Large auction and valuation group, Pickles Auctions, is the first Australian customer for a search engine developed by carsales.com Ltd’s IT team in Melbourne.
The proprietary platform – dubbed Ryvuss Search – powers search for the majority of Carsales’ websites as well as Brazilian company WebMotors. All of these sites enable consumers to advertise, sell and buy new and used cars online.
Ryvuss Search was the brainchild of Carsales’ VP of engineering, Michael Ridgway, and was first created for internal use across the company’s many websites. Development began in 2010 when the company’s users wanted to be able to search by multiple vehicle makes, models, and colours.
Speaking to CIO, Claudio Salinas, CIO at Pickles Auctions, said the consignment auction house was in ‘transformation mode’ and needed to improve the search functionality of its website, which has 15 million page views monthly and is used to complete around 400,000 transactions annually.
The company is currently using an older version of the Apache Solr open source search engine, which is clunky and inefficient, he said. Pickles will move across to Ryvuss Search over the next eight to 12 weeks.
Salinas said the search engine handles unstructured data very well.
“Our data is quite broad and other search engines want you to be specific – they will only look for a key words, but Ryvuss will look across a big pile of data and return results based on business logic,” Salinas said.
“For us that’s important because our website is not just cars, we have damaged vehicles, industrial plant equipment and more general goods such as clothing and washing machines. We needed the best search engine that could handle our really broad product range,” he said.
Salinas added that Ryvuss will drive major search enhancements in a short implementation period.
“What we wanted to avoid was a major search project consuming the development team for an extended duration. Ryvuss will help us achieve this,” he said.
He said that Ryvuss will provide feedback to Carsales for improvements to the search engine over time.
“It’s been really refreshing dealing with the Carsales team on this, they have some great capability there – accommodating to our requests through proof of concept and supporting the implementation,” said Salinas.
Carsales is the only major Australian company to have invested in building its own search engine.
Ridgway said emails to Carsales’ customer service centre halved, phone calls dropped by 16 per cent and content publishing times are, on average, less than 1 minute since the search engine has been implemented across the organisation.
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