With its goal of creating a personalized experience for its customers, high-end menswear retailer Harry Rosen needed its technology to support product discovery and customer service both in-store and online. Learn how the flexibility and ease of use of Algolia Search are helping the Canadian men’s fashion icon in its journey to building the best omnichannel experience.
“After deploying Algolia, there’s less reliance on developer intervention to do everything that the business wants to do, and what the business is actually capable of doing is way beyond what they thought was possible in the old world.”
Tovi HeilbronnDirector of Digital Product and Experience @ Harry Rosen
Search API, Dynamic Synonyms, Dynamic Re-Ranking, Insights API Click & Conversions, Rules, Personalization, Visual Editor, Query Suggestions, A/B Testing
Reduced need for developer involvement
Improved product search
Internal and external use case/applications
Business user enablement
2x the number of online sessions using Search
68% increase in transactions
360% increase in conversion rate
18% increase in average order value
Search and merchandising requiring developer involvement
Need to create holistic user experience
Develop best-in-class omnichannel experience
Provide personalized, differentiated shopping experience
Implemented a full slate of Algolia technology - Algolia Search API, Dynamic Re-Ranking, Query Suggestions, Analytics, Synonyms and more.
Deployed in internal clienteling app and across two web stores.
A/B Testing to deliver improved customer search results.
Easy-to-use merchandising rules for business team.
Flexibility to meet unique use cases to create holistic shopping experience.
360% increase in conversion rate and 68% increase in transactions
High-level of customer support
For decades, Canadian retailer Harry Rosen has been synonymous with high-quality menswear and accessories. Founded in 1954 by the eponymous Harry Rosen and his brother Lou in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighborhood using a $500 loan, the company has since grown into 18 luxury men’s clothing stores across the country. Today it is the leading provider of luxury menswear in Canada and is recognized as one of the nation’s 10 best-managed companies.
Now run by Harry’s son, CEO Larry Rosen, the company remains focused on its nearly 70-year goal of being a genuinely international men’s boutique that exemplifies customer service through personalized experience, expert advice, and world-renowned product curation.
“We’re in the confidence business,” says Tovi Heilbronn, Harry Rosen’s Director of Digital Product and Experience. “If you’re well dressed; if you know your style, that helps you project your best self into the world.”
He adds, “The ‘what’ is clothes, but the ‘why’ is confidence.”
Maybe it’s not surprising for a fashion-first company like Harry Rosen that Heilbronn himself wears two hats: business and technology. He straddles both worlds to find and solve the strategic problems the business faces — such as finding opportunities to make Harry Rosen a more differentiated place to shop — and works with I.T. to solve them.
“After deploying Algolia, there’s less reliance on developer intervention to do everything that the business wants to do, and what the business is actually capable of doing is way beyond what they thought was possible in the old world.” Tovi Heilbronn Director of Digital Product and Experience, Harry Rosen
One of the biggest wins for the company is how Algolia supports the e-commerce team working on product discovery experience. “Algolia visual merchandising and rules put the e-commerce team at ease because more people on their team can play with it.”
Harry Rosen’s software engineers appreciate Algolia’s flexibility, Heilbronn says, allowing his team to shape data models and do pipeline work, but also incorporating offline sales data into their product index. This allows them to bring more omnichannel business intelligence into the ranking of their online search results.
Data is sent from Harry Rosen’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system as custom ranking attributes for Algolia to rank results sets based on product performance across the entire enterprise, not just based on online performance.
“It’s all in keeping with the vision of having one holistic experience whether in-store or online, and realizing our digital investments in-store,” Heilbronn says.
One of those strategic challenges is delivering a best-in-class omnichannel presence and customer experience.
“We believe that the only channel is the customer,” Heilbronn says. “We must stop thinking and organizing ourselves internally with the in-store channel versus the online channel. One thing that I believe really challenges that approach is leveraging our existing tech stack to service both channels.”
