Product Grid Merchandising - Bloomreach Experience - Open Source CMS

Product Grid Merchandising

Product Grid

A product grid is the collection of products displayed on your site, such as when a visitor runs a search. Bloomreach algorithmically selects and ranks products in your product grid. You can further refine your product grid with Bloomreach merchandising tools, which help you control which products appear in the grid and in what order.

Product Ranking

Bloomreach’s ranking considers many different signals to predict how to order products. We determine which products will drive revenue for a given shopper and page on the site. Among other things, the rankings on a page are based on this forecasted ability of the product to generate revenue. As the page owner, however, there might be reasons for which you want certain products to rank higher in the results, such as an upcoming promotion, campaign, or stock levels. These reasons might not be factored into the Bloomreach default ranking.

Boost and Bury

Boosting and burying products are methods for changing the sequence of products displayed in a product grid. When you boost a product, you boost its position closer to the top of search results. Similarly, burying a product pushes it closer to the bottom of search results. 

Bloomreach offers several merchandising tools to influence product ranking. Hard boosting and burying pushes products all the way to the top or to the bottom of search results. Soft boosting and burying is similar, but not as strong. A soft boost is appropriate when you want to give a more subtle prominence than a hard boost to products with certain attributes. It's a question of degrees: how prominent do you want a particular product or set of products to be in a set of search results? Do you need them to occupy the first row? Second row? Or is the first page sufficient?

Tip
The strength of an attribute's boost or bury is on a continuum. You use a slider to assign a weight to your boost or bury. The higher the weight, the stronger the boost or bury. A boost/bury of 100 is referred to as a "hard boost" or "hard bury", which means that the applicable products would be boosted all the way to the top of the results or buried all the way to the bottom.
color groups

Soft boosting/burying based on categorical attributes
Categorical product attributes (e.g. color = "black", brand = "prada") provided in the feed can be used to boost or bury the applicable products with those attributes.

Soft boosting based on numeric attributes
Numeric product attributes (e.g. profit margin = "0.05", inventory = "15") provided in the feed can also be used for soft or hard boosts. Note: bury is not supported for numeric attributes.

Before you apply any ranking rules, Bloomreach determines a score for products based on each product's forecasted ability to generate revenue using data gathered from the Bloomreach pixel on your site. When you boost a product or products with specific attributes, an additional score (relative to the strength of the applied boost) is added to the products original ranking score which causes it to be displayed more prominently in ranking.

Note : We don't support Ranking operations (Boost/Bury/Product Slots) for "*" query (which refers to all the products in the feed/catalog)

Handling SKU Based Attributes

Currently, for any product, the dominant SKU attributes are mapped as the default for that PID. For example, if PID1 has 3 SKUs SK1, SK2, SK3 and if SK1 is the dominant SKU for PID1, the attributes of SK1 is mapped to the PID1 which is then allowed for faceting/merchandising etc.

If I boost or bury a product, does Bloomreach ignore its algorithms and product performance data?

Generally, no. Boosting or burying a product customizes its position in the product grid by influencing its rank. When you boost a product, Bloomreach increases the product's score, pushing it closer to the beginning of search results. Bloomreach doesn't ignore the product's performance data. Your boost or bury rule is just another signal that is used by the search algorithms to determine the final order of products in the grid.

HandbagThe only exception is if you give a product a hard boost or hard bury, indicating that you want to override Bloomreach's algorithms completely and guarantee that the hard boosted product appears at the top of search results.

For example, Tiger Talk is a designer of women's fashion accessories, including handbags. Their latest handbags are underperforming. Bloomreach's algorithm pushes these products lower in search results, allowing higher performing products prominence. You can use a soft boost to bring Tiger Talk's underperforming handbags a little higher in search results. Alternately, you can give specific handbags a hard boost to put it at the top, giving it prominence over Tiger Talk's handbags from last season.

Does Bloomreach's algorithm override a product's hard boost rule?  What about for soft boost?

No.  A hard boost wins all the time.  As for soft boost, Bloomreach scores are calculated daily for metrics like revenue prediction. As such, it's possible that a different product might be in the first position of the product grid if you have soft boosted. Here are common reasons for this change:

  • The product's base score lowers because the product isn't performing well.
  • Another product's revenue forecast increases strongly enough to pass the former top product despite the soft boost. 

To prevent a product from being "overtaken," you have the option to lock a boosted or buried product in place.

How do I boost and bury products?

To boost and bury products, you can apply ranking rules. These rules can be applied directly to specific products or can be based on certain product attributes.

Boost and position lock your first product walks you through a scenario in which a digital merchandiser boosts a specific product. If this is your first time ranking products, then that's a good walkthrough for you. After that, boost attributes is a good place to learn how to boost products based on their attributes. The primary difference between product boosts and attribute boosts is that a product boost applies only to specific products. An attribute boost affects all products with a characteristic or set of characteristics that you specify when you create the ranking rule.

Burying products works the same way as boosting products, but the effect is to lower the ranking of affected products.

Blacklisting

Some sites offer products that they don't necessarily want to show for particular search queries. Merchandisers can create blacklist rules to exclude these products from search results for specific queries.

Blacklist rules come in two forms: a search term rule and a global rule. A search term blacklist rule affects only search results for specific queries, meaning blacklisted products would not appear only for those specific queries. A global blacklist rule affects all search results on the entire site, meaning blacklisted products would not appear at all regardless of the search query.

How do I blacklist a product?

There are two options to blacklist:

  • Blacklisting products from search terms gives you the steps for creating a search term rule to blacklist a product. 
  • Blacklisting products globally gives you steps for creating a global rule to blacklist a product. Both of these articles provide examples to help you decide when it's appropriate to blacklist products and which rule is best for your own scenarios.

What happens when merchandising rules conflict?

To understand how to handle conflict in rules and the order of priority, go to Conflict Resolution page. 

Real-time Merchandising Rules Sync 

The merchandising rules that you set on the Bloomreach dashboard syncs almost instantly on your live site. 

The rules sync happens in real-time and you can see the status instantly changing to “green” in the Sync column of the rules listing page. 

To view the Sync status, 

  1. Go to Merchandising > Tools (Ranking)
  2. On the Search Ranking Rules, view the status under the column Sync. Given below is an example of the same:

Note: This change doesn't apply to Synonyms and Autosuggest. Though Autosuggest syncs real time, we don't have Sync status added for Autosuggest.

Sync Rule Statuses

While the sync status should instantly show in “green” (provided all the rules are set properly), you could also see any one of the following statues depending on the progress of the synching activity:

Sync Color

Status Implied

Green

Success

Yellow

Pending Sync/queued

Grey

Rule expired/scheduled

Red

Sync failed

The Sync status is independent of the Enable ON/OFF selection so irrespective of the rule being enabled or not, the sync status will show the sync progress. Therefore, a rule that is marked OFF can also show Sync “green” if the rule has been successfully synced and saved by Bloomreach. The exception is for scheduled rules for which the sync status will appear only after the scheduled time starts (between the window of 1 sec - 5 mins).
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