Author Archive for: Claire S


2020 Storefront Roadmap: How EasyAsk and mStorefront are working together to take your B2B business into the next decade

The Infor Storefront marketplace has been left in chaos with many customers very unsure of the future of Storefront, others even searching for a new platform.

As EasyAsk has always been the core engine powering Storefront, we’ve been working directly with increasing numbers of Storefront customers.  We have found there is a lot of room for improvement.

Additionally, almost all Storefront customers’ UX is obsolete and visually stuck in an outdated ‘’ time warp.

The September TUG webinar, focussed on the future of Storefront and how EasyAsk and mStorefront could significantly and immediately enhance a Storefront user’s experience.  Read the summary or watch the full recording.

At the November 12th TUG webinar, we took a deeper dive into the capabilities and enhancements that you can expect from the partnership between EasyAsk and mStorefront.  With advanced Search, Analytics and Merchandising, as well as a thoroughly enhanced, responsive, modern and user-friendly front-end, plus a Mobile Smartphone UX, you can take your significant Storefront investment forward into the next decade.

We have created a Roadmap showing what you can expect from EasyAsk and mStorefront in 2020:


  • A fresh, responsive design for your Storefront site, which will work equally well on all devices


  • Enhanced scanner functionality


An internal sales team would be able to scan products to retrieve product information for customer orders, etc..  mStorefront now allows scanning via Bluetooth-enabled devices and smartphones.


  • Single Sign-On Extension


The ability for mStorefront to integrate with any Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) based service will allow for logging users into the application based on their sessions in another context.


This is beneficial for account managers that need to utilize different applications including mStorefront to service their customer base.


  • Continuous UI/UX enhancements


mStorefront creates a consistent brand across your content website and your customers’ shopping experience.  Your customers will feel like they’re underneath one roof, and no matter what platform they’re viewing from, they’ll see the same

branding and design.


  • Integration with Content Management System (CMS)


This is a fully-fledged solution where mStorefront can integrate with Drupal CMS and give users the ability to control pre-determined content, create new content pages, enable blogs, as well as control headers, images, and other sections of a company’s main marketing site.  If your customers are shopping/browsing or navigating from page-to-page, they will always feel like they are on one integrated, responsive site.


  • Enhanced Google Analytics


The following Google Analytics extensions will be added:

  • Enhanced Google Analytics: giving you visibility of how customers interact with mStorefront, including understanding customers’ shopping behavior, product performance, among others.
  • User session tracking: giving you visibility of how particular users shop the site and allowing you to analyze the signed-in user experience.
  • Tag manager: giving you the ability to add and update your own tags for conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, and more.
  • Ecommerce Analytics: tracking orders including order values, ordered products and more.


New EasyAsk features:


  • Landing pages


An EasyAsk landing page is a set of products that the merchandising team wants to show customers, which are typically referenced by a specific URL. This URL could be referenced in email marketing or on another part of the site.

A landing page will contain products as well as banners and other content.  In EasyAsk Studio, it is possible to define which products and other content should be displayed on a new landing page very easily using natural language.


  • Banners


A banner is visual content that can be triggered to be shown on predefined areas of any screen.  A banner might be an image, a video, a slider – or enter html into the definition to display anything required.  Banners can be triggered by a number of situations, such as:


  • By the presence of a set of products. For example, if 50% or more of the products that a customer is looking at are tools, then you could show a banner for a tool brand that you’re currently promoting
  • If a user views a certain set of products, or uses a certain category, you want to put a visual element at the top of that subcategory page
  • By certain terminology used in a search. For example, if a customer uses the term ‘tool’, a banner could be displayed for a tool brand that you’re promoting

Combinations of these triggers allow any situation to be catered for.  The business user has comprehensive control. Banners can have a variety of associated actions, such as:

  • Go to a URL
  • Go to a product category or subcategory
  • Do an attribute selection, e.g. brand = xyz, optionally qualified with a category
  • Do a product search, optionally qualified with a category selection. For example, run a search for oil, but only within pump products
  • No action – the banner is simply for information or aesthetics


  • Messaging on EasyAsk driven Product Results Pages


Messaging on product results pages is used when users search and EasyAsk changes that search in some way in order to get better results.  It is an opportunity to show alternative products or searches when the original search may not find anything and to inform customers why this has happened.


