Empathy Platform Release Notes

Check out the newest features and enhancements

June 30, 2022

Spring release

Here you’ll find the Spring release 2022 of Empathy Platform, which includes these highlights among other changes:

My History

When dealing with large product catalogues, sometimes shoppers’ journey to a product isn’t a straight one, making it hard to remember which products they found and the search trail several days after. It becomes even more complicated when only a limited number of the most recent searches are shown in the search predictive layer. My History provides your shoppers with a complete list of all their previous searches and helps them to easily find products they liked in the past.

My History allows shoppers to have full control of their history data. They can choose whether they want to turn on or off history data. Search history is only stored locally on the browser storage; it never travels outside of the shopper’s device. If My History is disabled, new queries are no longer stored and the current history is fully cleared.

Search history data is displayed by date. Shoppers only need to scroll down the search history and select the query they were looking for to get to the products they want. They can clear the complete list of history queries or just delete one or more specific queries. Let your shoppers decide when and which search history entries are worth remembering.

Services impacted: Interface X for Android

Accessibility in Interface X

Interface‌‌ X for Web is evolving with accessibility in mind. Web accessibility refers to the practice of building websites that can be used by anyone—be that people with disabilities, a slow connection, outdated or broken hardware, or simply someone in an unfavorable environment. Interface X for Web has been upgraded to include the eslint-plugin-vuejs-accessibility (opens new window) plugin in the Interface X ESLint package (opens new window) for checking accessibility rules in your search UI project.

Now, you can automatically surface any accessibility issues as they pop up when building your search UI with Interface X Archetype and Interface X Components. It’s time to make your commerce search fully compliant with web content accessibility principles!

Services impacted: Interface X for Web

Offering relevant suggestions makes the difference between an average shopping experience and a truly great experience. The Related Tags feature has been enhanced to include a new algorithm for generating organic related tags and a fallback solution to enrich the number of related tags offered.

Until now, organic related tags were calculated based on direct query pairs (two consecutive queries) used in a single shopper session. While this approach increased the specificity of the suggestions generated, it limited any derivations that could be made from shopper behavior, and in short, limited the number of organic related tags generated. The new graph algorithm in the Query Signals batch process results in new relationships between queries that previously weren’t considered, as well as the possibility of wider step size. This means that exploring the entire graph of connections between queries increases significantly the extent of related tags, leading thus to new discoveries for shoppers.

A fallback mechanism has now been introduced in the Beacon API to increase the number of related tags displayed to shoppers. Previously, if there were no organic related tags or curated related tags from the Empathy Platform Playboard for the query, no search refinement suggestions were shown, leading to lower queries per session and less shopper guidance. The new function takes top attributes from contextualization in the event of no organic or curated related tags are available for the query and adds them as enriched related tags.

Services impacted: Beacon API | QuerySignals batch process

Contextualize search with pivots

When talking about truly anonymized search experiences, the Contextualize service is the cherry on top of Empathy Platform. Contextualize allows you to develop dynamic relevance models, based on behavioral patterns, to match your shoppers’ intent.

Up until now, you could use interaction data for each query to discover the most valued product attributes (e.g. the most popular sizes and colors for the query jeans). Now, the Contextualize service has been enhanced to support pivots that narrow data down into even more discrete groups. It means you can now dig even deeper into data and get query context information broken down by a particular pivot, for example, a specific category. Data can now tell you which sizes and colors are the most popular for the category woman, man, or kids, regarding the query jeans. So, the products that match the query and meet your shoppers' preferences will rank higher on the SERP, depending on whether they are for women, men, or kids. In other words, using pivots in the contextualization process translates into an improved product positioning to best align with your shoppers’ intent.

Services impacted: Contextualize service | Contextualize batch process | Search service

Activity Stream: Playboard engagement

Transparency is key to grasping the whole picture, and with the Activity Stream Engagement Metrics, there are no mysteries as to where modifications come from. The Activity Stream shows a complete audit history of all the actions performed by users in your organization in the Empathy Platform Playboard, all in an intuitive interface.

The Activity Stream has been updated to allow you to view, for example, who edited an Equalize configuration last, when a synonym configuration was deleted, and even which Playboard tools are used most.

You can filter engagement metrics by date range, tool, and action. You can explore engagement with Analytics, Insights, Explain, and Play tooling, viewing the number of interactions and views of each tool or data visualization. What’s more, you can use the search box to quickly pinpoint actions performed by specific users or in given tools.

