River Island Search:A Case Study

When river Island wanted to modernise their search and merchandising solution they engaged tcpl to provide the technology upgrade. delivering an industry leading case study for search technology migration

 Business agility does not come out of the box

Business agility does not come out of the box

The Problem

River Island, one of the UK's top 5 pure fashion retailers, had embarked with TCPL on a massive technology enablement program that had led to a successful bespoke cloud based platform launch.  As part of their ongoing program River Island wanted to review their 'search and merchandising' technology based on the following key targets:

  • Have no single point of failure in Cloud (AWS)
  • Ensure long term resource availabilty
  • Not be tied to a 3rd party development roadmap

With a huge investment in technology teams and technical agility the brief in essence was to enable River Island to become masters of their own destiny once again.


The proposal

TCPL went back to the drawing board.  Sitting down with the business and technical teams, TCPL understood River Island's ambitions as well as the need to minimise impact of the transition.

The TCPL proposal was based on 3 key components:

  1. Solr technology foundation to deliver tech enablement.
  2. Implementation based on Solr to open up solution to tech team 'pick-up' and be extensible.
  3. Technology and processes brought together by a sophisticated purpose built management framework that can flex to new requirements.

In addition, TCPL mapped out a migration path that supported the transition from the legacy system to minimise River Island’s merchandising teams workload and SEO impact.

 TCPL 'purpose built' delivers to the brief

TCPL 'purpose built' delivers to the brief


 Better than 'out of the box' search by TCPL

Better than 'out of the box' search by TCPL

The results

TCPL's search and implementation launched 4 months after sign-off of the proposal.  Released in the middle of night with no customer or operational impact, it truly is a case study on how technology can be done.  TCPL delivered:

  • Full functional parity and enhancements compared to previous implementation
  • SEO friendly URLs
  • Full legacy URL/Links' re-direct (including 'low left hand nav' filter selections) 
  • Better management interfaces
  • Improved performance
  • Full cloud enabled release (auto scaling/healing)

In addition to these phenomenal 'day-one' achievements River Island are now once again back in the driving seat of their technology roadmap.