says that since the products are highly technical and very specific to electrical work, the information its websites provide is more complicated than typical e-catalog. 

“It’s not like Amazon. You cannot search for and find a product, because when you do find it, it’s part of an electrical system. You usually can’t simply sell it and say, ‘This is the product you need.’ A lot goes into finding what product is needed for a particular system, and that makes Search more difficult to implement.” 

The company needed a powerful and efficient search engine to surface relevant products for their prospective customers quickly and easily. It also had to be easy to use, scale and implement, and to train teams on — including the Hager Group marketing team. 

Guerry considered his team improving the company’s in-house developed search engine but decided to implement Algolia Search after determining it met the requirements.

Smooth integration and improved customer experience

“With our previous search engine, we had to spend so many days and hours to set it up to reach a good user experience. Despite this, it was not at the level needed, and I knew that if we wanted to continue to work with it, I would need to hire for new competencies and invest a lot. I’d prefer to pay for an Algolia license and use a good solution out-of-the-box that is easy to use with little configuration. The customer experience Algolia Search delivers is really very high and we wanted to have that kind of experience on our websites.” 

The Digital Factory at Hager Group deployed Algolia Search across the 10 websites that see the most business, integrating Algolia’s Search APIs with its existing Magento platform. 

Context was complex because product information management (PIM) needed to first be integrated into Magento for product info to be pushed onto the web. “But then turning on Algolia with Magento was easy,” he says. “Getting all the data in took a while, but the actual integration of Algolia was smooth and easy.” Algolia Search covers the company’s full catalog of products, the browsing and searching for new products, as well as the search of editorial content and support FAQs. Guerry has a goal of further optimizing the clarity of search results by better distinguishing between content types.

As expected, the adoption of Algolia Search has improved the customer experience, reducing the number of steps needed to get to the correct product. Guerry especially praises the performance of its dynamic results feature for providing a faster search experience. 

“It’s a way to avoid the results page. Users start typing something and have direct results. They don’t have to go to another page. The answers come quickly, and they can find exactly what they want in the search bar,” he says. 

“It’s impressive to see the performance. Even if the network isn’t great, the performance is still great.”

Hager image

Future digital transformation goals

Today the company’s web strategy for the web is to build an audience and grow traffic, but Hager Group plans to increase the length of sessions by exposing customers to the right content at the right time. 

“What I want is for people who click on a product to get a message saying, ‘We have training on that,’ or ‘Register and attend… We want to expose customers to these types of things rather than only coming to the site to get technical information.” 

He says he’s currently investigating how other Algolia Search features, like Recommend, can help achieve that goal. 

Never one to rest on his laurels, having improved the customer experience through faster and more efficient search on the company’s top 10 websites, Guerry now has his sights on bringing those capabilities to the next 15, and how to further its digital transformation. 

“I really love building new things, bringing new solutions to my colleagues and customers that increase business and reach our goals,” he says. “It’s not just about innovation, it’s about digital transformation. It’s about transforming digital as an activity to change things and raise them to another level.”

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