Messaging can be used in the following instances:


  • Spell correction, for example:


“sofaa” returned no results, so we’re showing you results for “sofa” instead.


  • Out of stock products, for example:


“Gracey Recliner” returned no results, so we’re showing you results for “leather recliner” instead. The Gracey recliner is currently unavailable.


  • Products not in the catalogue, for example:


Sorry, we don’t stock Canon, but Nikon are an excellent alternative.


  • Part of the customer’s search has been relaxed, for example:


Sorry, we don’t have purple leather couches, but here are the leather couches we do have.

Messaging on product result pages is straightforward to set up and configure within EasyAsk Studio.  It allows merchandisers to drive a better shopping experience for their customers without relying on programmers to ‘code’ in order to explain to the searcher what they are seeing.  This can significantly reduce bounce rates.


  • ‘No Results’ page content


EasyAsk allows you to control which suggested product sets and what messaging is displayed.  The ‘No Results page might contain one or more of the following:


  • Show alternative products. This is an opportunity to promote specific products or groups of products.  You might display top sellers or campaign-related products, for example, summer specials.  Here is an example of promoted products from

  • Make some search suggestions. The possibilities here for using the No Results page are numerous.  You could make some search suggestions that will return results using some of the words from the original search or suggest that the customer removes one or more filters from their search.  You could display the top trending searches made on the site (clickable).


  • Invite the shopper to further action. Suggest that the shopper browses the site by category and direct them to where on the page they can do this.  You might display some clickable popular categories. Here is an example from

If you stock numerous brands, you might suggest popular brands or featured designers, or even just list all available brands.  It is also possible to display a ‘Still can’t find what you’re looking for?’ section, giving the opportunity for a chatbot to step in or providing a telephone number or email address.  The following pop-up was triggered from the No Results page, once again on

All of the above options for your ‘No Results’ page can be easily defined and controlled within EasyAsk Studio.


  • Merchandising slots


A merchandising slot is a part of a screen, often on the home page, where merchandisers want to highlight certain products or sets of products, for example, own brand specials or this week’s offers. These product groupings can be defined using EasyAsk natural language rules and are completely dynamic.  For example, if a company had own-brand specials and had a rule that defines a merchandising slot to show these products, then any new own-brand products would automatically be included. This functionality is rule-based rather than product-based.

Alternatively, it is possible to specify a set of product IDs stipulated by the marketing team to be shown in a merchandising slot.  There are no limits to the number of supported merchandising slots; the front-end design dictates how much can be shown.


  • Enhanced Search As You Type (SAYT)


SAYT is a very advanced autocomplete/type-ahead system that is designed to put the right products in front of the user at the earliest opportunity.  The latest EasyAsk SAYT system uses templates, making it very easy to change.  It includes features such as the ability to change how many products and suggested searches are displayed and whether to show relevant attributes.  EasyAsk provides multiple templates to choose from, or your business can define their own.


The above drop-down panel is displayed on as a user begins to type their search.


We’d love to show you how we can easily transform your dated Storefront site into a cutting edge B2B eCommerce site without tying up valuable resources and potentially a $300,000+ investment by you to get there – get in touch with us to find out more.


EasyAsk and mStorefront: a leading edge B2B solution

At recent TUG sessions, we’ve seen that Infor placed Storefront into an extended maintenance mode. Michael Watkins at Quality Pool Supply (a Storefront user) estimates the cost of replacing Storefront at $350-500K, but the great news is that there really is an alternative, and therefore a future for Storefront.

Last month, EasyAsk ran a live webinar entitled “The Future of Storefront: EasyAsk and mStorefront Alliance”, alongside Jonathan Kronberg, CEO at TriGroup.  If you missed it, you can read the summary of the webinar content below – or you can watch the full recording here.


Craig Bassin, CEO at EasyAsk, began by outlining the current situation facing Storefront customers and how best to move forward.