All actions are listed in the stream, giving you concrete data on the who, when, and what. In other words, discover who performed the action, the type of action, the time when it was done, and more importantly, the attribute or attributes that have been changed. Greater transparency over your merchandising tools means greater control over your search and discovery experience!

Services impacted: Playboard | Play user service | Play service

Query Ranking enhancements

Query Ranking is the core of the Merchandiser’s toolkit. So what better way to empower merchandisers than to level up its performance!

When it comes to the online search experience, speed is of the essence. Previously, merchandisers could only boost or bury products one by one from the Preview grid, slowing down their response to changing shopping/merchandising conditions. With Quick Boosting, merchandisers can now boost or bury multiple products at the same time, choosing specific filters and schedules that apply to all the products in the selection. Merchandisers can then select a date and filters in the Preview grid to get a snapshot of the product ranking in the search experience on the date selected.

For greater control over the ranking experience, merchandisers can now limit query ranking configurations by role. Until now, permissions to access the feature were determined at a global level for all users, meaning that any user with access to the feature could add, edit, or delete a query ranking configuration. By turning on the Restricted switch, merchandisers can now lock specific configurations so that only users with the same level of permissions or the admin can make changes to existing query ranking configurations.

Services impacted: Playboard | Play user service | Play service

Performance by Category

As a merchandiser, you need to know the most clicked products for a category to detect any possible downward trends in product performance before they happen so you can take action quickly.

The Insights Performance by Category data viz displays queries by category in an interactive tree map. You can explore the query breakdown by subcategories, quickly identify the top search terms for the category, and see the category’s performance for each query in terms of findability and add-to-cart. What’s more, you can download the data for any category for reporting purposes.

Services impacted: Playboard | Statistics service

The search experience is not the only way for shoppers to reach out for the products they are looking for. Navigation is indeed a powerful tool! So, aren’t you curious about how the discovery experience is performing in your commerce store? Now, you can access browsing-related data and analytics with the new Navigation Metrics tool.

The new analytics tool in the Empathy Platform Playboard’s Discovery tab displays the top product categories in your commerce store in an interactive tree map. You can analyze product categories based on views, average click position, interactions, findability, add-to-cart, and checkout. What’s more, switch to the Table view to see the metrics for all product categories and download an effective analytics report. Use Navigation Analytics to truly optimize your shoppers’ discovery experience and meet your business needs at a time!

Services impacted: Playboard | Statistics service

Configuration Management Console

By empowering Empathy partners to extend the platform beyond the core functionality to respond to the market’s requirements, Empathy Platform allows brands to craft personalized search and discovery experiences.

The Configuration Management Console (CMC) is the first step to allowing partners to build a tailored solution. The no-code experience tool lets partners configure and set up the Empathy Platform instance, including the individual microservices such as the Tagging and Search microservices, the Playboard, and the Conversational services.

Partners can request a new instance for a client directly from the Empathy Platform Playboard, configure the data that the Tagging microservice will receive from the frontend, and view the settings used to calculate reporting metrics such as queries, clicks, add-to-carts, and keywords. They can personalize the Playboard with the brand identity, set up the Playboard to connect to the Search microservice, and choose the features to be used. They can determine how the Conversational services generate suggestions, and build the entire configuration of the Search service from scratch.

Services impacted: Playboard | Play service | Search plugin | Search service | QuerySignals batch process | Empathize batch process | Contextualize batch process | Statistics batches | Tagging service

X Adapter & X Adapter for Platform

Every search ecosystem needs a UI for a successful conversation between shoppers and the search engine. This conversation happens thanks to a search adapter that connects the frontend components to any API to retrieve search data. That’s why the search adapter has been revamped to support Empathy Platform out of the box. Now, the search adapter is Empathy Platform ready!

Two search adapter libraries are available: X Adapter and X Adapter for Platform. If you are implementing the full Empathy Platform ecosystem, you use the X Adapter for Platform to connect the Interface X Components with the Empathy Platform microservices. But if you want to use the Interface X Components with any other search API, you need the X Adapter.

The adapter is divided into different pieces to reduce the bundle size: one piece per endpoint. The bundle now includes just the components and endpoint connections you need. What’s more, the adapter has been refactored to allow mapping functions based on schemas. In other words, you now can easily configure the adapter according to your requirements.

Services impacted: Interface X for Web

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