Unleaded Group Launches Apache Solr Development, Vastly Improving On-site ecommerce Search

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Intended for online merchants deploying the Magento Enterprise shopping platform, Solr search capabilities improve the site visitor experience and deliver merchants more conversions and sales

Unleaded Group, Denver’s premier website design and development agency with an emphasis on e-commerce platforms, announced today the launch of development integration for the highly intuitive Apache Solr on-site search engine for Magento Enterprise websites, a blazing fast upgrade for Internet merchants that improves the site visitor experience, boosts the conversion rate for online sales, and streamlines web store administration.

Solr is an open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project, and includes such major features as powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search. Solr is highly scalable, providing distributed search and index replication, and it powers the search and navigation features of many of the world's largest internet sites.

The advantages of Solr for Magento Enterprise online merchants are impressive. The typical on-site search capability built-in to the shopping platform is limited to a very rigid set of keywords and attributes set up by the merchant in a structured database, so site visitors and merchants alike have to be very specific to yield search results that match the products and services sought. This often results in dead ends or multiple searches, both frustrating roadblocks known to prompt shoppers to leave the site entirely.

Solr, however, digs deep into all content on a website, delivering more search results, better results, and even including the functionalities of recognizing and correcting for spelling errors, and highlighting key words so visitors can better find what they are looking for. Solr searches, or indexes, the entire site, including the content of such unstructured data sources as PDF files, word documents, Excel spreadsheets, user-generated files, emails, marketing information, forums, visitor comments, blogs, news releases and more – rich data areas generally invisible to structured database search engines.

For the online merchant Solr is highly flexible and an excellent source of business intelligence. Web store operators employing Solr, for instance, can tune search results to display desired products first, like a particular brand, sale items, high-margin items, or top-selling products to drive sales toward specific business objectives. Moreover, Solr keeps tabs on site visitor search terms and click-throughs, so merchants can quickly and constantly identify what works and what doesn’t to hone their site into a more targeted sales machine.

Solr (http://lucene.apache.org/solr/) is part of the Apache Lucene project which is an open source and free information retrieval software library supported and licensed by the Apache Software Foundation. The foundation is a community of developers dedicated to FOSS – free and open source software – and states that “The Apache projects are defined by collaborative consensus based processes, an open, pragmatic software license and a desire to create high quality software that leads the way in its field.” Along with Apache Solr, the Apache Projects include such software as Apache Lucene, Apache PyLucene, and Apache Open Relevance.

Magento – eCommerce Platform for Growth (http://www.magentocommerce.com/) is a feature-rich, open-source, enterprise-class ecommerce platform that offers merchants a high degree of flexibility and control over the user experience, catalog, content and functionality of their online store. The platform is in use on more than 110,000 web stores worldwide.

Unleaded Group (http://www.unleadedgroup.com/), founded as Unleaded Software in Denver in 1996, is one of the oldest website design and development firms in the Rocky Mountain region. The agency has built thousands of websites for corporate clients, organizations, and individuals throughout the world, and has taken a leadership role nationally in the development of ecommerce websites. As a Gold Solution Partner with Magento, Unleaded Group has designed and developed more than 150 online ecommerce retail stores for clients, with a portfolio that encompasses ecommerce sites for Fortune 500 companies and mom-and-pop shops alike, in such industries as hardware, real estate, travel, food service and grocery, toys, footwear, automobile accessories, winter sports, solar accessories, and more.

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