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HANOS SHOP provides fast, relevant B2B search & recommendations with Algolia

[Algolia] is really fast. The search results are within 36 milliseconds. Whenever I talk to customers, they say, ‘Your search is so fast—it’s nearly instant.’ That’s great to hear because it’s such an important part of our website. I wasn’t expecting that. The account manager from Algolia told us it was really fast, but I wasn’t aware of just how fast the speed of the search engine is.

Joeri ten Hoven

E-Commerce Manager @ HANOS SHOP

Summary

A leading international wholesaler, based out of the Netherlands, HANOS has a nearly five decade history of providing customers with a great one-stop-shopping experience. In 2022, when the company launched its web shop for non-food, wine, coffee & tea, it wanted to extend that customer experience excellence by adopting a composable commerce architecture with the best-in-class solution for every service. Find out why it chose Algolia for search and recommendations, and how the platform’s feature richness started to quickly pay off for the popular Dutch wholesaler.

Hanos
Use case

B2B Ecommerce

Headquarters

Apeldoorn, Netherlands

Customer since

since 2022

Feature usage

Search API, Dynamic Synonyms, Recommend, Rules, Dynamic Re-Ranking, Facets & Filters

Key results
  • Fast, relevant search results

  • Ease of use for business users

  • Improved customer experience

  • Support large product and customer range

Key numbers
  • 12,000+ products

  • Language support for 2 countries

  • Search results within 36 ms

The challenges

  • 1.

    Best-in-class solutions for composable commerce

  • 2.

    Massive number of products (12,000+)

  • 3.

    Customers from a wide range of industries

The solution

  • 1.

    Fast, responsive Search engine

  • 2.

    Robust and extensive feature set

  • 3.

    Quick implementation: 1 ½ months

  • 4.

    Easy-to-use platform for non-developers

The result

  • 1.

    Faster, more relevant, Search experience

  • 2.

    Improved customer experience and engagement

  • 3.

    Support for all products, varied customers, and regional differences

  • 4.

    Elimination of manual processes around related products

HANOS is an international catering wholesaler with branches spread across the Netherlands and Belgium. Founded in 1975 as a self-service wholesaler for the catering industry in the municipality of Apeldoorn, the company has since grown to have 21 branches giving catering professionals one-stop shopping, with fresh food (fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables), wine, and various non-food products. Since 1982, the company has offered delivery service, as demand for its product grew in foreign markets. Its distribution network today covers the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. 

The company’s new B2B site, hanosshop.com offers more than 12,000 non-food products and, most recently, an assortment of 400 high-quality wines to business customers running the range from dentists to furniture wholesalers — basically any business in the geographies it serves. 

“There’s not a specific client, but the whole of the business-to-business market we serve. We have everything for this target group, like cutlery, wines, dining furniture, barbeques, kitchen tools, and so on,” says Joeri ten Hoven, E-Commerce Manager at HANOSSHOP.com. “We want to provide them with a whole assortment of products that can be used in a business-to-business environment. We want to be a full one-stop shop for B2B.”

Between February 2022 and the site going live in September, Ten Hoven’s team and the company’s e-commerce services partner (Kega) had a lot of work to do: adding product data, building out content pages, implementing payment systems (Adyen), integrating with the logistic partner (PostNL), and, of course, implementing top-notch search and recommend capabilities. 

Having successfully gone live with the new site, the company has turned its focus on using the data from the active site to refine and further develop its online shop.

Hanos image

Choosing Algolia for best-in-class Search and Recommend

The company chose to develop its new website based on composable commerce, seeking best-in-class solutions for each specific microservice. Search and recommend were no exception to this, and it sought out the best partner to achieve its architectural goals. 

The company’s search solution needed to meet its need to easily uncover an incredibly wide range of products, catering to businesses across nearly every sector and industry, and throughout numerous different countries. 

The company began its hunt for a search provider that would meet its needs early in the process, narrowing it down to two companies. By March, it had decided on Algolia, in great part because of the control the platform offered.

Hanos image

“The Reranking I like, because our product listings are re-ranked based on Search and behavior from our customers. And also, AI Synonyms, because we have Dutch customers but also Belgian customers, and they use different words for the same products. The AI Synonyms are automatically generated, and I must only click on them to say “OK,” and they are automatically added to the product.” Ten Hoven E-Commerce Manager, HANOS SHOP 

He says Algolia was also selected based on its ease for non-developers, allowing changes and updates to be made without technical expertise or programming experience. “It’s quite easy to use as a business user,” Ten Hoven adds. 

Initial implementation of Algolia Search was quick, within only one and one-half months. Algolia has been implemented through the HANOSSHOP.com search bar, within product pages where it provides recommendations, and within product category pages where customers can filter their selections. 

Since going live, the company has implemented more Algolia features, including Dynamic Synonyms, Recommend, Rules, Custom Ranking, Facets & Filters. 

Ten Hoven says several of those features have been particularly beneficial.

Fast and easy search for great customer experience

In just short months following the launch of the new Algolia Search-empowered website, results have already been great, especially around search performance. 

“It’s really fast. The search results are within 36 milliseconds,” Ten Hoven says of Algolia’s search speed. He proudly adds, “Whenever I talk to customers, they say, ‘Your search is so fast it’s nearly instant.’ That’s great to hear because it’s such an important part of our website.” 

“I wasn’t expecting that. The account manager from Algolia told us it was really fast, but I wasn’t aware of just how fast the speed of the search engine is.” 

Speed is a huge component of the value HANOSHOP.com gets from Algolia, but also, Ten Hoven notes, the relevance of the search results. Based on feedback from customers and colleagues, he knows that HANOSSHOP.com customers are happy with the results they’re getting.

“When our customers search for something, they are getting the right results thanks to the strength of Algolia’s engine.” 

The company has found Algolia Filters & Facets to be a boon in creating the ideal customer experience. It helps users refine their search queries to better the right HANOSSHOP.com products, important given the range of available products. As well, the Recommend tool is proving to be a key part of creating a great digital experience, offering up relevant related products to customers — a back-end process that would be manual and cumbersome otherwise.

While Algolia worked primarily with the e-commerce partner, Kega, during implementation; however, since going live Ten Hoven has been dealing with the company directly for support. “It’s been quite good,” he says. “If I have a question about something, I get a response within a day.” 

“We haven’t had any downtime or anything, so there’s also not been a lot of reasons I need to contact Algolia, but the questions that I had were answered quickly.”

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