The Spring of 2021 in Review
By Niklas Winkels
The first few months of 2021 mark an exciting new chapter in Bloomreach's journey to becoming the global leader in digital commerce experiences.
After witnessing the astonishing growth of eCommerce and digital marketing over the past year - and helping many of our customers adapt to the realities of 2020 - we announced an investment of $ 150 million (USD) into Bloomreach from Sixth Street Growth to fuel the ongoing growth of our commerce experience platform, including the solutions customers already use and trust from Bloomreach to drive their digital businesses.
And even more importantly, we announced that Bloomreach has acquired Exponea, the market-leading and most loved Customer Data and Experience Platform.
The past 3 months have been filled with highlights and exciting innovation. From talented new colleagues joining our family to building the world's best commerce experience platform - all powered by unique data and AI - with tools and modern technology companies need to grow their businesses, personalize every touchpoint and optimize all their digital channels.
Let's take a minute to look back at all the amazing features, Bloomreach launched in the past 3 months.
APIs for Data Ingestion
APIs for Data Ingestion are REST APIs to make full feed updates and delta updates. This is a more developer-friendly experience and is one example of how Bloomreach is investing more in features that help IT teams. Benefits are:
- Near real-time changes to products, such as adding a new product, changing a price, or updating inventory.
- A more reliable and scalable system able to support very large catalogs.
- Developer-friendly APIs with easy to understand feed format and documentation.
Lookup for More Precise Search
Lookup enables an exact match of any word, number, string that exists in designated fields. When Lookups are enabled, Bloomreach will first check for an exact match for the designated fields before conducting the default search, ensuring that we catch use cases that require more precise search.
This is a powerful feature for B2B sellers that want to support part number searches, as well as for retailers that have a lot of brand-specific queries. The benefits for your customers include:
- Better user experience : Customers are able to find the products they are looking for due to a more exact recall set.
- Reduced null results: For part number searches in particular, Lookups greatly reduces null result pages.
- Reduced errors of incorrect purchases and returns: If the wrong product is surfaced due to an imprecise match of the part number, customers might end up buying the wrong part since the purchasing agent often doesn’t know what the part number is actually supposed to be. Lookup reduces these errors and the amount of returns or exchanges that might happen because of them.
Bloomreach has reduced the amount of time it takes for merchandising rules created on the dashboard to reflect on the customer’s live site. The turnaround time for a sync for normal rules is now real-time instead of 30 minutes, and in the window of 1 second to 5 minutes for scheduled rules. Removing the need to wait for 30 minutes unlocks merchandisers to work much faster, make changes on the fly, and see their impact immediately.
Bulk Operations allows customers to apply merchandising tasks on multiple items at the same time and increases their productivity, ensuring they spend less time making changes to their site product-by-product.
With Bulk Operations, you can:
- Search for and select products by their Product IDs in bulk
- Boost, bury, block, or lock products in bulk
- Drag and drop to add products to the grid, or position-lock products within the grid in bulk
In-App Messaging Update
In-app messaging is a built-in mobile channel that allows customers to display personalized content within the native environment of their mobile app.
- Personalization and Predictive Targeting: Personalize in-app messages with product recommendations and data from Single Customer View and combine with predictions to target specific audience segments based on churn probability or purchase intent to enhance app experience and boost conversion.
- Omnichannel Marketing: Use in-app messages with other channels to offer your customers a seamless experience. For example, target unengaged email subscribers with personalized products or similar content the next time they open your app.
- Ease-of-set up with a visual editor: Pick from 4 pre-built formats and use our visual editor to easily design, customize, personalize, and preview your in-app messages —no coding skills required.
- A/B testing: Easily create multiple A/B test variants, including control groups
Weblayers are easy-to-set-up banners that can be displayed on specific pages of your website to drive engagement and conversion. It is a web personalization feature, important for real-time personalization and targeting. Weblayers have been updated with central template management and several new pre-built templates (recommendations, countdown timers, subscription boxes) that enhances the user experience by making them easier to design and more customizable - even without coding skills.
Product Recommendations Update
Recommendations just got better. We’ve introduced a new predefined email recommendation block that comes with a visual editor so you can customize it without getting into the HTML. We’ve also created a brand-new academy course and new Plug&Play use cases for speedier implementation and faster time-to-value.
- Increased CTR, AOV and LTV: Intelligently anticipate and show your customers what they want in order to increase engagement, purchases, and order value.
- Auto optimization & real-time results: Always deliver real-time recommendations, even during an active web session, that are automatically optimized based on machine learning or rule-based models or a combination of both to fit your business needs.
