HSE increases customer satisfaction while reducing maintenance time by 42%, using Elasticsearch on AWS

Increased website click-through rate by 4%

With Elasticsearch, HSE has seen a 4% rise in click-through rates, resulting in a significant increase for its ecommerce business.

Elastic helps raise customer satisfaction by 8%

HSE has increased customer satisfaction by 8% thanks to more accurate and relevant search results delivered by Elastic.

Reduced maintenance time by 42%

With the deployment of Elasticsearch via Elastic Cloud on AWS, HSE has significantly reduced employee-hours spent on software maintenance.

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Live commerce giant transforms the customer experience with more accurate and relevant search results delivered by artificial intelligence and ML in Elasticsearch

HSE is one of the leading brands in the European live commerce sector. HSE's customers decide when and where they shop – whether through one of the three TV channels, the online shop, the award-winning HSE app or the new social commerce app HSE HELLO.

Like any ecommerce business, the search capability is fundamental to the customer experience and sales. Here, HSE must cater for customer journeys that originate from many channels, resulting in diverse search terms that reflect the source. For example, an HSE TV viewer may enter precise search terms, including product numbers, whereas a casual shopper may use more general language.

Peter Strasser, Software Developer, HSE, says, "A large proportion of customers who visit the website are inspired by demonstrations and offers on our TV channels." Many of these viewers also fall into an older demographic and use the internet and search differently to customers who are more used to the online world.

This shopping audience was one of the main reasons Strasser and his team selected Elastic to replace its previous search vendor. "Elasticsearch is far more flexible than our previous solution and enables us to fine-tune the customer experience whether they are searching by a creator, a brand, a description, or product number," he says.

"On our search pages, we saw an increase of 4% in our clickthrough rate, which is a massive amount."

– Peter Strasser, Software Developer, HSE

Strasser describes the previous solution as a 'black box' where it was difficult to understand how and why search terms returned different products. Elasticsearch solves this issue with APIs that enable HSE to craft complex and fine-grained search queries. This includes filters, aggregations, boosts, and sorting to refine search results based on specific criteria.

AI-powered search; perfect for e-commerce environments

Customers also benefit from Elastic’s AI and machine learning features that are a key driver for HSE, as it helps to return more relevant results. This includes using generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) to extract the semantic meaning of a customer query and generate results that complement traditional keyword matching. Through Elastic’s open architecture, HSE is able to leverage the best models on the market to augment search. With this HSE plan to bring further advanced features such as user-personalized results and searching within product images — or even video — in the future.

HSE sends an average of 43,000 packages every day from four logistics centers in Germany and Switzerland, and employs more than 850 people.

Another advantage of Elasticsearch is that it runs on Elastic Cloud in HSE's cloud-native environment. "With the previous solution, we had to manage many virtual machines in the cloud, putting additional pressure on our team. With Elastic we benefit from an out-of-the-box SaaS solution that greatly reduces time spent maintaining our systems," says Strasser.

"With Elastic’s Cloud SaaS offering, our engineers don’t need to spend time on operating servers and can focus on delivering value for our customers."

– Peter Strasser, Software Developer, HSE

HSE initially deployed an Elastic pilot for its social commerce app, HSE Hello. With a full understanding of the Elastic APIs, Strasser and his team returned to the main online store. "Using this knowledge, we completely rebuilt the search platform for website customers," he says.

In the first six months of deployment, HSE has already seen a significant improvement in customer satisfaction and conversions. When Strasser and his team ran an A/B test comparing the previous search platform with Elastic, the number of customers dissatisfied with the search experience fell by 8%. Search result pages also saw a 4% increase in click-through rates – an important gain for a large-scale e-commerce website.

Through three TV channels (HSE, HSE Extra and HSE Trend), HSE has a reach of more than 46 million households across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Enterprise-grade reliability, and a welcoming community

The reliability of Elastic's technology is another critical advantage. Every second of website downtime represents lost of revenue and could damage HSE's reputation. "Elastic is an important component in our software ecosystem helping to guarantee 24/7 availability and customer satisfaction," says Strasser.

He also stresses the importance of the global Elastic community that provides support for HSE as it adapts to changing customer expectations and a fast-moving competitive landscape. "For HSE, commercial success starts with website personalization and relevance. With Elastic we can continue to enhance customer search, based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing."

"Elastic is the ideal partner for HSE. Its solutions are highly flexible, well understood by the software community, and have the backing of thousands of people who are constantly refining the search technology."

– Peter Strasser, Software Developer, HSE

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