New features in Episerver Digital Experience Platform
Episerver Digital Experience Platform is always on, and always updated. With continuous updates that you can apply at your own pace, you get access to the latest features and benefits immediately when they are released. To help you explore and learn more about the new features, we have grouped them in seasonal launches.
Q1 '21 Release
Q1 2021 saw 16 Optimizely (Episerver) releases (349-360, January-March) and along with bug fixes the following areas of functionality were added and updated.
Inline block editor promoted from Labs
Web pages are composed by Editors often with re-usable blocks of content, now you can edit and publish those blocks without leaving the context you are working in, keeping your focus on the experience you are editing and increasing your productivity. For more information see Linh’s post on World
CMS Side panes active when editing block inline
Additional to inline block editing, you are now able to keep the side panes available when quick-editing a block, to enable drag and drop of pages and assets into properties of the block, reducing clicks and keeping you focussed on your task.
Forms - ReCaptcha updated v2-v3
Support the latest version of ReCaptcha to help you combat abusive behavior but without affecting the conversion of your legitimate visitors.
Add notes to an order
To help provide more context to other Customer Service Representative when managing orders, notes can now be added to the cart, order and subscriptions views via the new Notes tab. This ensures that anyone dealing with a customer can be up to date about previous actions and give the best possible service.
Create subscription report
Create scheduled jobs to export your subscription data to create and combine in external reporting software. This is in the same format as order data and can be used to regularly update your internal reports.
B2B Commerce Cloud
Search Data Mode
To help reduce the mystery of search results on your store CMS users can view information about their searches to give you a clearer picture of why certain products rank higher (or lower) in search results. The information provided helps you to fine tune your results or make decisions about field boosting, product information or sponsored results and how they affect your customer experience.
In Search Data mode, when you perform searches on you site in the CMS you will see detailed information about the products returned in the search including the search score, which fields matched the query, if the search is sponsored, and other information such as boosts applied.
Product List Grid View
If you have a large number of attributes on your products and your customers need a way to compare them, the Product List Grid View lets them see a spreadsheet-like display of products and their attributes for your customers to quickly and easily compare and make an informed decision without leaving your store, or asking for help.
Storefront for React – Content widget enhancements
In preparation for upcoming releases, Users can now link to unpublished pages from navigation or link list and other link widgets. There is a warning that it could create broken links if published first.
Greater control of the Banner and Slideshow widgets provides you with options to format the justification of text and their font sizes for responsive versions.
Website specific email domains
If you are managing multiple stores from one instance now you can set the email domain for each website so that your customers are clear that they are receiving messages from the right vendor.
Variants can be defined on import
To reduce the manual effort required to assign variants after import, very large number of variant products can be easily managed for existing products - the first import allows the designation of parent product and appropriate variants which is used in a second import to assign child product to the parent.
Auto Assign Category attributes
Reduce the effort of manual assignment of category attributes; if this is enabled you will no longer need to assign attributes for the category. This can be controlled for specific categories.
Out of the box filter definitions for Commerce
For Commerce Cloud customers using Visitor Intelligence we created a better way for Marketers to create segments based on Commerce events and profiles which are automatically tracked, without asking developers to create filter definitions. Marketers can combine time and/or count metrics when creating a segment and re-use the same filter definition in combination.
This provides a far more intuitive way of creating the segments you need while ensuring best practice filter definitions, without waiting on technical resource allowing you to rapidly target groups of visitors exactly as you need to immediately.
Reusable email templates
Supporting templates that are assigned to an individual campaign allows great flexibility, but where many templates use the same style sheet and templates, there can be more work involved to make changes as bulk editing was not possible. With this update users can create and edit reusable templates and populate changes across all campaigns using the same style temple. New templates can be designated as shared, as can existing templates which will help customers to easily transition, saving time and effort for future edits and campaigns and reducing duplication.
Introducing a redesigned, faster Full Stack experience
- Per-environment A/B test configuration and experimentation results reports.
- Simplified, flag-centric data model. A/B tests and rollouts are now both types of "flag rules", and "rollouts" are now "targeted deliveries".
- New, consolidated interface to manage settings for flags and flag rules.
- New REST API for configuring flags and flag rules.
- New SDK methods (Decide) which offers the same functionality as Is Feature Enabled and more. Allows for future expansion of the new flag-centric data model to all experiment types.
- Faster dashboard loading and application performance.
