Adobe announced that Adobe Search & Promote’s end-of-life (EOL) is scheduled for September 1, 2022. The company mentioned a yet-to-be-released Search & Promote replacement called “Magento Live Search”, but no details regarding the features and functionality of the ecommerce-based solution have been announced in kind.
If you are a current Adobe customer, you have two options: you can wait for the new solution or begin evaluating Adobe Search & Promote alternatives. This is an opportunity to refine your strategy and move beyond simple search to personalized, engaging digital experiences that delight both your customer and employees.
For those evaluating an Adobe Search & Promote alternative, we’ve put together a checklist of ten key considerations to help you identify and select a new solution that best fits your needs and scales for future visions.
1. Search Use Cases Across Your Business
- Universal search including product, content and user generated content, multimedia, files, and custom data structures you define
- Browse and navigational use cases including, but not limited to, categories and landing pages
- Site search and crawlers that also elevate data enrichment use cases
- Customer service & support use cases to aid in call deflection and agent effectiveness
- Both B2C and B2B commerce experiences, incorporating custom catalogs, pricing models, and inventory rules
- Conversational AI use cases including NLP, chatbots, voice search, product finders and configurators
- Enterprise search use cases that source from thousands of content types to support informational search, transactional search, people search, location search, file search, and more
- Search in all languages including multi-byte not limited to single byte
- An easy-to-implement framework that manages SEO and advanced SEO strategies
- Orchestration and connectivity to all interactions from typeahead, faceted search, browse, recommendations, messaging, content, landing pages – across all touchpoints in the user journey.
2. Machine Learning and Data Science
Applied AI is a vital differentiator to dig into when shopping for a new search platform. The level of sophistication is important and as machine learning methodologies mature and create more opportunities for streamlined automation, staying at the cutting edge will set you apart as you replatform. Having a platform that incorporates data science directly and makes it actionable is key. Things to look for include:
- Signal-based relevancy, entity extraction, data science toolkit integration
- ML-based head-tail analysis, automatic query rewriting, and synonym learning and detection
- Vector-based search which solves traditional problems in Adobe Search & Promote, such as cold starts and zero results
- Natural Language Processing and voice-to-text support to enhance the modern shopping and employee experiences
- Openly integrate analytic and signal data with any analytic or tag manager vs. being limited to mostly Adobe.
- Enterprise signal and context integration that goes beyond clickstream analytics but includes signals from all channels, both online and offline to drive more connected experiences
3. Orchestration and Administration
Experiences in search these days still require a significant amount of manual effort and human tuning and testing. Automating these manual processes will help future-proof your company. Look for things like:
- Insights led approaches incorporating actionable analytics to build your experiences
- Programmatic controls for low level contextual relevance and rank tuning
- Access control in the UI for non-technical users to tune rules and outputs
- Custom data structures and flexible data ingestion support
- Job management and scheduling
- Pre-and-post query pipelines built to insert custom processes
- Search logging and diagnostics including automatic search quality analysis
- Index & collections management, including reporting on data quality
- Query rules management, including rewrite, boost, bury, block, pin, and custom logic through scripting
- Page level experience management including custom reusable templates and zones
- Custom services and endpoints to support various touchpoint-specific use cases.
The world of ecommerce demands that merchandisers constantly update and refresh product catalogs to meet seasonal and brand requirements. Without the help of an intuitive and easy-to-use tech stack, the merchandiser can be overloaded with manual curation that requires the support of technical staff. Be sure to shop for a search platform that can:
- Provide merchandisers with real time engagement insights
- Provide a rich-in-context visual merchandising interface with drag and drop functionality
- Aid in lowering the number of manual rules using machine learning so merchandisers can focus on strategy (ex. manage by exception vs. the rule)
- Integrate into a multitude of experience management and CMS tools without vendor lock-in (such as Adobe, etc.)
The false promise of personalization is a thing of the past; with sophisticated data science and the alignment of customer signals across sources, customers can now have a digital journey that is solely their own. While some technology vendors are still playing catch up in this department, you’ll know that your new platform is administering the latest in personalization if the machine:
- Uses customer profiles to drive personalized experiences across sessions and to drive 1:1 engagement
- Provides segmentation and audience-based rules to drive curated experiences
- Integrates with existing customer data, marketing and CRM platforms to drive a more seamless experience across the customer lifecycle
- Applies contextual personalization which goes beyond the individual and incorporates situational data
- Activates predictive personalization algorithmically organized by intent, semantic extraction, and signals to drive an in-the-moment experience
6. Diverse Deployment Options
How a platform is set up within existing infrastructure is unique from company to company. Having options for deployment is key as it allows companies to be flexible in the implementation process. Because most companies, in their transition to being digital-first, still have some diverse deployment needs, it’s important that vendors can support the following:
- Cloud and on-prem hybrid deployments
- Cloud-agnostic architecture support
- Microservices and headless models that can support virtually any experience
- Modular approaches that allow you to deploy on a solution-by-solution basis, especially when there are needs for testing and experimentation
It goes without saying that data security is likely one of the key drivers of your decisions to choose a search platform. Best-in-class search vendors will always have the following data assurances:
- Supported compliance certifications including HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA and more.
- Granular access control at a user level to restrict certain individuals from particular data sets, such as specific product attributes in a catalog
- Customer lists that include logos in highly secure verticals such as finance, government, and healthcare.
8. Built-in Digital Experience Features
On top of the basics, it’s always a value add to have additional features that future-proof a platform and allow for the creation of experiences that delight customers and go beyond expectations. Some additional nice-to-haves that you should look for include:
- Personalized recommendations & suggestions
- Chatbot connectivity powered by AI
- Searchandising beyond the standard use cases
- Experience management
- Hyper-personalized email marketing powered by search data
- Mobile data connectivity for an omnichannel experience
- Omnichannel experiences that connect in-store insights with online engagement
9. Architectural Considerations
Last but not least, it’s essential that the back end of your new search platform is powerful enough to handle all of the growing needs of your experiences. There’s a lot to think about in this department but here’s a few boxes you can check with confidence to ensure you’re making the right decisions:
- Look for scalability using distributed architecture with built in elasticity that maintains performance and failover through your traffic peaks
- Supports large scale indexes in tens of millions and processing performance in minutes vs. hours
- Supports incremental indexing for near real-time use cases
- Choose a vendor whose search technology is their core business vs. one of a multitude of solutions and acquisitions within a broader tech stack
- Choose a vendor that can help you unify multiple platforms, so you can standardize on a single unified engine across your enterprise Eliminate vendor lock-in by using a vendor-agnostic solution
- Eliminate platform lock-in by using a solution built for open integration, reducing migration challenges
- Ensure the vendor has an extensive library of connectors and enterprise integration capabilities to provide additional back-office data points
- Look for federated search that goes beyond just product and crawl and can index over 300+ file types
10. Move Beyond Simple Search to Improve the Entire Commerce and Customer Experience
Keep in mind the considerations above to modernize your digital experience and enrich your customer journey. A potential Adobe Search & Promote alternative is Lucidworks Fusion.
Fusion improves, expands, and modernizes on all the capabilities of Search & Promote while also going beyond the standard browse, navigation, and recommendations that the Adobe solutions provide. Fusion connects data and applies machine learning across the entire commerce journey from acquisition to conversion while also unlocking insights from the customer service and employee experiences — all from a unified AI-based engine.
Contact us today to learn how Lucidworks can help your team create powerful search and discovery applications for your customers and employees.