SoftSlate is pleased to announce the release of the latest version of SoftSlate Commerce, version 3.2.6. In addition to a number of minor improvements, this release includes a major new feature, Faceted Search. For a complete list of changes between 3.2.5 and 3.2.6 visit the Change Log.
Faceted Search can be a tremendously useful tool for helping your customers find exactly what they need. If you have a catalog whose products are similar but contain different values for common elements (for example, shoes with varying sizes, colors, and brands), Faceted Search can be a huge improvement over traditional search and browsing.
After the customer initiates a search, or browses into a category or manufacturer, a list of facets, or elements common to the products listed, appears.
The customer can then refine his search using the facets to check off the values he is interested in.
The page automatically refreshes to display just those products matching the selections.
The list of facets also automatically refreshes to list new counts for each of the facet values.
SoftSlate has several built in facets that are populated for you automatically: categories, manufacturers, price ranges, and attributes.
In addition you as the administrator can define any number of additional custom facets for any number of products. Those facets then appear after a search or browsing to a category or manufacturer.
The custom facets can be defined individually, product-by-product, or they can imported and exported en masse using the new Product Settings import and export tools.
A number of other settings related to Faceted Search allow you to control how many facets are displayed, how they are indexed, and so on.
The Faceted Search and Product Settings export features are available to Enterprise Edition users only. The Product Settings import feature is available both Enterprise Edition and Community Edition users.
One of the built-in facets, Categories, supports nesting of categories so that either parent categories or child categories can be selected:
http://www.softslate.com/images/store/facetedSearch-categories.png (You can also choose to display the main category tree when facets are present with the Advanced Search Settings -> Hide Category Tree When Facets to Display setting.)