Which Is the Best: Using Search as a Service or Building Your Own Search?

The crucial skill in any business is managing your resources. And when it comes to integrating a site search, ecommerce enterprises have to decide whether they want to invest time and money in developing their own search engine or use ready-made search as a service. In this article, we're going to analyze which option is better.

The difference between search as a service and own search engine

Defining the terms

Let's first define search as a service. In brief, search as a service is a type of search that uses a software as a service (SaaS) model. That is why search as a service is also called SaaS search.

SaaS is a way of distributing software in which businesses use cloud-based software hosted by a third-party website hosting provider. Usually, SaaS implies an on-demand pay-as-you-go service with a monthly (or yearly) subscription that can be canceled at any time.

In contrast to SaaS, businesses may choose to develop their own software that will be hosted on their server. This model requires an IT team that will build the server, develop the software, and constantly maintain it.

How does search as a service work?

Now we're going to dig deeper into how exactly search as a service works. For businesses, the process is undemanding and straightforward. The first and most important step is to choose the provider of the search app. Then you install the app in one click, and it's pretty much it: search and filters will be instantly added to your ecommerce website.

Here is an example of how the technology behind it works. Once you've installed the search app, in the next 5 minutes indexation of products, articles, and store categories takes place. To export this information, the app uses the API of your ecommerce platform. After indexation is finished, the exported data is used to generate search results, filtering and sorting options for customers searching your store. The search app also tracks all the changes you make in the catalog in real-time to ensure the most up-to-date search results. That means If you make any changes in the catalog, they will become visible to users in search results in under 10 minutes.

Why is search as a service the best choice for ecommerce?

In the next section, we are going to compare search as a service with building your own search to see what benefits SaaS search provides to ecommerce enterprises.

Saves your resources

Creating your own search engine comes at a high cost in terms of time, money, and labor expenses, as you'll need a team of developers to build it. In contrast, by choosing search as a service you can outsource all the development, deployment, and maintenance efforts to search experts. Your search provider will be the one responsible for keeping things running smoothly: troubleshooting, testing, and fixing bugs, while you can focus on business growth.

Updates and improvements

The software requires constant improvements and updates, especially the software for such a competitive and rapidly developing environment as ecommerce. That's why if you choose to build your own search engine, your developers will have to work constantly on new features even after the software is released. Or, you may choose to put this load onto someone else's shoulders and let the search as a service company take care of it. So, when choosing SaaS search, you'll have access to all the new functions and improvements without paying any extra money apart from the subscription cost.


If you use your own search solution, you'll have to adapt it to a higher load when the business is growing. With SaaS search, you don't need to worry about limitations associated with growth, as such search easily handles even large catalogs with a lot of products. All you need to do is just upgrade your plan and enjoy the flawless functioning of the search engine.


The website traffic largely increases during the holiday season, and the site search has to be able to handle the increased load. The failure to do so will result in missed sales opportunities. Professional SaaS search solutions are adapted to holiday season traffic peaks and can process hundreds of search queries per second. And the own search engine needs to be tested and adapted to higher load (which again means more work for developers).

Customization and flexibility

When you are building your own site search engine, you'll design it from scratch the way you want it to look. And it may seem that search as a service loses on this point. However, SaaS search companies also provide customization options so that you can fine-tune the look and feel of the site search to fit the style of the store with the help of custom CSS and HTML.

Additional business tools

The best SaaS search engines deliver more features than just a search bar. Some of the additional features are:

  • filters to help customers narrow down their search in a seconds
  • merchandising options to promote certain products in search results by showing them higher in the list or adding labels ("new", "on sale", "limited edition", etc.)
  • upsell and cross-sell to sell more by adding recommendation blocks to any page of your store ("Similar products", "Customers also bought", etc.)
  • analytics to gain useful business development insights from analysis of customers' search behavior

And, again, if you are building your own site search and want to have all these features, it requires more time and money spent on the development.

Searchanise as SaaS search

Now let's wrap up everything we've discussed. Search as a service provides significant benefits to ecommerce enterprises, namely, it frees up a huge amount of companies' resources (time, money, and labor expenses). This helps companies to innovate faster by channeling resources to grow business or perfecting customer's experience.

If you want to save your resources and integrate a flawlessly working search engine to your ecommerce website, take a closer look at Searchanise. It is a professional SaaS search app packed with useful tools and features, such as filters, merchandising, upsell and cross-sell, analytics, and many more. With Searchanise, you can integrate a site search without robbing a bank.
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“Rock solid performance! I wish we knew about this app a year ago! The intuitive nature of the searches and speed of information make this a perfect app for our web store.”
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"The app really adds value to our shop. The search works 100X better than the default Shopify search and puts us in the same league as the big players. Awesome app!!"
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"Works great for our needs!
The Searchanise plugin/service excels where other leading (and much more expensive) search providers have fallen short on our site. We have over 17,000 products and this plugin indexes them flawlessly and creates a top-notch search experience for our customers. Really pleased that we found this one."
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"The results are fantastic.
We use it on many customers and they are all satisfied. It greatly enhances Magento's search."
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My last hope was to try Searchanise. I was, and I am still amazed! The search results are PERFECT! The sync speed is AMAZING without bags or delays. And I have never seen such great support. The Searchanise App is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I really hope someday to find again such a nice team and support."
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"Searching for a Search app? Try Searchanise. We are totally impressed, works great, it's faster than the default BC search and looks gorgeous in our shop - it's form and function! Supported by wonderful people. Many thanks to Alexey and the team! Excellent app and awesome team"
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"I could say a lot of great things about this add-on, but I think this one line suffices; adding the Searchanise feature to your store is one of the most important and rewarding decisions you will make for your business and customers. Not to mention, the team is an absolute delight to work with, namely Angelina Morozova!"
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Anastasiya Kupriyanova - Content creator
Anastasiya Kupriyanova
Anastasiya is a content creator at Searchanise. Her professional areas of interest are SaaS solutions and ecommerce. Anastasiya believes that quality content must be valuable for readers and achieve business goals. When she is not busy writing, which does not happen often, she reads passionately, both fiction and non-fiction literature.

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