The second release of SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced updates for 2019 has come. And let us tell you, it’s chock-full of neat enhancements, improvements, and new features. Get ready to improve all aspects of your webstore operations, from the back-end to shopper experience.
Let’s review the most important ones, shall we? The most significant improvements apply to these SCA Commerce Applications:
1. Commerce Platform Enhancements
a. Grouping items using item collections
Item collections are a new, flexible way of grouping catalog items. Item collections let you:
- Add an item to many item collections.
- Include items in item collections based on different criteria (e.g., vendor, location, product type, or price).
- Select the items in the collection manually or using mass updates.
NetSuite has other methods of grouping catalog items. For example, commerce categories and merchandise hierarchies. But these have specific purposes, and they have limited use.
In contrast, item collections are a general-purpose way of grouping catalog items. Some essential ways they differ from existing grouping methods are:
- Unlike commerce categories, item collections do not have a hierarchical structure. They don’t affect navigation menus on web stores and can be used in NetSuite as well as on web stores.
- An item can appear on many item collections, unlike merchandise hierarchies.
- Unlike item groups, item collections cannot define a count of component items. They cannot be used to sell many items as one item, either.
b. Personalized Catalog Views
The PCV feature enables businesses to provide different customers with access to different items. You can divide customers into groups and provide each group with access to a tailored selection of catalog items.
PCV is useful in many scenarios, particularly for B2B websites. For example:
- Businesses can grant VIP customers exclusive access to specific catalog items.
- Retailers licensed to sell certain products in limited geographies can prevent customers from other geographic locations from seeing those items.
- Manufacturers that need customers to be certified to purchase specific items can ensure only certified customers have access to those items.
To put in place PCV:
- Enable the Personalized Catalog Views feature on the Enable Features page.
- Segment your customers into groups.
- Segment inventory items into groups.
- Make item segments visible to customer segments.
c. Customer Segmentation
In PCV, groups of customers are called customer segments. PCV supports the following customer segments:
- Customer Groups – these segments are created using the existing entity groups feature.
- Anonymous Users – this segment comprises those website visitors who are not logged in and whom the website cannot recognize in any way. For example, through active or expired session data or browser cookies.
- Recognized and Logged-In Users – this segment comprises logged-in visitors or users whom the website can recognize. For example, by using session data or browser cookies.
- All Users – this segment comprises all visitors to the website. Regardless of whether the visitors belong to another customer segment or not. By default, all items are visible to all users.
d. Item Segmentation
Like customer segments, in PCV, groups of items are called item segments. PCV supports the following item segments:
- Item Collections – you can add specific items to an item collection either manually or by using a mass update. Using item collections does not affect the navigation menu on your website.
- Commerce Categories – these enable you to create a hierarchical structure of product categories, subcategories, and products for display on your website. If you use commerce categories to organize and display products on your website, you can also use them in PCV to display specific commerce categories to selected customer segments. Commerce categories used in PCV are automatically hidden from a customer segment if none of the items in the commerce category (or its subcategories) should be available to that customer segment.
e. Defining Item Segment Visibility
After you define the customer segments and item segments, you need to define which item segments are visible to which customer segments. The Customer Segments Manager enables you to define these mappings in a single location. You can also define item segment visibility from a customer group record or an item collection record.
The Customer Segments Manager gives you an overview of all the item segments you have mapped to different customer segments. You can create and edit the mappings on this page. You can also use the Customer Segments Manager to define whether items not mapped to any of the selected customer segments should be visible to or hidden from all users.
f. Verifying Item Segment Visibility
There are two methods to verify that the correct items are visible to the correct customers:
- Reports – the following SuiteAnalytics Workbooks let you view:
- Items by Customer – select a customer and view all items they can access.
- Customers by Item – select an item and view all customers who can access it.
- You can also set up your own SuiteAnalytics workbooks if you need a different view of the data.
- Preview – Website administrators can use Site Management Tools to preview which categories and items are visible to different customer segments.
g. Website Inactivation
Website administrators sometimes need to make a website permanently inaccessible. However, other NetSuite records may be dependent on that website, making the website record impossible to delete. It may also be necessary to keep all database references to the inactive website.
From 2019.2 onwards, it is possible to inactivate a website without deleting the website record. An inactive website is no longer accessible to users but retains its internal references to other areas of NetSuite.
Inactivating a website:
- Makes all website domains inaccessible.
