Oct 01, 2018 | By Katarina Kovacevic

Poq platform release: Aurora is here!

Aurora release blog header | Poq - The app commerce company

Aurora has landed! Our latest platform release, Aurora, brings a range of new features that will increase self-service on the platform, provide easy internationalisation, and most importantly increase speed just in time for the peak trading season. However, we also ensure that our latest release includes improvements and updates to coincide with the release of iOS12.

But first…

Why Aurora?

You will be familiar with the name due to the phenomenons aurora borealis (northern lights) and aurora australis (southern lights). They were mistakenly thought to only appear at dawn and thus received the name aurora due to its literal meaning, “the dawn”.

We have chosen this name because this release will be focusing on building the base structures needed for developer enablement and retailer self-service. So, this release is the dawn, the beginning, of Poq’s journey towards enablement and self-service.

The dawn of enablement & self-service

Let the self-service begin

In line with our path towards self-service and enablement we are building a tool that will enable clients to quickly map and validate their catalogue feed. The tool will provide feedback on your product feed and produce a preview of the catalogue processed from the flat file, thus giving a visual feedback loop to perfect your category hierarchies, product variations and general data mapping. The feed integrator is a big step towards allowing you and your developers to have autonomous capabilities with your product feed within the Poq platform. It is currently running internally in Beta, and will be rolled out to clients during Q4.

Opening the door for more push notification providers

As the retail industry grows and personalisation increases in importance, the ability to communicate with customers in a one-to-one method is of the utmost importance. Retail marketing is very much omni-channel and push notifications are a personalisation tool that can significantly support the success of retailers. Due to this, work has been put into separating the push notification functionality to a separate framework and it is now possible to create and import a framework to integrate with many more push notification providers.

Moreover the in-app behavioural data provided by the new analytics layer from our last release can can be well-utilised to inform the development of an engaging and potent push notification strategy. Even more, the data provided by the push notifications themselves can also work with the behavioural data to provide a true single view of the customer that can and should play a vital role in the development of a marketing strategy beyond and including your app.

Introducing the Poq Identity Portal

The Poq Identity Portal is our Identity Management System. Implementing this will mean an individual account for each user accessing our Content Management System, with properly defined roles and access to the apps they’re permitted to manage. This will improve security for our clients and also hopefully reduce support tickets around forgotten passwords and locked out accounts. What’s more is that the Poq Identity Portal is the foundation for our upcoming new App Manager that will be set up with Roles Based Access Control. This means that certain job roles will have specifically allocated access to various tools within the App Manager such as updating home screen banners or defining an app’s features and theme.

iOS 12 Compatible 

Staying true to being a SaaS company means we are constantly observing and analysing new operating systems within the mobile industry and iOS12 is no exception. We carried out an investigation identifying all new aspects of iOS12 and have identified a few improvement areas. We completed testing against every beta version of the operating system that was available and finalised our changes with the release of the Golden Master Version.

To learn more about all of the important feature updates and improvements we made for iOS12 check out our two part blog series: Part 1: Apple focuses on performance and reliability and Part 2: Apple gives power to the users.

Increased speed & ready for peak!

We look fast

We have deployed a new microservice that will distribute configurations to apps in a more efficient way that will impact the speed of the app opening. Further to this, we are implementing the asynchronous loading of home screen banners and app stories, so that content will be displayed incrementally, rather than at once. While those assets are loading, we will use skeleton views to improve not just actual speed but perceived speed as well, ultimately significantly improving the user experience.

Improved the iOS product listing screen

Similarly to the work on Home Screen, we are implementing skeleton views for the product listing screen. This means that we won’t be showing the same loading indicators, but instead, an animated empty image frame. This gives context to the user what to expect from the app and also improves the perceived speed of the app.

Also…we made networking quicker

We have identified a few improvements to our APIs. We will be improving the caching of some of our content APIs by querying our databases less frequently for data. We will add some improvements to search queries that can add unnecessary load to our catalogue services.

Making our Add-Ons even better

Go international

We’ve added the Currency Switcher, which allows retailers to add multiple currencies in the same feed. Thus, users will be able to easily switch between countries with the only back end change being the currency which is displayed. The aim is to reduce the amount of effort required to support multiple territories. We’ll be talking more about our international capabilities later this year.

Android Product Reviews

We’ve added a Bazaarvoice integration into the platform and now average reviews, review counts, and product reviews can be displayed on Android apps.

All things Android

Android Screen Transitions Android Size Selector Android Login Gate
We have worked hard to make the Android user experience and interaction model much smoother and faster. Higher resolution product images will load in the background and once downloaded, will replace the previous image in a fashion that is not noticeable for the user. This will make the image handover from the product list page to the product details page much faster by essentially zooming in on the product. We have implemented a new size selector which will be displayed from the bottom of the PDP, whereby all available sizes and price variants can be immediately visible to the user. Coupled with this, ‘low stock’ messaging will be displayed if a product stock is below a configurable threshold. Once the user has reviewed and confirmed their bag items, take the user to a register and login page. Following completion of either of these activities redirect the user back to the bag. If the user is already logged in then ensure these options are skipped and direct the user to the checkout screen.

Find out more

To discover how the Poq platform can deliver an optimised app, enhanced user experience, and increased revenue, please get in touch.

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