Setting Up Active Data for Testing

You should test active data sorting rules as an ongoing maintenance task. Other than A/B testing, most testing takes place either on a Staging or Sandbox instance. This is because the Storefront Toolkit, used to examine search results, is available on Staging and Sandbox systems, but not on Production.

If active merchandising is enabled, then data is automatically imported into Production and Staging instances. However, if active merchandising isn't yet enabled or you want to test on a Sandbox instance, you must import active data to test. Salesforce B2C Commerce provides two files of SiteGenesis data that you can use: products-Sites-SiteGenesis.csv and customers-Sites-SiteGenesis.csv. You can also edit these files to represent your products and import them into the SiteGenesis site. If you do this, you must also add your products to the SiteGenesis site to test.

Getting Active Data into Your Testing Instance

To test active data sorting rules or customer groups before you have enabled active data, you can import an active data file provided with SiteGenesis into your Sandbox. If you have enabled active data for your site, you can download the active data feed from your production instance and import it into your Sandbox.

Note: The active data file, which normally contains data, is collected on the storefront and aggregated by the Merchandising Analytics) process. This file isn't the active data feed file, which is used to feed additional attributes, such as costPrice and returnRate. However, you might also want to create an active data feed file for testing. For information on creating and importing the active data feed file, see Creating Active Data Feeds.

Using SiteGenesis Data to Test

If you want to use sample data from SiteGenesis for initial tests, import the sample active data files provided into B2C Commerce. For more information, see Importing Active Data CSV Files. If you have data from your eCommerce site before moving to B2C Commerce, such as information about sales or page views, you can also use the SiteGenesis .csv files as examples and create your own data file.

Using Data from Your Production Instance to Test

If you want to use data from your production site to experiment with new sorting rules on your sandbox:
  1. Download Active Data from Production to export the active data feed as a .csv file.
  2. Import Active Data .csv files into your sandbox.

Modifying the Active Data Files for Specific Tests

You can edit the SiteGenesis active data file or create a test active data file for your site. If you are using the SiteGenesis storefront to test your rules, you must make sure to use the original names of the files after you edit them. If you are using your own storefront to test, the file you import must follow the naming conventions for active data feeds. The naming conventions are documented in Importing Active Data CSV Files.

Editing the active data File

Salesforce recommends that you use Notepad or another text editor to construct or edit the file. If you use Excel to edit the file, you must then open it in Notepad or another text editor and make sure it conforms to the correct file format, as Excel removes the first blank line, adds commas to the second line, and adds leading zeros to any decimal values. Excel might also change the format of long numbers, such as product IDs.

Although the active data file is in .csv format, it also requires the following formatting:
  • First line must be blank
  • Second line must contain the text: B2C Commerce Product Active Data or B2C Commerce Customer Active Data
  • Third line must contain the name of all active data attributes to be imported in the correct order

Below is an example of the products-Sites-SiteGenesis.csv file that is edited to contain additional data for three wombat products.

Evaluating Active Data

To evaluate active data:
  1. View Active Data Attributes to confirm that your active data imported successfully and view the results for a specific product or customer.
  2. Rebuild the active data index. Select Search > Search Indexes. Select the Activedata Index and click Rebuild. If you don't rebuild the index after importing active data, the active data isn't used in the storefront.
  3. Examine the active data index. Select Search > Search Indexes > Activedata Index. On the Statistics tab you can see all of the indexed values, including any slicing groups for variations.
  4. Use the Storefront Toolkit Search Information Tool to determine how sorting rules are using the active data.

    See the Search Results Window.

Related Links

Checklist for Active Merchandising