- Deletes the website search index and clears all caches, including CDN caches.
- Reduces the number of active websites, thereby freeing up a site license.
- Removes inactive sites from all related dropdowns and lists. Inactive sites can only be found using saved searches and filters.
h. Mandatory Migration from Web Store Email Templates and Customized Text Groups to System Email Templates
SuiteCommerce 2018.2 introduced System Email Templates for web store email to replace the less flexible and customizable Web Store Email Templates and Customized Text Groups for emails. A conversion tool was provided to assist in the conversion of legacy email templates to system email templates.
As of 2019.2, the use of System Email Templates is mandatory for web store emails. It is no longer possible to use Web Store Email Templates and Customized Text Groups for emails. If your Web Site Setup record shows the selection of either of these at the time of the upgrade, custom system email templates will create automatically. –taking into account your current selections.
The Web Site Setup record automatically selects these custom system email templates to ensure that templates are available for your web store emails. We advise you to control that the converted templates are working as expected as soon as possible, to minimize any disruption.
i. Separation of Commerce Offerings
From 2019.2 onwards, you can enable one or more of the following Commerce offerings from the Enable Features page. Only Commerce offerings available in your account appear on the page.
- SCA (SuiteCommerce Advanced)
- SuiteCommerce InStore
If you are already using any of these products, the 2019.2 upgrade enables the corresponding features in your account.
j. Browser Cache Management
In 2019.1 and earlier, browser caches would retain data for 7 days. It meant that returning website visitors continued to see old content even after refreshing the CDN cache.
The introduction of browser cache management in 2019.2 improves the likelihood that website visitors see the latest content. This feature ensures that website visitors retain website data in their browser caches for a maximum of two hours. After two hours, the website data in the browser cache automatically expires.
Visitors who return to the website more than two hours after their last visit must, therefore, request new data from the CDN cache. If the static data in the CDN cache is manually or automatically refreshed within these two hours, the visitors receive the new website content from the CDN cache.
2. Commerce Applications Enhancements
a. Target versions for Themes and Extensions
Theme and Extension developers can now specify compatibility with specific releases of SuiteCommerce, SuiteCommerce Advanced, or SuiteCommerce InStore.
The Theme and extension Developer tools now include prompts to specify a Target Version. This prevents site managers from accessing incompatible themes and extensions on their site.
b. Configuration Changes
Category Navigation Menu Level Deepness: This field specifies how many levels of the category hierarchy to show in the Categories navigation menu.
Exclude Empty Categories: This field enables or disables the Exclude Empty Categories feature.
Show Categories Navigation Menu: This field enables or disables the Categories navigation menu.
Side Menu > Sort By: This field specifies the Category record field to act as the primary sort field in the Categories sidebar. This is set to a sequence number by default. In this case, the sidebar categories sort by the sequence number set in NetSuite.
Side Menu > Collapsible: This field specifies if the Categories side menu is collapsible and expandable.
Side Menu > Show Max: This field specifies the maximum number of categories to show in the list before displaying a Show More link. The default is 5.
Side Menu > Collapsed: This boolean specifies if the Categories sidebar collapses when the page loads. The default is to appear expanded.
c. Architectural and Developmental Changes
2019.2 has introduced a significant change to the structure of the core commerce code bundles. In short, it introduces three new technologies:
- TypeScript (including ES6+ support via transpiling)
- SuiteScript 2.0
- SuiteCloud Development Framework (SDF)
d. Extensibility API Updates
With the 2019.2 release of SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced, the Visual component includes two new methods to show and hide messages (showMessage() and closeMessage()) in the notification area of a Commerce web store page.
e. Code changes to support APM
The new source code includes instrumentation to make webstore performance data available through Application Performance Management (APM). This addition allows users to view basic website performance metrics and identify the root cause of slow performing websites.
3. Site Management Tools Links Portlet
A new Site Management Tools Portlet lets you see all your available websites and domains from your administrator account in NetSuite on your home dashboard.
Previously, when logged into Site Management Tools, to access NetSuite, you had to open a new tab or window, manually log in, and choose your role. The 2019.2 release lets you access NetSuite with your site administrator role seamlessly.
When logged in to Site Management Tools, click the Oracle NetSuite image in the upper-left corner of the header. It opens a new window or tab, that is automatically logged in to NetSuite with the same role used to log in to Site Management Tools.