At Science Warehouse, we continually invest in our spend management solutions to ensure that we deliver the best possible experience for our customers, when looking for, and purchasing, products and services. One of our largest projects has been to redevelop the Search functionality within our eMarketplace, to provide Buyers and our Supplier Community with an even better user experience.
What about the Technology?
We wanted to address the technology our Search functionality was written in. It had served our users well but we knew it was time to invest to allow us to provide more resilience and scalability to support business growth and user demand. We have over 100,000 end users with over 30,000 regularly searching over 18m product lines.
Next Generation Search is powered by Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch is the heart of the Elastic Stack provided by Elastic and used by many worldwide organisations including Facebook, eBay, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft. Scaling the search index is now done at the click of a button, high availability and security are first-order features of the Elasticsearch platform.
So what does it mean for End Users?
Science Warehouse invested in implementing the new core search engine, and in our ‘secret sauce’: how to tune the Elasticsearch engine to get the most relevant results so that the end user experience is as intuitive and helpful as possible. Next Generation Search has greatly improved our current Search functionality, a few noticeable enhancements include:
- Keyword Matching: (improved relevance of results displayed) meaning faster identification of possible items from the initial keywords entered.
- Improved Sorting and Filter options: allowing users to very quickly refine their Search to just what they need and identify products of best value / fit.
- Improved Searching: for example cater for spaces and dashes in keyword searching so end users don’t have to be quite as specific whilst retaining a relevant results set. The ability to very quickly ‘include’ and ‘exclude’ additional search terms has also been improved.
- New Search Interface: the look and feel of search results page has also been enhanced to give users the best experience in terms of having as much information to hand to make an informed buying decision.
- Price and Pack Size refinement: sliders have been introduced for relevant areas such as price and pack size to give a more familiar ‘commercial’ feel to the user interface and to provide quicker ways to filter results further.
As well as the above, Next Generation Search also supports Suppliers with the ability to link related products to their listings (e.g. similar products, complementary products or replacement products for example) and provide ‘alternative products’.
Suppliers can also provide alternative names for products to help with product relevance and ensure their products can be more easily found.
Next Generation Search is now live for Science Warehouse’s UK and Irish customers and will be launched to Australian clients in early April 2017.
In addition Next Generation Search allows Science Warehouse to capture much more information on “how” and “for what” users are searching on which will allow us, over time, to provide valuable insights to both our Buyers and Supplier Community.
And the future?
Next Generation Search provides us with a much-improved Search solution on day one, but also provides a base from which to innovate quickly in line with our Product Strategy as well as incorporating feedback and suggestions from our Buyers and Supplier Community.
To read more about our Spend Solutions and how your organisation can benefit from the continual enhancements from Science Warehouse, please click here.