Here in the Southern Hemisphere the cold weather is arriving. With mid-winter Christmas parties, we can’t help but think ahead to the end of the year. Even though the weather is much warmer in other locations, the holiday season is front of mind for those in e-commerce. At SLI, we are preparing for the peak shopping season with the goal of our clients having the best season yet.
SLI Dynamic Product Banners™ Joins SLI Learning Recommendations™ Family: Dynamic Product Banners™ is now part of the Learning Recommendations™ portfolio of algorithms and is available to all Learning Recommendations clients for no additional charge.
We have seen up to a 50% decrease in bounce rate from clients using Dynamic Product Banners. Dynamic Product Banners reduces bounce rates by showing related products to visitors arriving on product pages from Internet searches and other referrals.
These visitors quickly click back to Google if the featured product isn’t exactly what they are looking for, so showing them more of what you offer can entice them to stay.
Adding Dynamic Product Banners to Learning Recommendations allows our clients to provide a unique experience to organic search visitors that drives engagement and ultimately conversions.
Updated Learning Recommendations Revenue Metric: Learning Recommendations customers can now see revenue attributed to recommendations in the Top Strategies metric. In addition to the number of requests, clicks, clickthroughs and conversion rates, we’ve included the amount of revenue generated by each recommendation strategy. The revenue attributed to recommendations only includes recommended products that were clicked on and then purchased by the visitor.
Improved Notifications for Index Failures: SLI monitors the data feeds uploaded to ensure the quality of data used for your search, and we provide notifications of errors impeding processing. Recently, we improved these notifications to include the type and location of the error, so you can quickly resolve them without needing to contact support.
At SLI, we are committed to delivering your shoppers a best-in-class experience and providing you a deeper understanding of your shoppers. The SLI Commerce Console™ delivers in-depth metrics of the interactions your customers have with the SLI apps on your site. We want to make sure this data gives you the insight you need to improve your business. This month we released the first of a new set of metrics to empower you to understand your site and identify opportunities to improve your merchandising, inventory and marketing efforts. This development was based directly on your feedback; so please send us any of your requests and let us know if you have any questions.
New Search Metrics: This set of metrics breaks down search activity into various types. As a result, you will better understand the various ways your shoppers interact with your site and your search. This includes interactions with the search box, pagination, filtering and selecting changes to display options.
Site Champion Performance & Google Updates: As we all know, the higher your pages rank in Google, the better. SEO experts focus on improving page rankings since it is directly connected to revenue. Google continuously evolves its algorithm with hundreds of updates every year to deliver users the most relevant results. The search engine giant also wants to make sure irrelevant content isn’t bubbling to the top of its results pages.
So far this year, we’ve seen two significant Google updates. One of them, dubbed “Fred,” appeared to target low quality pages. Not surprisingly, these pages experienced a significant decrease in their ranking and traffic.
For many of our SLI Site Champion® customers, the Fred update had a positive effect with marked improvement in page ranking, site visits and revenue generated from visitors. To our knowledge, no Site Champion® clients were affected negatively. Site Champion pages are created based on user behavior and updated daily to optimize the content shown. As such, these pages continue to perform well amidst algorithm changes.
Incremental Feed Updates: We’ve improved the robustness of our incremental feed functionality. As well, there is a new guide available (SLI Support for Incremental Data Feeds) to help you understand this functionality, whether it is right for your implementation and the operating requirements.
Magento 2 extension update: Our most recent update to SLI Learning Search Connect™ extension for Magento 2 includes:
SLI takes great pride in producing search results our clients can rely on to outperform platform, in-house or competitors’ solutions. Site visitors who use search are more likely to convert, which is why we continuously innovate to optimize the experience for these lucrative shoppers.
Lately, we’ve been working to optimize how new products – which the SLI Buyer Engine™ hasn’t yet had a chance to monitor – are shown in search results. Boosting new products within results is already available with SLI Learning Search® and used by some of our customers. We are now enhancing how we define products as “new” and adding more precise control over where new products appear in the result set.
Certificate Manager module: Our new Certificate Manager in the SLI Commerce Console™ makes it easier to implement HTTPS on a subdomain. This module lets you import and manage SSL certificates for your SLI subdomains and kick-start your HTTPS implementation process. Admin users can access this module through the System menu and will receive email notifications when certificates are added, expiring or marked for deletion.
SLI Learning Search Connect™ update for Magento 2: Our latest extension now supports Magento CE and EE versions up to 2.1.5. As part of this update, we also added:
Improving shoppers’ experiences from the moment they arrive on your site continues to be one of our main objectives. Personalization is a powerful way to do this, and it generates a long-term effect past a single sale. It can help you stand out from your competitors, connect with your customers and generate positive word of mouth and loyalty. Online personalization is a trending topic with a wide variety of meanings. Since launching SLI Enhanced Search Personalization (ESP)™ last year, we continue to discuss with our customers how personalization can provide the most impact to their businesses, and we use this feedback to adapt our product offerings.
