Active Merchandising

Active merchandising data is product and customer data that is collected or calculated by Web analytics tools, order management systems, or other third-party systems to improve how you target your customers. The data can be imported from backend systems to feed metrics calculations by Salesforce B2C Commerce. See Active Merchandising Scenarios for some ideas of how you can use active merchandising data and searchandising rules to obtain the information you need.

B2C Commerce is configured to collect order data automatically, with no customization required, such as changes to site configuration, pipelines, or templates. Site traffic data, such as product impressions and product detail view, are only collected if a site uses ISML tags added for that purpose. Those tags are usually necessary on only a few pages and can be added to your site easily.

You can also create custom active data attributes, and import their values into B2C Commerce from customer backend systems using a custom .csv feed file. You can configure the import file format as a feed definition. You can also use the B2C Commerce APIs to customize active data processes.

You might want to use the metrics calculated for active data for additional reporting. The B2C Commerce active data feed .csv file is deposited daily in the global upload location for Business Manager. This folder is accessible from WebDAV like any other impex folder, so you can use WebDAV PUT or GET operations to upload or download the daily .csv file. It isn't possible, however, to change the location of the feed.
Note: Active merchandising data isn't used by the B2C Commerce analytics feature.

B2C Commerce's Merchandising Analytics process collects active data once a day and uses it to calculate additional active data attributes. For example, the average gross margin value is calculated using the average sales price and the cost price. The cost price is imported from a feed file. The average sales price is collected from the storefront.

Note: Because data is only imported into the Production and Staging instances, if you must import additional custom attributes or data onto a Sandbox instance for testing purposes, remember to rebuild the product search index after import.

You can use the collected and calculated active data attributes to define sorting rules and content slots (that reference customer groups) to influence how search results are sorted in your storefront and how promotions are presented to customers.

Automatic Data Collection

B2C Commerce automatically collects data from orders and customer viewing statistics throughout the day from your Production instance. During the night, B2C Commerce aggregates the data so that it's available by 6 AM in the site time zone. The data might be available earlier, depending on the site time zone.

Most of the information collected is near real-time and derived from orders, not static attributes, so that the data used for metrics reflects the data at the time of purchase, rather than data imported at a specific point during the day. Data collected from orders doesn't require any configuration. However, if you want to collect data from the storefront to track customer page views, you must place specific ISML tags in your pages. If your storefront is based on SiteGenesis, these ISML tags are already in place.

This is the process:

  1. Developers add specific tags to your storefront templates that automatically collect data for analytics.
  2. Merchants create import feeds with information about products that are not used on B2C Commerce, such as the cost price of products, which can be used to derive information about which products are most profitable to sell.
  3. Storefront data, such as the number of orders or product page views, is collected by B2C Commerce and sent with imported data to the Merchandising Analytics process for analysis. Feeds pass the data from the collection part of the process to the analysis part of the process.

User login and Sessions

If a customer logs in within a session, all the anonymous activity, such as product views, impressions, categories, and orders, from before the customer logged in is associated with that customer. If multiple customers log in and out within the same session, each activity is assigned to the customer logged in at that time. If a customer scrolls in a carousel, the products viewed as a part of a carousel are recorded as impressions. Each time the customer selects a search refinement, such as changing the price or size of product, B2C Commerce registers a product impression. B2C Commerce also registers a product view for any quickview window that opens.

B2C Commerce Active Data Daily Feed

B2C Commerce processes the product and customer data for a particular day on the Production instance after the end of day for the site, typically after 12:00 AM by the site time. The time to process the data depends on the site size, amount of traffic on a given day, and other factors. When data processing is complete, the Merchandising Analytics process automatically imports the Active Data Daily feed into the Production instance and rebuilds the active data search index for the instance. At 1:00 AM site time, B2C Commerce imports the processed data into the Staging instance and rebuilds the active data search index for the instance. Both the import and index rebuild are handled by B2C Commerce and do not require a job or custom pipeline.
Note: If active merchandising data processing takes more than an hour to complete, it's still imported, even if it takes up to three additional hours. If the processing exceeds three hours, then the data from the previous day (or most recently processed data) is imported into Staging and the index is rebuilt. If this happens consistently, contact Commerce Cloud Support to extend your processing window.
The Active Data Daily feed file is available in the global import directory and accessible via WebDAV for import into sandboxes or for download to external systems.
Note: The data imported into the Staging instance is from the Production instance: no data is collected from the Staging instance.

B2C Commerce Active Data Weekly Feed

On a weekly basis, B2C Commerce processes yearly and lifetime product and customer data for the site. The exact day and time when the processing runs is site-specific. When processing is complete, B2C Commerce automatically imports the Active Data Weekly feed into the Production and Staging instances and rebuilds the active data search index for each instance. Both the import and index rebuild are handled by B2C Commerce and don't require a job or custom pipeline. The Active Data Weekly feed file is available in the global import directory and accessible via WebDAV for sandboxes or for download to external systems.

Custom Active Data Feeds

In addition to the data that is automatically collected from the site, you can also create one or more custom feeds for the returnRate, costPrice, and availableData attributes of the ProductActivedata system object. These values can't be derived, and so must be imported for all metrics to be calculated correctly.

You can create a custom import pipeline that uses the ValidateActiveDataFile and ImportActiveData pipelet. If you use a job to trigger this pipeline, you can import custom active data whenever you want. However, this data is only used to calculate additional metrics once a day by the Merchandising Analytics process.

Related Links

Checklist for Active Merchandising