Here is a brief walkthrough video of the Full Stack redesign and for more information on its key benefits, new concepts & differences from the legacy experience, availability, feature parity, and more.
A/B tests for transactional mails
For Marketers looking to optimize their messages to customers, now you can include transactional emails to A/B test your latest ideas to increase cross-sell and customer satisfaction.
Use A/B tests to send different variants of a transactional mail and use the KPIs to find out which variant performs better.
The ability to deploy code changes to a DXP Integration environment in less time is a significant gain for developer productivity, to quote Anders “Now you can deploy a site to a DXP Integration environment faster than it takes to get your favorite double shot Cappuccino. Down from 20-25 minutes to 4-5 minutes.”
More details for releases can be found on World (now with improved filtering)
Q4 ‘20 Release
Q4 2020 saw 15 Episerver releases (336-347, October-December) and along with bug fixes the following areas of functionality were added and updated.
- New – Episerver Answers in Content Intelligence Learning from hundreds of interactions from our Content Diagnostics offer we created Episerver Answers to provide quick insights; views on the rich data available with pre-defined filters and click-throughs that provides guidance and insights.
Episerver Answers provides fast access to filtered reports which answer common Marketer questions including:
What content do I have? What should I write next? How do visitors get to my site? Do visitors go on to fulfill a goal? What topics are of interest to my visitors?
- New – United Kingdom Region added for DXP hosting Customers with concerns or requirements relating to Brexit can deploy to UK data centers if desired. This year Episerver has expanded the global footprint of supported data centers +60%.
- Commerce Cloud - CSR repeat past order This time-saving feature allows customer service representatives to create new orders by "reusing" information in previous orders.
- Commerce Cloud - Order Management Customization - We also added the ability to extend the Order Management module by adding placeholders in which partner developers can put their code to surface more custom integrations to users without having to move between different systems.
For more information, see the Quicksilver sample site and documentation] (released with Commerce 13.26.0).
- B2B Commerce Cloud by Insite – Connectors Your B2B commerce implementation has a lot of integration points and Episerver added and updated the connectors to provide faster, more resilient paths to integration.
CloudSuite™ Distribution connector for customers using or migrating to the Infor solution.
Payment gateways: Added Adyen payment gateway. Moneris payment gateway updated for more parameters. P21 connector updated to operate in real-time.
OpenId Connect is now supported to enable customers to use a single set of user credentials.
PIM integration – products without parents no longer unassigned, mapping options updated.
Added resiliency to all scheduled jobs so that any failures are handled gracefully and are re-run.
- B2B Commerce Cloud by Insite Storefront for React now has an ever more rich set of features. Some highlights added this quarter included a Punchout user experience, Saved Orders and Job Quotes, Publication Approval workflows. Requisitions, Order Status and Product Comparison. Content import/export. New layouts using CMS to control page templates. Version comparison, Newslist and News article content types and widgets. Finally the ability to generate PDFs for email.
Q3 ‘20 Release [see full release list]
Q3 2020 saw 16 Episerver releases (323-335, July, August, September) and along with bug fixes the following areas of functionality were added and updated
- New - Email Content Recommendations – Continue your conversation and get your visitors coming back. Email Content Recommendations automates the delivery of relevant content recommendations via email based on the unique interests of each recipient, improving your email performance with dynamic content and no manual rules to improve click-through rates, deliver relevance in the moment and personalize at scale.
- Content Delivery API – Episerver’s existing support for headless content delivery continues to improve, providing a better experience for the marketer when using content for headless applications by expanding the capabilities to include external on-page editing and external preview. For developers we added Language consistency through requests and fallback including any expanded properties and links requested.
- Projects Enhancements has some important tweaks to improve usability with clickable names in notification bar, more information as to which Projects content is a part, ability to add a description and categories and define users or roles to see the project. A new icon in the page tree helps to clearly identify the content items in a Project. Finally when logging in, a pop-up shows which project is currently enabled so that you know exactly where you are working. Which all add up to an improved experience for those making use of the powerful Projects feature.
- Episerver B2B Commerce Cloud by Insite - increased interoperability with ERP Connector for IFS Cloud & Elavon, PayTrace added as a payment gateway connector. Customers are also pleased to have greater visibility to Search score in the Search Results page when users enter Search Data Mode to help understand rankings including how boost is affecting the ranking of items in the results.
