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Unpacking Oracle Commerce Cloud 19B: What's new? It's all about you (personalization)

July 18, 2019

by

Rohit Nallapeta

Oracle Commerce Cloud 19B is here, so let’s unpack this release and see what’s new. The key highlight for me in this entire release was the fact that it was all about personalization. Oracle has decided to bring to the forefront the personalization aspects that were missing in the cloud platform.


Let’s dig through some of these features in the order which we see is significant for merchants:


Custom Query Parameters: With custom query settings you have the ability to craft a customized experience for anonymous as well as signed-in users. The key to better conversion has been to maintain a consistent campaign experience. Custom look and feel throughout the website, in line with a campaign is a best practice technique for better conversions. While a part of this feature set was done in 19A through UTM parameters, this may not have worked for everyone. In the custom query setting, you, the merchant, now have the capability to pass on that external context. All of this is done through URL parameters that you can set via the admin console entry page setting. You can use any custom parameter that is very in synch with your campaigns e.g. SHOP20, SUMMER SALE etc.


This allows the user-driven through that URL to be a part of that audience group for the duration of that shopping session. The merchants can also automatically apply discounts for these audiences without them having to remember a coupon or promo code. It’s a seamless end-user experience.



Audience building through referring site: Additionally this parameter also has some referring URL site references. If you were to partner with an affiliate site or partner site there’s now an opportunity to customize the web experience for this promotion. This experience again is limited to a session, but provides a huge advantage on dynamic audience building and customize experiences for them.



When to use: Typically used for email campaigns, PPC campaigns, Affiliate partnership, affiliate marketing promotions -  anywhere you acquire traffic and new users from.

 

AddThis Personalization: Addthis integration is integration to Addthis product from Oracle, which is a social bookmarking experience and is dominant in capturing user interests across 15 million web properties. Addthis continues to index user interests across many sites and is able to create audience interest profiles. This integration, when enabled on Oracle Commerce automatically shows in the admin console. The single most important highlight of this integration is that it prevents the cold-start problem. When a new prospective customer visits your site, you’re still able to personalize this experience, because of the data from interests profile.


This feature is however available only in the USA and not available in Europe due to GDPR restrictions.


The next important feature we’d like to explore is that of promotions, without much further ado, here’s what it’s all about:


Shipping discounts via PMDL (API only): Shipping discounts are often the deal sweeteners offered to an end customer to consummate a deal. Sometimes these discounts come at a cost when you have customer ordering multiple things across different addresses. In such cases the merchant has more cost due to multiple shipping addresses but still needs to discount the entirety of it.  Now with the new features, as a merchant, you can now offer discounts by shipping group total i.e. if you’ve got a bunch of items being shipped to a certain address, then you can offer a discount to only items shipping to a certain address. This way the merchant can still offer a deal sweetener without causing a loss of margin on this promotion for the merchant. 


This opens up the merchant for “Ships together” discount format that’s common across so many sites, also offers the merchants to create “Buy X conditions on certain items, or Buy Y$ worth of goods belonging to a certain category, etc”.


This feature is now available via PMDL protocol and through API only.

Default parent collection: API support -  I believe this is a long-overdue feature that we’ve all been waiting for. As to the feature, it’s very self-explanatory from the changes published as below:


“Oracle Commerce Cloud now includes API only support for setting up a default parent collection both per catalog and per product. Specifically, it supports setting up:

  • A default parent collection per catalog for linked collections which are visible in more than one catalog or collection.
  • A default parent collection per product for linked products which are visible in more than one catalog or collection.”


The real use for this feature is to be able to use the breadcrumb functionality. It is hard for merchants with multiple catalogs, sites, etc where the challenge is associating collections with default parent collection per catalog, without which it became non-navigable via the breadcrumb.According to the feature elaboration published from Oracle “Default parent collections are also used to properly attribute product and category views to parents for reporting and personalization purposes” and we quite agree.


When you do enable the feature it’s important to remember and set server-side 301 redirects to the old URLs under different collections in order to tell Google to index the new URL formed by this association.


Publishing:  Publishing has some new updates which include the ability to publish a selected set of events, filtered events from a change list and all change items. These controls previously were not intuitive and have been remedied. There are other changes like better search for events in the publishing console to review, all of which are minor UI usability improvements.


Cross-site hreflang Support: The single most important advantage of arranging the hreflang tags are to organize site by site language and region support groups. But this feature is also a way to communicate to Google the number of language options that the site has.


If I were to summarize the importance of this release, it’s all about the audience-building based on URL, referrer site, custom experience due to campaigns and advanced shipping discount options. I would look at 19B June release as a big step towards personalization and marketing focused release.


For detailed release notes please check out Oracle’s release notes in the customer connect section. If you’d like to implement any of these features or talk to us about how to leverage this then feel free to schedule time with us.


About the Author

Rohit (Roy) Nallapeta heads pre-sales consulting for Object Edge. Previously he has held various positions as a product manager, delivery lead and business analyst at Object Edge. His experience spans retail, banking, healthcare, and eCommerce areas. He contributes to this blog on subjects of eCommerce, retail and technology trends.


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