Adobe Experience Manager Commerce With Solr Search: The We.Retail Case ‑ PART 1

September 28, 2016
Adobe Experience Manager Commerce With Solr Search: The We.Retail Case - PART 1

In this series, we talk about how we extend Adobe’s We.Retail store to add enterprise search to the base AEM commerce experience using a Solr.

The Back Story

In the past few months, we’ve been working on an integration between AEM and Magento2 using the AEM eCommerce Integration Framework. We are pretty happy with the results so far, Adobe and Magento have announced a partnership and our connector has become the official AEM/Magento integration for eCommerce.

The integration follows the eCommerce Integration Frameworks’ best practice and provides the features that go along with it: Product import, Catalog Blueprint import and most importantly, Catalog Blueprint Rollout mechanism to create the actual catalog site. The connector was built to work with Adobe’s new eCommerce reference site We.Retail.

What Is We.Retail?

CSM Homepage

About a year ago Adobe started to write We.Retail which is now the AEM 6.2 reference implementation for the retail industry. It is really geared toward Experience-Driven Commerce and in my opinion, it is a major step forward in reference implementations using the AEM eCommerce Integration Framework for several reasons:

  • It is simple
  • It is visually rich (design using a responsive grid, strong and big hero creatives, nice theme)
  • It demonstrates interesting personalization/targeting stories
  • It demonstrates an actual implementation of the framework (still JCR based)
  • It is open source
  • Production caliber components

Nice, But How About Enterprise Search?

Out of the box We.Retail is a full AEM retail commerce site with a standard commerce experience based on browsing categories and subcategories.

The section or category pages (see screenshot below) work well but are based on cached category pages and don’t have some of the advanced search and sort facilities we have come to expect from retail sites like Amazon and Nike.

we.retail category page

We wanted to add some dynamic search features to the standard We.Retail site:

  • Replace the product grid currently driven by page structure with a fully dynamic grid driven by an search index
  • Add facets alongside the product grid to help filter on color or size for instance
  • Add sorting of products in the grid
  • Display the hierarchy of categories of the catalog above the filters
  • Pre-filter the product grid based on the section page it is being placed on (i.e Men, Women, Equipement)

Apache Solr was a good fit for the project and since we experince implementing on on both in AEM and Magento it was a sensible choice for implementation.

So there is the plan!

In the next blog post, we’ll go over how we decided to model products in Apache Solr to match AEM product and variant structure in order to support this plan. Stay tuned.