Penn Foster Selects SearchStax Studio

Search Workforce development pioneer Penn Foster has selected SearchStax Studio to replace the existing search function on Penn Foster’s website as announced in a press release on April 9, 2021.

Editor’s Note: Site Search is now SearchStax Studio. It is the same great product that empowers marketers and developers with website search that is easy.

Penn Foster is a Pioneer in Distance Learning

Penn Foster is dedicated to helping our students achieve their goals through affordable, accessible, career-focused learning. In 1890, newspaper editor Thomas J. Foster founded the school to provide coal miners with education to advance in their careers, increase their safety, and improve their quality of life. Since then, more than 13 million students have taken courses and Penn Foster now offers pathways to opportunity with more than 100 accredited degree, diploma, and certificate programs.

Penn Foster’s Website is Critical to Their Success

Penn Foster is an online college, and their website is a vital part of their business model. They use their website to reach, engage and enroll potential students. The website is the channel for potential students to learn about educational programs and courses that will advance their careers.

One of the most critical metrics is a conversion event that culminates in an enrollment. 

Search is very important to Penn Foster because of the vast amount of content that a student needs to navigate to find the program or options they need. For instance, Penn Foster offers several vet tech programs and search enables users to explore the options and gives them the data they need to make a decision.

4 Reasons Why Penn Foster Selected SearchStax Studio

Penn Foster initiated a website refresh project and better search was identified as a key success factor. Promoting the right content and providing relevant search results was a top priority. 

With all of their other development priorities, improving search seemed like an impossible task. Penn Foster was already using SearchStax Cloud, SearchStax’s managed Solr solution, to manage the Solr search infrastructure for their Sitecore-based website.  When they learned that SearchStax had recently launched their website search solution, they scheduled a demo with the sales team.

“Our alternative to SearchStax technology was a large-scale internal development effort. And even with a substantial investment, that development would have given us a fraction of the capabilities we are getting. For instance, we wouldn’t have a user-centric UI that puts marketing in control. We would have no analytics. And marketing would have had to continually rely on development to tweak search.”

Chad Smith, Senior Application Developer at Penn Foster

After a short sales cycle, Penn Foster decided to go with the SearchStax Site Search technology. According to Chad Smith who leads the front-end development for Penn Foster’s web properties on Sitecore and .NET, the top four reasons they selected SearchStax include:

  1. Existing SearchStax Solr Hosting Customer – Penn Foster was already using SearchStax for Managed Solr so it was a natural extension to use the Site Solution too
  2. Integration with Sitecore – SearchStax is tightly integrated with Sitecore and has integrations to reduce implementation time
  3. SearchStax UX support – SearchStax’s involvement with the front-end design showed that they were committed to help and the SearchStax UX Accelerator will significantly reduce implementation time
  4. Needed Features at a Better Price – There are not many options for advanced search in the Sitecore world and SearchStax had the needed features and was priced better than the alternatives

Sameer Maggon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SearchStax added: “We’re thrilled we get to work with Penn Foster to help students find the right educational programs. Site Search puts Penn Foster’s marketing team in control and gives them the tools they need to make search relevant without needing any IT intervention. Now, IT can quickly put to bed the search topic and move to other projects.”

Good Search Changes Everything for Penn Foster

“Before we knew of Site Search, we had to cut tons of search features to achieve our initial launch date. Now they are all back on the table, and more, and we will get them all at launch. This will change everything.”

Chad Smith

SearchStax Studio is a game changer that makes it quicker, easier and less expensive for companies to deliver relevant and personalized site search experiences websites. Contact us today for a quick discussion and demonstration to see how Studio can help improve your search experience.

About the Author

By Tom Humbarger

Senior Product Marketing Manager

April 19, 2021

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