Read More


Six Scary Site Search Statistics

and how to make sure your customers don’t run away screaming

When eCommerce site search is working well, it is a dream for your customers:  they can find what they’re looking for, the first time.  No need to endlessly click through your site’s categories and attributes.  Unfortunately, eCommerce search is too often scaring customers away.  We’ll look at six scary statistics and the ways that you can ensure your site search is not one of the frightening ones…

Scary Statistic #1

70% of eCommerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results,

requiring users to search using the exact same jargon as the site[1]

Yes, that’s right, nearly three-quarters of eCommerce site searches will only return the right products if the customers happen to use the right language.  That’s a lot of lost revenue when those customers become frustrated and abandon the site.

To ensure that your customers can find what they’re looking for, you need a Natural Language search solution.  Natural Language search solutions find different versions of the same terms, so that pluralities and tenses can be managed.  For example, it wouldn’t make any difference if a customer used the term “mens”, “man”, “men” or “womens”, “women”, “ladies”.  An intelligent Natural Language search system will understand this automatically, without any input.


Scary Statistic #2

34% of eCommerce site searches don’t return useful results when users search for

a model number or misspell just a single character in the product title[2]

This scary statistic raises 2 important issues:


  1. Misspelling

A good spell correction system is not just about correcting, but about finding words that occur in the product data which most closely match what the user described.

With EasyAsk’s intuitive search system, your product data becomes the look-up dictionary, meaning that your customers don’t have to match the spelling of your products exactly.


  1. Complex Product Numbers


While most good search systems will find common misspellings, they lack the ability to deal effectively with part or model numbers.  Consumers who are taking the time to type in a part number are undoubtedly more ready to buy, so it is even more important that they are able to find what they are looking for.

EasyAsk has the ability to index part and model numbers comprehensively, indexing all variations to ensure that users can find the product, even if they forget or mistype part of the number.


EasyAsk’s ‘Part Number Expander’

A ‘Part Number Expander’ is especially useful for complex part numbers that include a combination of letters, numbers and other characters.  A user might forget whether characters were separated by a hyphen or a slash, or might omit letters on the end.

The Part Number Expander takes each part number and creates all the different versions of terms and inserts them into the searchable index so that if any of them are searched for, they will match to the product.  The code is broken up into parts and the separators are substituted in all combinations.

For example, if the part number is


the Part Number Expander would index:


123-HC-1345AB                                     123

123/HC/1345AB                                    123-HC

123/HC-1345AB                                    HC

123 HC 1345AB                         1345


…among many other combinations.

If a customer types a part/model number that is slightly different (for example, using spaces instead of hyphens) the correct product will still be found. demonstrates how the Part Number Expander can avoid no results for customers:












The part number for this disc brake set is 25-261256-1.  If a customer replaces the hyphens with spaces, the exact product is still returned.


Scary Statistic #3

If people have a negative experience on mobile, they’re 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future[3]

A negative experience will stay with prospects longer than a positive one, so if you want your mobile customers to become regular, you’ll need to make sure you’re not putting them off with a poor user experience compared to your desktop site.

Does your site have a mobile responsive design, so that the text, images, and menus change according to the screen size?  Furthermore, as your site adapts to a mobile size, do you show relevant categories and attributes, as opposed to just the first ones from the desktop site.

Customers using a mobile eCommerce site are more likely to use voice input, and therefore different word choices and sentence structures when speaking.  Your search system needs to be able to cope with voice input and the long-tail queries that are more likely on mobile.

Scary Statistic #4

46% of eCommerce sites have a “No Results Page” implementation that is essentially a dead-end for users, offering no more than a generic set of search tips[4]

Generating a generic ‘Sorry, no results matched your search’ message could be disastrous.  How many shoppers would stay on your site and how many would go straight to your competitor?

There are better ways to use a ‘No Results’ page, but what if it was possible to avoid searches returning no results in the first place?

It may be that a simple spell correction rectifies a ‘No Results’ search, but it is also important to monitor what EasyAsk calls ‘relaxed’ searches.  A relaxed search is one where the search system has modified the search by intelligently dropping (or ‘relaxing’) a term or terms.

