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Release 2022.R1 – Catalog Performance

Overview

Our most significant update in this release focuses on increased performance and result relevancy for catalog searches.  We achieved this by creating a new search engine, as well as adding further cache optimization techniques for product and pricing data.

We discussed this update in more detail within our latest webinar, which you can find below:

[Link to Webinar]

Preface

The performance upgrade feature is turned off by default if your site is updated to version 2022.R1 or beyond.  Before you turn this feature on, you should be aware of the algorithmic changes made to the search logic and the capabilities you have to change those settings.

We will also discuss our cache improvements to speed up search results, what data is cached with this update, and how you can refresh cached data if data changes do not show up as quickly as you expect.

First we’ll discuss known tradeoffs when this option is turned on for faster and more relevant search results.

Tradeoffs

As we work to make improvements to our Search API, there are known tradeoffs with this option turned on that are listed below:

  • Delay in data updates
    • Data changes will take longer to show up on your site’s search results and product detail pages
    • Cache optimizations allow for faster delivery of product data to customers browsing your site.  With caching turned off, performance would trend downwards based off the high-volume of data used to run search queries.
    • We discuss this further in the “Caching” section below
  • If you have customizations on the search results or product detail pages, there may be associated work to include them when this option is turned on
    • for example:
      • Any fields displayed, or used, that are not listed in the below default settings section will require custom development to include
      • Modifying the algorithm for searching requires an estimate from our professional services team

User Experience Improvements

What are the improvements?

  • Faster delivery of product data
  • More relevant search results

What is the expected improvement on catalog search with this turned on?

  • Through our internal testing, we have found a 25% – 45% decrease in load time for catalog pages
    • Please note: Each site carries their own specific configuration and customizations that could sway you from achieving similar levels of performance gain.
      • For example, customer-specific pricing, classic live SOLR configurations, or third party search services may not see a similar performance gain.

What does more relevant results mean?

  • Customers will be able to find the products they are searching for more accurately.  You may find that the number of results returned with this option turned on is less than the option turned off; however, the results returned will be more relevant to the keywords entered for their search.

Algorithm Changes

What has changed?

  • Replaced internal search logic
  • Focus on high-relevancy items through user keywords, and an omission of low-relevancy items
  • Sequence of items in results could be different

What are the default settings?

  • Fields searched:
    • sku
    • nm
    • ds
    • search_terms
    • searchfield1
    • searchfield2
    • searchfield3
    • searchfield4
    • searchfield5
    • Parent/Child Data
      • child_skus
      • child_nms
      • child_rollup_search_terms
    • Alias Data
      • sku_alias
      • nm_alias
      • ds_alias

Caching

Caching pre-processes data temporarily to make it faster to retrieve data by the user; however, there is an increase in time to reflect data changes in the database (e.g. changing a product name or price in your ERP will take longer to display to the end-user).

What is cached for SOLR indexing?

  • Product Data, including:
    • Inventory Data
    • Product Account History Data
    • Faceted Search Data
  • Pricing Data (customer-specific pricing)

How often is the above data cached?

  • Internal search engine crawls and caches every 60 minutes
  • Up to a 60 minute delay for catalog data changes to appear in searches

How can I refresh the cache if data is not updating quickly enough?

  • currently we do not have an option in the worker portal to refresh the cached data in this update, but this will be available in a future update
  • If you would like to modify the cache refresh rate, please submit a ticket to Extranet

How to Turn this Feature On

CIMCloud is turning this on manually on a case by case basis currently.  Once we release 2021.R2, there will be a new feature within the Application Settings of your worker portal to allow you to toggle this feature on/off.

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