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Revival Animal Health adopts headless with Algolia Search and BigCommerce

Because of our re-platforming to BigCommerce and our unique multifaceted needs, Algolia came highly recommended. And, while it wasn’t true plug-and-play, it was very straightforward. We had a lot to move over to Algolia and it was pretty seamless. Its integration with BigCommerce is great.

Joel Harrington

Senior Director of Demand & CX @ Revival Animal Health

Summary

Based out of Iowa, Revival Animal Health provides vaccines, vitamins, and more to pet professions across the U.S. (and into Canada). When it recently re-platformed its website for headless e-commerce, it sought out a search provider that would integrate closely with its new BigCommerce platform, provide fast results and overcome many of the manual configuration challenges it faced. Find out how, through strong integration capabilities and by using AI, Algolia has helped the company in its mission to “help those who help our four-legged friends.”

Revival animal health
Use case

B2C Ecommerce

Headquarters

Orange City, Iowa

Customer since

since 2022

Feature usage

Search API, Rules, AI Synonyms, Facets & Filters

Key results
  • Easy to configure and implement

  • Boost in proprietary product search results

  • Multifaceted capabilities (product and content)

Key numbers
  • Growth in conversions by approximately 12%

Integrations

BigCommerce

The challenges

  • 1.

    Support new headless environment

  • 2.

    Simplify configuration and application of rules

  • 3.

    Future-proof investment in search

The solution

  • 1.

    Quick to implement (took approx. 2 months)

  • 2.

    Training and onboarding support from Algolia

  • 3.

    Seamless integration with BigCommerce

  • 4.

    Full featured: Rules, Facets & Filters, AI Synonyms and more

The result

  • 1.

    Improved conversions

  • 2.

    Able to handle vast range of complex products and content

  • 3.

    Reduced developer time on configuration

  • 4.

    Boost in proprietary product placement in search results

From humble beginnings in 1989 in the basement of Dr. Roy Nielsen Jr. (“Doc Roy”) as a trusted source of vaccines for pet breeders. Revival Animal Health, so named because it was the veterinarian’s second career, has since grown into a national pet health supply company serving a variety of pet care professionals, such as shelters, groomers, and veterinarians, as well as owners. The company “takes care of those who take care of our four-legged friends.” 

Revival Animal Hospital now operates out of two locations, boasts a state-of-the-art warehouse, and employs more than 85 people, but maintains the quality focus set down by Doc Roy to provide industry-leading pet care knowledge and superior customer service. 

Among its employees are caring pet professionals (the “Paw Squad”) and pharmacy staff dedicated to promoting pet health and excellence in customer experience. Proud of its Heartland culture, the company strives to achieve seven core values: to be caring, be collaborative, be helpful, be knowledgeable, be passionate, be respectful and be trustworthy. It’s all “in the pursuit of healthy pets and delighted customers.” 

Responsibility for delighting customers rests with Joel Harrington, Senior Director of Demand and Customer Experience (CX) at the company. In that role, Harrington oversees sales, e-commerce, and pharmacy and is focused day-to-day on working with his team to enhance the customer experience.

Helping pet professionals

Revival Animal Health’s target customers aren’t generally your typical pet owner, but those in the field of pet breeding and animal care, like shelters. 

“We sell professional products, like those that would help a mama dog through her breeding cycle providing the right vitamins and supplements; things like vaccines, vitamins, supplements, pharmacy prescription products,” Harrington says. “And then we do sell things like cages, crates, disinfectants, and flea and tick prevention, things that a typical pet owner might need.” 

To better serve its array of customers, the company went live with a new headless e-commerce website in late 2022. Built on the BigCommerce platform, the company wanted to implement a new search provider along with several other important changes to its tech stack. 

The company was using SLI Systems for search functionality, but over the years and through several acquisitions, Harrington says the product didn’t keep up with the company’s needs. With the move towards headless e-commerce, he wanted a search provider that was continuously innovating.

Revamping Revival’s Search

The agency Revival Animal Health was working with on the re-platforming recommended Algolia and, after seeing it in action during the Shoptalk 2022 conference in Las Vegas, Harrington’s team chose Algolia Search for its revamped site. 

Over approximately two months, the company implemented the Algolia Search API on its new website, as well as Synonyms, Rules, Facets & Filters, and features such as global language support and typo tolerance. Algolia is currently implemented on its main search bar, as well as in its learning center. 

“One of the big things that sets Revival apart is we have a vast number of professional articles that help breeders and rescue shelters with all kinds of health needs,” Harrington notes. “If you go to our learning center, it’s still a site search being powered by Algolia, but it’s a site search utilizing articles and the content pieces.”

Revival Anima Health image

For example, where a search for dog vaccines on other pet health supply companies would come up with only product results, Revival Animal Health’s multifaceted results provide both product and informative content. 

The seamless integration of Algolia and BigCommerce was another important factor in the decision to move to the new search solution, Harrington notes. “Even if we had not had the problems with the previous provider, we probably still would have switched because I’m not even sure if they would have worked in our new environment.”

Revival Animal Health

“It works great,” Harrington says of the integration. He continues, “The speed of Algolia is really, really good. Since launch, we’ve had no technical hurdles in terms of downtime or issues. Mainly time on our end has been spent on fine-tuning search results and things. 

While the e-commerce team is responsible for configuring Algolia, it’s done with a lot of communications with Revival Animal Health’s merchandising team. 

“Our merchandising team has worked up a product ranking structure, based on keywords,” Harrington says. Using Algolia and the merchandising team’s input, the e-commerce supplier can make sure that its popular proprietary brands, such as Doc Roy’s or Breeder’s Edge, show first in results where they are appropriate. 

Harrington says the integration between Algolia and BigCommerce, which was one of the primary reasons the re-platforming agency recommended them, went relatively seamless. The biggest issue, he suggested, was on Revival Animal Health’s side, having so much to port over from its previous provider in terms of keywords and other factors. 

“It works great,” Harrington says of the integration. He continues, “The speed of Algolia is really, really good. Since launch, we’ve had no technical hurdles in terms of downtime or issues. Mainly time on our end has been spent on fine-tuning search results and things.”

Since implementing Algolia, Revival Animal Health has seen a steady increase in conversion rate. Inside the first six weeks, despite global headwinds from inflation and economic downturns, the company’s conversions were slightly up over the previous year. 

“That’s actually really good because we were trending slightly down,” Harrington says. “Algolia certainly plays a part in that upswing.” 

He notes that Algolia has helped take away a lot of the manual work in boosting the company’s proprietary brands, using a global ‘conditionless’ rule rather than on an individual search term-by-search term basis, which was previously the case. This saves time and lets the team direct focus on the company’s other strategic projects. 

Algolia’s AI-based typo tolerance is, for Harrington, another huge time saver. Previously every common misspelling would need to be input individually. Given the company supplies various medications and health products, and the difficulty of many of the keywords, that originally proved to be a highly laborious task. 

Due to the complexity of its headless environment, the e-commerce team tapped Algolia for training and added technical support on top of standard onboarding, which Harrington says was valuable. “We learned a lot from Algolia during it, and the support team was very helpful along the way. We had regular cadences with Algolia and open communications. 

“It was a really smooth process.”

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