Tag Archive for: Solr

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You’re Betting Your eCommerce Business on . . . SOLR ??!!

What’s behind your eCommerce search box? You’re not going to like the answer

As an eRetailer, one of the most critical functions on your website is your search box.  This is where your shoppers go to find things they want to buy.  The truth is that, deep down; you know it just doesn’t work very well.  Most eRetailers think that “search” is just “search” and that all search tools are just about the same.  They expect that their search has some navigation, basic spell correction, and maybe type-ahead.  If that’s all search offers, then what’s the difference, really? Read More

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DollarDays Delivers a Solid Back-to-School Season with EasyAsk Semantic Search

Move from Open Source Solr, to EasyAsk Improved Search, Navigation and Merchandising – Driving Business Forward

EasyAsk, the leading provider of natural language semantic technologies, and DollarDays International, the largest by-the-case online store for small businesses shared details of DollarDays recent Back-to-School season success.

In 11 short years, Dollar Days is celebrating several milestones, including doubling the number of SKUs it offers to more than 225,000 and the number of suppliers to more than 500. Traffic on the DollarDays.com site has increased significantly, as have the number of memberships. All of this translates into revenue growth for DollarDays, even in a business environment where competitors are shrinking or going out of business.

DollarDays CEO Marc Joseph attributes DollarDays’ continued success to many key variables, including a growing number of price-sensitive shoppers, dominant marketing as seen in the company’s back-to-school programs and an overall exceptional customer experience, led by strong site search, merchandising and analytic capabilities.

“As the volume of traffic and the total number of items increases, the more important it is to present the right items to the visitor as quickly as possible,” says Joseph.

DollarDays originally used the open source search product, Solr as part of its open source e-commerce software stack. Solr is an open source search platform from the Apache Lucene project.

Business Reasons DollarDays Upgraded to EasyAsk from Solr
• Highly descriptive search – Because of their explosive product catalogue growth, DollarDays needed to give shoppers more search functionality, and the ability to enter more detailed descriptions in the search box.
• Faceted navigation – most navigation systems define static categories. EasyAsk natural language automatically generates additional layers of product definitions that greatly improve faceted navigation.
• Agile merchandising – Merchandisers can leverage EasyAsk eCommerce to create banner ads, promotions and rapidly identify and adapt as shopper trends develop.
• Manageability – the scope of managing search terms over a product catalogue of 225,000 SKUs can be overwhelming. EasyAsk offers intuitive graphical tools and analytics to make the job easier.

“EasyAsk search dramatically reduced the time for customers to find products and get to that all important checkout stage,” said Joseph. “As our number of items and seasonal merchandising needs grew, EasyAsk’s superior faceted search enabled our shoppers to more explicitly explore items across multiple dimensions. We offer a number of niche products, and once the visitors get to our site, we need to make it easy to find the exact product they want. EasyAsk helps us do that.”

Kevin Ryan, VP of merchandising at DollarDays said, “wholesale sites are generally behind consumer sites when it comes to usability. Many sites only offer basic search and simple navigation by category. Imagine scrolling through 5000 different products in the same category, such as toys to find the one you’re looking for. People eventually get frustrated and leave. That is what sets us apart – we are way ahead of the competition.”

DollarDays recently redesigned its homepage (www.dollardays.com), leveraging EasyAsk’s analytics, natural language merchandising and faceted navigation to better guide visitors and present high priority items for the season in much less space. DollarDays also uses EasyAsk analytics to discover and actively promote the top items its customers are looking for at any given time. An example can be found in its “School Charity Drive” page (http://dollardays.com/easysearch.aspx?pg=1&q=bts2012) where EasyAsk Analytics identifies the 500 most popular items from last year, and promotes these in a blackboard-style category grid.

Joseph is an active contributor to the Huffington Post on economic and business issues. According to Joseph, “Despite the fact that many US consumers believe we are still in a recession, DollarDays is well into our best back-to-school season yet, which is the biggest season for our company. EasyAsk is a big part of our success.”

About EasyAsk
EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through the company’s ground-breaking natural language search software. EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software and its customers include Coldwater Creek, Lands End, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, TruValue, Siemens, Hartford Hospital, Ceridian, JoAnn Fabrics and Harbor Freight Tools. For more information, go to www.easyask.com.

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Google joining IBM, Apple and EasyAsk? Pigs fly! News at 11…

 

(Message from the CEO of EasyAsk, Craig Bassin)

Looks like this is the beginning of the end for keyword search.  You’ve probably seen a number of articles discussing Google’s shift to ‘semantic search’.  Anyone understand what that REALLY means?  First, the definition of ‘semantic search’ is an understanding of the ‘intent’, or meaning, of the search, rather than just matching the keywords.

Now why would the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of keyword search, change course at this late date?  Conventional wisdom says they were forced to take a hard look after Apple launched Siri.  The timing sure seems to reinforce the fact that they’ve been playing with semantic search for some time, but needed to make a marketing splash now.