For example, if a customer searched for a ‘Men’s black lace jacket’ and there are no products that match this description, we would want the results to show ‘Men’s black jackets’, rather than ‘Men’s lace jackets’ or ‘black lace jackets’, having relaxed the term ‘lace’.  Some searches will inevitably need to be modified and in this example, we want our search system to recognize that the gender stated in the search query is more important than the fabric.

If a user’s search has been modified (such as by spell correcting or relaxation) it is important to display a message explaining the changes to the original search.  For example, a user may search for “purple leather couches” and see the following message:

This user could have searched for leather couches in the first instance and spent a long time scrolling through the pages of results looking for any in purple.  But by using messaging in this way, the user is informed immediately and is more likely to use the search system again.

So-called intelligent ‘No Results’ pages will suggest searches based on what a user asked for, but truly intelligent search systems will change the search to find relevant products based on what the user asked for, even though there may not be an exact match.


Scary Statistic #5

It’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one[5]

A worrying number of businesses still don’t use merchandising tools such as cross-sells and up-sells effectively on their eCommerce sites.  These businesses are leaving money on the table.

EasyAsk’s search solution includes a comprehensive set of merchandising controls.  With 9 predefined promotion types, banners and business rules, amongst other functions, the business user is in control of the products that are presented to the customer.


Scary Statistic #6

36% of autocomplete implementations on eCommerce websites do more harm than good[6]

Although basic autocomplete suggestions can be found on 82% of eCommerce sites, most sites do not take the opportunity to capitalize on merchandising while users are searching.

As a user types into a search box supported by EasyAsk, however, search suggestions and category suggestions will be displayed as well as the products themselves.

EasyAsk offers ‘Search as you Type’, or SAYT, because it means a whole lot more than just a list of suggested searches.  It means many possibilities for getting the right products in front of your customers.

SAYT progressively searches for and filters through text.  As a user types a query, suggestions, products, categories, and attributes are found and presented with each keystroke.  This allows a user to stop short of typing the entire word or phrase and find what they were looking for quicker.

Search suggestions as well as relevant and popular products, attributes, and categories can all be displayed in an easy to use interface.

Here is an example from EasyAsk customer

The user is looking for a wedding gift and the letters ‘wedd’ have been typed into the search box on the desktop site so far.  The above drop-down panel is displayed without needing to execute the search.  Alongside the search suggestions in the right-hand column, a popular category to browse and 7 products are displayed, based on the first search prediction, ‘wedding’.  Scrolling through the search suggestions using the down and up arrows updates the real-time search and therefore the categories and products displayed.  Personalization Mall could have also configured their search so that it updates just by a mouse hover for a certain amount of time.

Typed characters are shown in bold in the list of suggestions, with the rest of the suggestion in normal type.  Often, autocomplete systems only show suggestions that begin with the typed characters, but we can see here that the suggestions can contain ‘wedd’ anywhere.

Presenting customers with the most relevant search, product and category suggestions is essential.



When your site search is performing well, customers won’t be scared off, and your business won’t become one of the statistics above.

Getting the right products in front of the customer as quickly as possible shortens the path to conversion, keeping your customers and your bank balance happy.

Follow the tips and best practices in EasyAsk’s recently released eGuide: “Preparing for the Holiday Season: A Guide for your eCommerce Site” to ensure your customers find the right products the first time.








IRCE @ RetailX 2019: How EasyAsk impressed prospective customers


The EasyAsk team recently visited the Windy City to be a part of IRCE at RetailX. This year’s event merged three shows into one, with the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) holding its 15th annual event. RetailX attracted 20,000 attendees and more than 1,200 exhibiting brands, with EasyAsk proud to be counted among them.

