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SmartBuyGlasses and Algolia: Striving to deliver an extraordinary customer experience together

Algolia helps us with the accuracy of our search results, both by default for all our visitors and also, more specifically, for engaged customers with personalization features. We also value the Analytics and A/B test capabilities, which help track customer behaviors and assess the business impact of new ideas or features.

Gaëtan Girin

Head of Digital Product Development @ SmartBuyGlasses


When SmartBuyGlasses, a global eyewear ecommerce retailer, saw its in-house search solution wasn’t achieving the required speed or accuracy to improve customer service, it turned to Algolia Search. In the eight years since, the company has implemented a wide range of features, including Personalization, Analytics and A/B testing. Learn how by improving customer experience and website performance with Algolia, the company has grown click-through rates by 20% and reduced no-click rates — all while improving the speed and relevancy of search results.

Use case

B2C Ecommerce


Hong Kong

Customer since


Feature usage

Search, Personalization, Analytics, A/B testing

Key results
  • Improved customer experience

  • Faster and more accurate search results

  • Support for continuous UX improvement

Key numbers
  • Supports ~30 countries and 15 languages

  • 20% increase in click-through rates

  • 10% reduction in no-click rates

The challenges

  • 1.

    In-house search solution

  • 2.

    Unsatisfactory search result speed and accuracy

  • 3.

    Continuous improvement in customer experience

The solution

  • 1.

    Algolia Search for fast, accurate search results

  • 2.

    Personalization for greater customer engagement

  • 3.

    Analytics to track customer behaviors

  • 4.

    A/B testing to assess the impact of

The result

  • 1.

    Improved customer experience

  • 2.

    20% increase in click-through rates

  • 3.

    10% reduction in no-click rates

  • 4.

    Can continually improve the search experience

SmartBuyGlasses is one of the world’s largest designer eyewear e-commerce companies, with a presence across Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, the eyewear e-retailer has taken a leadership position in more than 30 countries worldwide and offers an extensive range of eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses at accessible prices. 

Its mission: To help people see and be healthy regardless of their budget. . A mission achieved through an integrated supply chain, close relationships with some of the world’s leading eyewear distributors, technological innovation, in-house opticians, and careful consideration of their customers’ needs. 

The company’s website provides an interactive and personalized alternative to purchasing prescription lenses, designer eyewear, and contact lenses. To that end, SmartBuyGlasses endeavors to make every shopping experience fun, fast, and easy. 

“We aim to provide a superior experience by offering high-quality eyewear and great value to our customers,” says Tony Zhuang, CIO at SmartBuyGlasses Optical Group. “We achieve this through our expertise, technology know-how, and professional services.” 

Zhuang and Head of Digital Product Development Gaëtan Girin have a continuous focus on how to use technology to improve conversion rates and website performance — with a strategic effort to provide timely and delightful support to the customers. 

Collaboration is key, Girin states. “Every day is different, working on new features involving all the teams at SmartBuyGlasses: marketing, IT, supply chain, merchandising, logistics, customer service, and more.”

Improving search accuracy and speed

In 2015, as part of its efforts to continuously improve customer experiences on the website, SmartBuyGlasses recognized a need to replace its existing in-house search and discovery solution. The team was not satisfied with the speed and accuracy of its search results. 

Through a recommendation from its network, it became familiarized with Algolia, which not only met the need for improved speed and accuracy but introduced a range of additional features that the company could implement. 

Initial implementation of the Algolia Search API—including API integration and UX development—took only about four weeks. Since implementation, the company has added additional features, including Personalization, Analytics, and A/B testing. 

Today, SmartBuyGlasses is using Algolia on all its desktop and mobile e-commerce websites, in more than 30 countries and 15 languages. Algolia is used for the site’s search bar and an autocomplete drop-down, but also across category pages and within search results pages. 

“We use Algolia to manage a very large catalog of products across three main categories (eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses) and multiple localized websites. Algolia helps accelerate our search results and grid pages involving multiple filters (facets). We refresh the whole catalog daily and do partial refreshes frequently during the day to keep our Algolia data (search & grid) in sync with product pages.” 

Algolia also helps us with the accuracy of our search results, both by default for all our visitors but also more specifically for engaged customers with personalization features. We also value the Analytics and A/B test capabilities, which help track customer behaviors and assess the business impact of new ideas or features. 
Gaëtan Girin, Head of Digital Product Development

SmartBuyGlasses image

Winning in a fast-changing market

The improved search capabilities, enhanced customer experience, and better understanding of consumer behavior that Algolia brings have helped SmartBuyGlasses as the eyewear market has seen considerable change. 

In recent years it has had to adapt to new innovations in online technology, such as Virtual Try-on (VTO), and a substantial increase in organic traffic during the pandemic. Also, over that time the concept of success has shifted from winning market share to measurably improving customer experience. 

“The biggest obstacles to winning in our business are more on internal factors like lack of resources and management strategies. To overcome these obstacles, we need to develop new strategies, invest in new technologies and processes, and improve our organizational culture towards focusing on improving our customer experience,” Zhuang says. 

To that end, Algolia A/B Testing is helping the company track the user experience and revenue impact of key changes it makes, empowering the management team to make better informed, data-driven decisions. 

Meanwhile, Algolia’s analytics provides insights that help the Digital team identify opportunities to continually improve the search experience on SmartBuyGlasses websites and provide users with fast and relevant answers.

How fast and relevant?

The company found that Algolia Search significantly improved the accuracy and speed of its site search and grid page, resulting in a 20 percent increase in click-through rate and a 10 percent reduction in no-click rates. 

But it’s not just the speed, relevancy, and customer experience gains that have the SmartBuyGlasses Digital team singing Algolia’s praises, but also the high level of service and support they receive — and the impact it has had on their search platform. 

“We work closely with Algolia’s product specialists to find the best way to continuously optimize our search technology. Algolia’s support team acts more like an external consultant than a software provider to us,” Girin says.

SmartBuyGlasses image 2

In addition to “first-class services” from the Algolia support team, having been using Algolia for approximately eight years, Girin praises the continued development and upgrade of the company roadmap. 

“The Algolia solution has evolved and added many features and technologies in recent years that have helped us further improve our search functionality.”

SmartBuyGlasses image 3

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