24 Jul “Unboxing” Oracle Commerce Cloud Release 19B (July 2019)

Welcome to TAISTech’s recurring analysis of Oracle Commerce Cloud (OCC) releases.  In this post, we’d like to focus on the release of 19B.  The 19B and 19-June release serves as an opportunity to bring new and value-adding features to the platform.  

A big change for Oracle recently is the frequency of releases for the platform.  Where it used to be a quarterly cadence, the speed of releases has increased.  From our perspective, as an Oracle Commerce Cloud partner, we see releases every few weeks called “updates”.  At the time of writing the latest version is 19B update 11 (19.3.11).  Once existing OCC customers upgrade to 19B they can leverage these out of the box features to best interact with customers and grow their digital business.

Let’s take a look at the major highlights of the release.

Audience and Personalization: AddThis

Oracle made a purchase of a company called AddThis in 2016.  AddThis focuses on gathering 3rd party data for publisher personalization, audience insights, and other activation tools.  Within Oracle Commerce Cloud customers will be able to use this data to best segment and personalize experiences for anonymous shoppers.  AddThis has over 15 million partner sites in its database and can actively index customers by affinity or interests.  For example, if you own a movie theater or sell to a movie studio, you’d be focused on customers with an affinity to the movie industry.   This powerful new feature is easy to utilize, simply turn on the integration, accept the T&C, and use the features of Audiences to do “anonymous” personalization.  There is no additional fee for using AddThis, all you need is an active OCC License.

Audience and Personalization: Custom Query Parameters

You can now build audiences of shoppers based on either the page in which the shopper lands and/or from the site in which the session was referred from.  In addition, you can match landing pages with URL string matching using UTM parameters commonly found in email newsletters and other marketing programs.  As an example: a customer comes to your storefront by clicking on a link from Facebook.com. You can now tailor the look and feel of your storefront to that particular shopper persona (social media follower). 

Similarly, you can target their landing page. If you run a higher education supply store and they land on a page named “admissions” you can show content related to their customer journey.

Lastly, you can automatically apply promotions or shipping discounts for shoppers coming in from a specific referring site to allow the marketing team to target net new customers.  This is a game-changer of a feature to make a customer’s first impression a strong one tailored to what they care to see.

Catalog: Parent Collection Support

For the sake of usability and customer experience, Oracle has extended the catalog collections to support ‘Default Parent Collections’.   If a product has been returned from a search or direct HTTP URL, the breadcrumb can resolve the navigation taxonomy is a correct fashion and not have to ‘guess’.  This is extremely helpful for sites that utilize a taxonomy or merchandising structure that has a single SKU in many different collections.  If a product or SKU is in multiple collections this new feature will render the parent collection in the breadcrumb on the search results page to give the customer a quick link to the parent collection.

Note: Be careful making adjustments to default collections once you have solidified your URL pattern for collections or products.  Our recommendation is to finalize your URL structure before identifying parent collections.

Publishing: UI Improvements

The new 19B release has reduced some of the bloat of the Publishing workflow within the Admin Console of OCC.  You can now sort by publishing events.  There are options for the sorting are via date modifiers and event names.

For scheduled events, you can now do a type-ahead result search for scheduled event name (see below).  This UI update is important for customers that have many business users in the Admin Console and need a way to quickly understand the proposed changes. 

Additionally, there is a usability fix for the Admin Console to allow you to publish all changes more efficiently.  The ‘publish all changes’ option is usually reserved for hotfixes but allows you to quickly bypass the normal publishing schedule through the newly streamlined publishing dropdown.

Promotions: Flag for Non-Discountable Products

While this could be perceived as a small feature we have seen customers struggle with non-discountable products, especially distributors.  Products and SKUs now have a property that once set as active can keep any SKU from being discounted by an existing or new promotion.  

The workaround before was to set a consistent set of exclusion rules in the promotion, but now you simply set the flag within each product or SKU and promotions will programmatically skip over them as the calculation for promotion is executed. 

Note: The non-discount flag is only used for item and order promotion eligibility.  These items can still have a “sale price” set in the price group/price list.  Additionally, products and will still be included in shipping promotions.

Additional Notable Features

  • Shipping discounts on a shipping group instead of order totals.  This effectively allows a new discount type for items that must ship together e.g. “Spend $50, Get Free Standard Shipping (items must ship together)”
  • Cross-site hreflang support.  For SEO best practices it is required to communicate the locale language for linking language variations if they own the same page content.  E.G.: <link rel=”test” hreflang=”en” href=http://www.taistech.com> and <link rel=”test” hreflang=”es” href=http://www.taistech.com> for a Spanish site.
  • Content and Experience Cloud integration improvements.   Oracle has already released the initial integration to OCEC but has continued to support it with advanced features.  The new features are:
    • Merchants can now enable the integration in the OCC admin by using their existing Oracle Content and Experience Cloud account credentials.  
    • Viewport support has been added for content layout type.  This allows marketers and designers to develop viewport-specific content (e.g. mobile vs desktop)
    • A Sort by Date option has been added for the Content Listing Widget.

If you’d like to learn more about Oracle Commerce Cloud and/or get an in-depth review/demo of the product, how our customers are leveraging the tool or even you are a candidate for Digital Transformation please contact us via our Contact Form.

About the Author:

Mike Cristancho is self-admittedly blessed to lead the Solutions Consulting division of TAISTech, A Mastek Company. As a 13+ year veteran of eCommerce and Digital, he leverages his vast experience to find creative solutions for technical requirements. He is truly passionate about digital enablement and guiding customers through growth. Connect with Mike on Linkedin.

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