SLI ESP™ Improvements:
HTTPS Availability: SLI clients on a subdomain implementation can now import their SSL certificates and migrate to HTTPS. The online community is pushing to ensure services are delivered in a more secure manner. Google is actively encouraging sites to move to HTTPS by considering it in its ranking algorithm.
Commerce Console Activity Log: The SLI Commerce Console™ gives you control over the presentation of results and other site elements. Our latest update to the Activity Log makes it easier than ever to track what changes have been made and who made them. This is especially important for large teams or those with changing staff. Now you can filter by module, see what rules have been created or modified, sort by date and view your individual activity. The Activity Log is located under the System menu in the Commerce Console.
SLI Learning Recommendations™ Implementation Guide: An implementation guide for Learning Recommendations™ is now available. It is packed with best practice tips from strategy logic to placement and display to help you get the most out of your recommendations. Please ask your SLI support contact about how to access the guide.
So far, 2017 is all about speed. We know fractions of a second mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce, especially on mobile devices. So we work hard to make sure your pages load fast and with the most relevant results. A slow site can have a larger impact beyond a single shopper’s negative experience and actually impact your SEO. Search engines, such as Google, monitor interaction with your site as a signal of your relevancy, which can affect how you rank for searches – making bounce rates and time on site critical considerations. They also measure and factor in page load speed in their ranking algorithm. Like us, they know speed directly affects the quality of your shoppers’ experience. For all these reasons, we continue to push forward on any speed improvements we can make.
Infrastructure Improvements: We just completed the infrastructure upgrades we began late last year. Now SLI customers worldwide will benefit from improved delivery speed for all of our solutions, which also improves page load speeds. On some client sites, we noticed improvements of up to 50% in page generation times.
HTTP/2: We implemented support for HTTP/2 on our server infrastructure. HTTP is the Internet protocol for transmitting information. SLI clients who already host search on https will automatically see speed improvements for all of our solutions, including Learning Search®, Rich Auto Complete™, Learning Navigation®, Learning Recommendations™ and Site Champion®. To see the type of speed improvements HTTP/2 can deliver, check out http://www.http2demo.io/. Note: this is an independent site not affiliated with SLI.
Landing Page Creator API: Our popular Landing Page Creator™ is now available to our API clients. Landing Page Creator allows retailers to easily curate, promote and move products with drag-and-drop merchandising controls and SEO-friendly URLs. No IT required.
New Tracking Code: Tracking the entire customer journey through checkout is not always a straightforward task, but it’s critical for SLI to be able to use this information in our solutions and report on performance. We’ve streamlined the process for implementing our tracking code and are able to track new events to give you even more insight.
Over the past year our development has followed a core set of themes, guided very much by direct feedback from customers. These include giving clients more direct control over various aspects of our solutions, providing more insight for understanding the performance of your site and how to improve it, and ensuring that we continue to provide a best-in-class search solution.
New Product Launch
Enhanced Search Personalization (ESP): We know personalization is important to our customers, so we created SLI ESP™ to instantly and dynamically personalize the shopping experience for both your first-time visitors and loyal shoppers. It adds contextual personalization to SLI Learning Search® and SLI Learning Navigation®, empowering you to deliver a better customer experience.
Dashboard for the SLI Commerce Console: Designed to let you quickly view and understand the performance of your site and the SLI solution, our dashboard illustrates how much revenue your SLI solutions help generate, how your site visitors interact with the solutions and the performance of search terms on your site.
Recommendations Strategy Tunings: Previously SLI Recommendations™ could be tuned at a SKU level. So for a particular product detail page, you could control what complementary products were shown. With Strategy Tuning, merchandisers can now control a greater variety of recommendation blocks, such as those on the home page or category pages.
Magento Extensions: We revamped and verified our Magento version 1 extension and stayed current with the new Magento 2 release. Magento released several updates in the past year, and we are compatible with all releases.
API Integration: Many customers use the API version of our solutions, and we revamped our documentation and processes to ensure the API is as easy to use as possible. We also released an API for Rich Auto Complete.
Language Support: SLI continues to expand the number of languages we support as our customer base grows. We now support sites in over 20 languages, with Finnish and Arabic being the newest languages added.
Site Champion Controls: A new module has been added to the Commerce Console to let you better monitor and control Site Champion®, our SEO solution for long-tail searches. The Site Champion® module:
Multi-site Support: Businesses with multiple sites can monitor and control each site individually and the entire business as a whole.