So, why change?  Well, obviously it’s a BETTER way to search and they had to, or they wouldn’t have!  I mean, really, Google acknowledging the limitations of keyword search?

Quoting from Paul Demery’s recent article (to read it, click here) about Google’s adoption of semantic search in Internet Retailer, ‘“Semantic search should allow Google as well as other search engines to better understand the true user intent of a search query,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of search marketing firm Didit.

Also, quoting from the same article: “Every day, we’re improving our ability to give you the best answers to your questions as quickly as possible,” Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search technology, said in a blog post. “In doing so, we convert raw data into knowledge for millions of users around the world. But our ability to deliver this experience is a function of our understanding your question and also truly understanding all the data that’s out there. And right now, our understanding is pretty darn limited. Ask us for ‘the 10 deepest lakes in the U.S,’ and we’ll give you decent results based on those keywords, but not necessarily because we understand what depth is or what a lake is.”

Now, understanding ‘intent’ AND ‘content’ is something that is at the very core of who EasyAsk is and how EasyAsk searches.  It’s the idea that, in an e-commerce setting, you can search for ‘men’s dress shirts under $30’ or ‘ladies red pumps size 6’ and get EXACTLY what you’re looking for.  Natural language understands the semantics involved in the search.  We understand the ‘intent’ of the question, we understand the ‘content’ of the data.  In adopting a new ‘semantic’ architecture Google will start to understand the ‘intent’ piece as well.

Now, who else searches this way?  How about Microsoft’s Bing, IBM’s Watson, obviously Apple’s Siri.

Now which of these companies can help you improve your e-commerce site?

None of them.

OK, but what about the other e-commerce search providers.  You probably know a few of them.  Endeca, SLI, Adobe, SOLR.

No, no, no and no.  Strictly keyword search.  Old news. Yesterday’s tech.

So we want to be the first to welcome Google.  We like them, use them all the time for internet search, along with Bing.  But when it comes to e-commerce search, folks, EasyAsk is leading the way.  Let us show you how.

It’s what we do.

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EasyAsk Brings Intelligence and Control Lucene/Solr Can’t Touch

Lucene/Solr is great for developers that enjoy tinkering with code as if it’s DNA and you’re working on the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum. But what if you don’t have the time or resources? What if you’re a company that cannot afford the manpower or hours needed to work on the open-source, Java-based search library? What if… what you need is a rich, mature product with the most accurate search engine on the planet?

Apache Lucene, for those who are unclear on the difference, is the library and Apache Solr is a layer of code on top of Lucene that turns it into a search platform, adding management and website APIs that are tailored for e-commerce. With Lucene/Solr you get a basic search engine, that requires a large IT staff or an army of consultants. It takes a lot of time, experience and troubleshooting to get the results you’re hoping for.

But let’s say you’ve outgrown the basic search functionality, or get frustrated having to build everything you need. And you’ve noticed how the e-commerce community has shifted to mobile sites with voice-recognition, and the abilities of open-source seem more and more limited. So wouldn’t you be tired of continuing to compete with every other e-commerce company that is trying to do the same thing with the same keyword-hampered technology? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out from the pack?

Where Lucene/Solr falls short, EasyAsk excels.

Companies like IBM, Magento, NetSuite, Infor and more have partnered with EasyAsk for a reason. The powerful Natural Language search-box and easy-to-use merchandising tools allow you to perform tasks a keyword-based software (Lucene/Solr) can’t even dream of. The intuitive site-search, dynamic navigation, and merchandising software utilizes Natural Language to increase conversion rates. It understands the intent of the search and delivers faster, more accurate results than keyword or navigation-driven softwares. The limitations you find with Lucene/Solr are simply not found with EasyAsk.

From understanding numeric units, to intelligent term relaxation, to merchandising capabilities like: Cross-Sell/Up-Sell promotions, EasyAsk has proven to bring something to the table that Lucene and Solr just can’t touch. Not to mention with EasyAsk you’re a step ahead of the game.

Take a quick look around and see which direction the technological world is headed. IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Nuance’s Dragon-Go, Panasonic’s Smart-TVs, and many more have all made the jump to a Natural Language Processing engine. It’s just a smarter way to connect with your customers.

And EasyAsk has been a leader in Natural Language for over a decade.

For example, on an EasyAsk-powered site, you can use your iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for. Go to Lands’ End’s site on your phone, type-in or speak a product you’d like to see and a price constraint (i.e. Black Sleeveless Dresses for under $100) and see for yourself how powerful EasyAsk is. You’re not going to find that functionality with an open-source, keyword-based software.

Also the EasyAsk Commerce Studio puts the power back in the hands of the merchandiser. Want to add a new brand for your site, or cross-sell a couple of items? No problem, it literally takes a minute. To see what I’m talking about click here.

Look, if you want to keep trying to reinvent the wheel, go right ahead. But if you’re tired of sputtering in a Model-T and you’d rather upgrade to a search that’s better, the wave of the future, comes with merchandising capabilities that Lucene/Solr just can’t match, come take a look at EasyAsk, the Search That Means Business.

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