We were able to impress visitors to the EasyAsk booth by demonstrating how outstanding EasyAsk’s Search and Navigation solution is. In case you missed the show, here is what one of the EasyAsk team could have shown you:

The North Face use EasyAsk to power their search so it’s a great example of some of the functionality. This voice search contains references to gender, price and color, as well as redundant words, such as ‘I’m looking for’. EasyAsk has the ability to cope with all of this information and returns the following results:

The EasyAsk engine has understood that ‘wife’ is a synonym for ‘womens’ and brings back only red, waterproof, ladies jackets priced less than $200. Although each of the 11 results are available in different colors, the thumbnail picture presented in the results is always in the red tone.

Contrast this successful search to the same search using

Amazon’s engine cannot cope with the complexities of this query and the top suggested searches are for ‘I’m red waterproof’ and ‘I’m looking waterproof’.

It is clear that EasyAsk’s understanding of natural language is far superior to that of the eCommerce giant, Amazon. We think this is why the IRCE attendees were so impressed…

It’s worth taking a closer look when it comes to search and merchandising solutions. We’d love to show you further how EasyAsk out-performs Amazon and competes with Google. We can help you help your customers to find the right products, first time.


More information about IRCE can be found at

Take a closer look at EasyAsk’s search and merchandising solutions at


What is Conversational Commerce and what does it mean for eCommerce?

What is Conversational Commerce?

The term ‘Conversational Commerce’ is used to describe the connection between Sellers and Buyers through messaging and chat applications. Many people now like to use chat systems to accomplish different tasks, but until fairly recently, this kind of interaction has predominantly been used for accessing support, such as customer services. But what if online retailers could use Conversational Commerce to provide a better, more personalized user experience for their shoppers?

Read More


Using AI-based Natural Language to improve eCommerce

Search is the Gateway

Search is essential in eCommerce – it is the gateway. Search is how consumers express what they want and if they don’t find what they want, they can’t buy it. People who choose to search have a far better idea of what they are looking for than those who browse, and are therefore far more likely to make a purchase. This means that understanding the intent of the shopper, however it is worded, is essential to conversion in eCommerce. Read More


The Proliferation of Voice

And the implications for eCommerce



Automation of the home environment through Voice

It’s all about the Voice

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B2B Series Challenge 7: Dealing with Bad Data

According to Forrester, B2B eCommerce in the U.S. will hit $1.2 trillion by 2021, seeing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the next four years.  It is therefore essential that B2B businesses optimize the experience for their customers online.  B2B sites have typically been known as less usable, but it is time for them to catch up with B2C and make it really easy for customers to do business.  B2B eCommerce has unique complexities, which present unique challenges and therefore require a unique set of best practices.  We will explore these challenges in our B2B blog series and offer advice and solutions to ensure that your B2B site delivers a superior experience.

Read More

B2B Series Challenge 6: Managing the Relationship

According to Forrester, B2B eCommerce in the U.S. will hit $1.2 trillion by 2021, seeing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the next four years.  It is therefore essential that B2B businesses optimize the experience for their customers online.  B2B sites have typically been known as less usable, but it is time for them to catch up with B2C and make it really easy for customers to do business.  B2B eCommerce has unique complexities, which present unique challenges and therefore require a unique set of best practices.  We will explore these challenges in our B2B blog series and offer advice and solutions to ensure that your B2B site delivers a superior experience.

Managing the Relationship

Bringing your B2B business online may present certain challenges, but there is no doubt that the possibilities and advantages far outweigh those challenges.  As we discussed in the previous blog post, being aware of what your customers are doing across all channels means that you can provide consistent information.  But it also means that you can collect vital information about your customers’ activity, such as their preferred channel, order and search history.  Understanding your customer’s behavior enables you to manage your ongoing relationship with new and existing customers.

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B2B Series Challenge 5: Omni-Channel

According to Forrester, B2B eCommerce in the U.S. will hit $1.2 trillion by 2021, seeing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the next four years.  It is therefore essential that B2B businesses optimize the experience for their customers online.  B2B sites have typically been known as less user friendly, but it is time for them to catch up with B2C and make it really easy for customers to do business.  B2B eCommerce has unique complexities, which present unique challenges and therefore require a unique set of best practices.  We will explore these challenges in our B2B blog series and offer advice and solutions to ensure that your B2B site delivers a superior experience.

Omni- or Multi- Channel?

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