- Two new strategic dashboards were added to B2B Analytics; the first helps our customers to quantify how much value the online experience adds for their customers. Customer Digital Engagement compares digitally engaged customers with offline-only customers. Digitally engaged customers are customers that have logged in to the website or placed an order online. Engagement is available for the previous 23 months, rolled up at the month level.
- The second adds a lot more flexibility to get to the data you need. Online Orders: View online order activity, order counts and product counts. Users can view by customer, date, website, customer groups and product groups with drill-down capability.
- B2B Commerce Cloud by Insite Storefront for React saw lots of updates including Purchased Product Widget, RFQ support, more configurable Contact Us Form and banner and slideshow widgets, rules-based page variants. Bulk and future publishing and roll-back. Order approval submitted to the approver rather than completing the check-out process. Approvers approve from the My Account section. Users can monitor the status.
- Marketing Automation – to help you self-serve with less need to contact support a number of additional features are now available direct to our customers including enacting “Right to be Forgotten” (deleting records), Assign Users to Roles and password reset, all without raising a ticket.
Q2 '20 Release [see full release list]
Q2 2020 saw 13 Episerver releases (310-322) and along with bug fixes the following areas of functionality were updated
- Content Manager & Grid View - Structured content trees are great for some areas of your websites but for others there is so much in one area that it can become difficult to manage and navigate. With Grid view you are able to manage your content in an unstructured way, using the power of search to update and perform bulk actions on items. Content Manager is designed as a sub-set of functionality from Edit Mode with a configurable dashboard view that provides an interface for content contributors who do not need to trained in your full website structure and metadata requirements.
- Inline block editing and publishing - Our customers are already excited by these improvements which allow you to edit and publish blocks inline with their content. This saves time and knowledge of how your blocks have been set-up and stored by putting the power in the hands of the editor without switching to another item, keeping them on task and showing the changes immediately.
- Continue to add functionality to the CSR interface - Our commerce interface for Customer Service Representatives saw a lot of functionality added including create orders and order exchanges, quickly access and update customer address details, add a new shipping address to a customer's order without editing an existing address or adding a new address to the customer's address book, and last but not least find a cart, order, or payment plan by using different search criteria, such as customer name, email, or order number.
- In the Profile Store all previously tracked events can be used for segmenting - Now you can use all previously tracked events for segmenting visitors based on historical data providing much more rich data for personalization segments or campaign targeting.
- DXP Deployment and API updates - As part of the Zero Downtime Deployment work in Smooth Deployment (currently in Beta) there is now support for content sync-down as self-service through deployment API, for example copying content from Production to Preproduction/Integration. DB Export (Bacpac) API support. Support for DB rollback and restore. “Roll-forward” deployment support (deploy again while maintenance page is up). Ability to validate a reset slot before it receives traffic/is swapped back.
- Improvements to Forms - There were a series of updates to improve the performance of Forms that have field dependencies, making them faster to load and to show placeholder text rather than Form data in confirmation steps to provide a better experience to your end-users Improvements were also made to form elements to fulfil WCAG 2.0 level AA compliance.
Q1 ’20 Release [see full release list]
Q1 2020 saw 13 Episerver releases (297-309) providing you with more options to serve your customers without being tied to specialist resources.
- Commerce Cloud – CSR Order Management Returns enhancements. Episerver have enriched the UI and functionality available in the Customer Service Representative (CSR) Application to empower more actions aligned to their day-to-day tasks, without having to have a deep understanding of the commerce system.
- Marketing Automation – Images in push notification. Episerver have enabled you to deliver better experiences for your customers – rather than just text in push notifications you can create a more engaging alert with appropriate images.
- Marketing Automation – self-serve for opt-in process. Customers are now able to manage their own opt-in process for emails, there is no need to contact Episerver to create the process and emails that are needed for your new contacts.
Q4 ’19 Release [see full release list]
Q4 2019 saw 13 Episerver releases (284-296) improving your customer experiences with better analytics, testing and order delivery.
- Profile Store enhancements - Tracking Events can now be used to create segments in Visitor Groups. This unifies the data captured and made available to better target your audience. With more information available to personalize across channels you are able to give your visitors and even more relevant experience.
- Cloud Self-Service - More options available to developers and partners to self-serve without having to log tickets with support, including Deployment, Restart applications/sites and cache management.
- Campaign REST End Points – Developers are able to better integrate with more of the functionality end points of Marketing Automation (formerly Campaign)