- Scalability & ease-of-use: Email recommendation blocks with visual editor and Plug&Play use cases ensure speedy implementation and faster time-to-value.
SMS Campaigns Update
With Bloomreach, it’s easy to add SMS as a new channel to your existing campaigns. This will allow you to personalize the messages with the breadth of all customer data you already have in the platform. You will also exercise full control over the length of the messages thanks to message previews and additional features like the link shortener, two-way communication and Automatic Keyword Rules (e.g. opt-out).
- Increase Reach: Reach a bigger portion of customers with campaigns by introducing SMS as a new channel.
- Measure SMS Impact: Integrating SMS campaigns with Exponea gives you a clear picture of the impact SMS campaigns have on your bottom line.
- Optimize SMS Costs: Purging invalid numbers from your database can reduce the total number of messages sent and save costs.
Facebook Conversions API Integration
Avoid Facebook ads’ performance plummeting with conversions API and Exponea. Exponea’s Facebook Conversions API (FB CAPI) integration offers the possibility of sending important events, such as purchases or leads, to Facebook Ads. That in-turn allows for better optimization of Facebook Ad campaigns.
The FB CAPI solution directly responds to the decreased reliability of the Facebook pixel and offers more control over what data is being sent to Facebook. The API allows you to send events to Facebook Ads’ platform directly without having to rely on browser pixel tracking.
This quarter, Bloomreach released version 14.5 of the Content Module which includes improvements to the visual editor, SPA integration, and personalization capability, as well as support for Recommendations, Inventory Data Source for Shopify, and Discounts and Coupons for commercetools.
More flexibility in working with compound fields and adding and removal of multiple fields.
- Add or remove multiples for primitive and compound fields from the visual editor
- Drag and drop functionality for multiple fields, allowing these fields to be ordered differently while staying in the Experience Manager and see the changes on the website directly before publishing the changes.
- Newly added compounds will no longer shift to the bottom of the document by default but instead will appear in the place where they are added. This allows users to start populating the compound fields quicker and easier.
- The Page Model API (PMA) now shows a clearer distinction between various compounds.
- To inspect differentiation based on product type backing in the PMA, this info is now included in meta info.
- Expanded and selected menu states in the PMA and SPA SDK are now supported.
- Targeting integration with SPAs + Express middleware has been simplified.
- SPA SDK debuggers for internal logic have been added. This makes it much simpler to debug issues with SPA integrations, in particular in setting up the preview in the Experience Manager.
Component properties panel for Relevance
With v14.5, Relevance in the Experience Manager moved to the right-side panel. This makes it easier to quickly edit a variant, add segments or characteristics, trends and targeting after which the experiment can be started right from the Experience Manager.
GraphQL Service and Commerce React Components
Discounts and Coupons for commercetools
The commercetools connector now supports adding coupon codes/discounts via a GraphQL Cart mutation. This means a shopper can add a coupon code at checkout and get x% off the total purchase (update value upon adding valid coupon).
Inventory Data Source for Shopify
It is now possible to query a product’s inventory with the Shopify connector. This will allow front-ends to enable conditions on adding products to cart and/or updating quantities. For this feature we’ve introduced the InventoryDataSource and associated types. By adding a separate DataSource, it is clearer to API clients that they should invoke this query separately in their pages.
Recommendations support added
The method findItemsByWidget has been added to support Recommendations. The implementation of the Data Source calls the corresponding Pathways and Recommendations API based on the widgetType which corresponds to an API family. According to the algorithm used, all parameters are optional (it is up to the front-end to determine which are mandatory).
Ongoing Improvements for marketers and merchandisers
- Translations support for experience pages - With the release of Experience Pages, we disabled the translations functionality for experience pages as this could lead to confusing situations. Based on customer requests, we've re-enabled this button.
- Cancel scheduled publication / take offline for experience pages can now be done by editors and admins from the page menu in the Experience Manager.
Ongoing Improvements for developers
- In a case where the _index_ feature was used below _default_ site map item, the sitemap would show all items as 'index'. This has been fixed.
- HST link tags now support anchors across documents, allowing for internal links to be created to specific anchors in a document or page that makes use of an internal link.
- We've added a URL validator to the services-validation module to check whether a field contains a valid URL.
Thanks to the integration with Elastic.io we now have over 90 integrations (over 40 new ones).
And that's a wrap. Summer 2021 will be even better! We can't wait for you to see what's coming next.
Ready to see more of Bloomreach? Reach out to schedule a personalized demo with our team and see how much your business can grow.