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How Algolia has Rugs.com search needs covered

After saying enough was enough with OpenSearch, we quickly made the decision to return to Algolia. After a quick contracting process, Rugs.com was able to be up and running in less than a day, go live overnight and were already sending click & conversion events to Algolia.

Grayson Bagwell

, Director of Ecommerce and Business Development @ Rugs.com

Summary

Rugs.com is the online go-to place to find area rugs. Its small team handles a huge number of products, they need a best-in-class back-end search platform that makes it as easy as possible for business users to ensure customers find exactly what they're looking for. Despite having had demonstrable success with Algolia, Rugs.com decided to save costs by replatforming to a competitor – but this came at its own steep price, including slower search speeds, poor discoverability, the inability for business users to make changes on their own, and a huge loss in revenue. Rugs.com quickly returned to Algolia, had their operations up and running overnight and have since added on new features to their search platform to drive efficiency and growth.

Rugs
Use case

B2C Ecommerce

Headquarters

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Customer since

since 2019, and returned to Algolia in July 2022

Feature usage

Search API, Rules, Analytics, Dynamic Re-Ranking, Dynamic Synonyms, Visual Editor, AI Distributed Search Network

Key results
  • Easy to use for both developers and business teams

  • Simpler changes and Search customization

  • Seamless and consistent experiences across sites 

  • Improved speed of search results

  • Higher conversion rates and revenue

The challenges

  • 1.

    Vast back catalogue of products spread across multiple sites

  • 2.

    Need to make it as easy as possible for customers to quickly find exactly what they're looking for

  • 3.

    Business users need to easily make changes in search platform without relying on developers

  • 4.

    Replatforming reduced search speed and discoverability, made it impossible for business users to make changes and resulted in huge revenue losses

The solution

  • 1.

    A tool that both technical developers and business teams can easily use to improve discoverability across multiple sites for high number of SKUs

  • 2.

    Switched back to Algolia after four months and were up and running in a day

The result

  • 1.

    Improved productivity; anyone can make changes and customize Search

  • 2.

    Seamless and consistent experiences across sites

  • 3.

    Fast and easy switching from and returning to Algolia

  • 4.

    Increased search speed and reduced latency

  • 5.

    Increased conversions and revenue

Rugs.com is the online go-to place to find area rugs. From mid-century modern and contemporary rugs to one-of-a-kind traditional hand-knotted rugs, Rugs.com has something to fit any style or taste. 

Their expertise and deep connections to global manufacturers and distributors let them bring customers the highest quality rugs at the lowest possible prices. And with 24x7 customer service, fast and free shipping, and free returns, Rugs.com has earned not just huge numbers of satisfied customers and near perfect reviews on TrustPilot and SiteJabber, but the number two ranking for Fastest Growing Home websites in 2020. 

Rugs.com has a huge number of SKUs and products available — and resulting data — so they have to make it as quick, easy, and accurate as possible for their customers to find what exactly they're looking for. 

With a small team, it requires the most efficient and effective back-end tools that let business users easily make changes in their search platform to boost speed and discoverability, without relying on developers, to create exceptional, intelligent purchasing experiences. 

Coming on board – with results

After using an in-house search solution that was passable at best, Rugs.com turned to Algolia in 2019 and were quickly impressed with how easy it was for business users to work with, alongside the speed and high rate of product discoverability. 

“We have so many SKUs that discoverability of products can be difficult, so with Algolia we were better and more easily able to customize the search experience to help more items be more discoverable,” says Grayson Bagwell, Director of E-Commerce and Business Development. 

Coming on board – with results Business users could log in and quickly make changes rather than having to enlist developers, saving time and money, and freeing up the dev team to focus on bigger and more pressing challenges. As a company where team members wear many hats, having Algolia be user-friendly across multiple teams allowed people to cover for each other, if need be, with little to no bottleneck. 

Rugs.com quickly implemented a variety of query rules and sorting features on every single one of their web pages, alongside filters for most of them.

“The seamless ability to create rules became our favorite Algolia feature,” Bagwell admits, “because it let us boost different products and promote specific items or new collections.” For example, when a new collection of kids-focused rugs was introduced, Algolia made it easy for any business user to quickly implement changes and boost the new collection to the top of the “Kids” search results. More than that, Rugs.com also increased overall product discoverability, including for higher margin products that could easily be targeted with analytics and then boosted with rules, filters, and sorting. 

All in all, Algolia let Rugs.com quickly and easily adapt on the fly, while using less resources, and still drive sales.

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So then why — with all these benefits — did Rugs.com choose to leave Algolia?

Shopping around

In March 2022 Rugs.com replatformed their operations and left Algolia to adopt Shopify with OpenSearch, based on the guarantee that it could act as both a CMS (content management system) and search platform — for one fixed, cheaper price. Of course, Algolia and Rugs.com departed on friendly terms, leaving the door open for future engagements. 

The Rugs.com experiment in replatforming to OpenSearch, however, lasted only nine months, and resulted in poor performance. Despite its affordability, OpenSearch lacked the basic features and qualities that had made Algolia the right tool for Rugs.com.

First, business users found OpenSearch nearly impossible to make any search platform changes without developers, who began "spending a lot more time tweaking changes instead of working on other more important things”, Bagwell says. Needing to bring in developers for almost every change quickly started to burn through resources and slow down operations. And critical user-facing metrics fared just as bad: search speed was extremely slow, and discoverability suffered. 

After its short months of working with OpenSearch, revenue started to decline, and the company found itself losing some of the growth it had nurtured earlier using Algolia. This regression was significant at a time when more people began working from home and were looking to upgrade their living spaces.

Coming home

Having already had such success with and support from them, Rugs.com knew Algolia was the obvious choice. And after such heavy losses in such a short period of time, it was urgent for Rugs.com to make the switch as fast and seamless as possible. 

Algolia showed up, ready to help. “The support has been amazing from Algolia, who are always there when we need them” lauds Bagwell. After a quick contracting process, Algolia had Rugs.com up and running in less than a day and was already sending click & conversion events to Algolia. 

Now, business users at Rugs.com are back to managing search issues with ease, speed, and agility, and the company is posting revenue gains instead of losses. “Algolia is definitely one of the fastest performers and its ease of use, implementation and customer support exceeded our expectations,” Bagwell says.

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Rugs.com also continues to have a standing call with the Customer Success team, which helps to iterate on their implementation and test other additional features. 

Rugs.com is now eager to add more features to help manage their growth, including Dynamic Re-Ranking, Visual Editor, Dynamic Synonyms and AI Distributed Search Network — some of which OpenSearch could not even offer.

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