To that end, he looks for ways that the company’s digital tech stack can cater effectively to both in-store and online needs. That’s where Algolia came in.
Replatforming and improving merchandising
Heilbronn’s team implemented Algolia as part of a replatforming of the company’s e-commerce site to better serve both in-store and e-commerce needs. “We were decommissioning our old monolithic tech stack that supported just the dotcom e-commerce and was very much in isolation with the rest of the business operations.”
It was a massive undertaking and, instead of taking a “feature factory”-type approach, Heilbronn looked at how he could use the new stack in-store as part of the next phase of Harry Rosen’s digital maturity.
For search, the company was using a Solr search index that came “in the box” with its SAP Hybris platform.
The company chose to implement Algolia Search on its new commercetools-based ecosystem, in part to better enable its business users. Previously merchandising on the site was difficult, requiring developer intervention and hard-to-handle coding. They are now taking advantage of nearly all of Algolia’s capabilities, including Personalization, A/B Testing, Rules and more.
“Before we had Algolia, merchandising on our e-Commerce site was incredibly difficult. It required a lot of developer intervention and parts of code that were hard to handle, and business users could not create a good search experience,” Heilbronn says. Implementation took about three months, first for a custom internal clienteling app called Herringbone, and then rolling out across its two sites (HarryRosen.com and shopfinalcut.com).
Creating a great personalized customer experience
Using a combination of A/B Testing and Personalization features, Harry Rosen has been able to determine the best conditions to give the best search results to improve click-through-rates or conversions. By using Analytics, Harry Rosen can feed into Algolia conversion events such as “add to Wishlist” and “add to cart”, so they are incorporating different milestones in the customer journey.
A 360% increase in conversion rate and 68% increase in transactions
In addition to its e-commerce sites, Harry Rosen uses Algolia for its clienteling application, dubbed Herringbone, which it uses internally to search for both product and client data and then send out personalized curated product assemblies.
“Algolia puts business users in the driver’s seat to deliver experiences we only ever — in the Hybris days — aspired to,” Heilbronn says. “There wasn’t a sense of enablement, whereas now you can look at results and understand why a product is ranked how it is.”
Algolia is allowing Harry Rosen associates and advisors to search clothing based on attributes, based on sizes, and stock availability in specific stores, letting them better serve customers on-the-fly. This was, according to Heilbronn, the first difficult use case for Algolia, but thanks to the solution’s flexibility Harry Rosen has been able to accommodate both how expert advisors must search and the store’s customers.
“The product catalog is the same, but the configurations are very different (since the company has different indices servicing different applications on their Herringbone and e-commerce site” Heilbronn says. “That’s a way Algolia brings a lot of value to our business. ”Heilbronn says one of his favorite aspects of Algolia is the power of its rules engine and its ability to have multiple rules that can “trigger independently or layered together.” He uses the example of searching by store, or size, or attribute — or all three in a single query. In addition, he likes how Algolia’s Synonyms feature allows customers to search for and find the right color from the company’s wide and highly-nuanced list of hues.
Partners in Success
“The people we’ve had the privilege of interacting with since the procurement phase and beyond have been very sharp; they know their product, they care, and they follow up.”
Today, Harry Rosen and Algolia have built a strong partnership. “There are vendors and there are partners, and there is a meaningful difference,” Heilbronn says. “Partners, like Algolia, are those whom I feel are almost co-invested in our success.”
He says the company has relied on Algolia customer support and solutions engineers to build out its various use cases and reach the maturity it now has in search and product discovery.
The next step for the Harry Rosen team is to incorporate additional client data into Algolia and create a content index that allows customers to search for editorial content stored in Amplience, its digital content platform. The company has big plans to take greater advantage of its impressive database of editorial articles, and positioning Algolia to conduct search of them is a major part. “Essentially bringing three things together: the Next.js front-end, Algolia and Amplience.”
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