As a small child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always gave the same answer; an architect. As I got older, those aspirations changed. I put down my scraps of tracing paper and tiny scale ruler and decided that I wanted to be a footballer, then a golfer, then an analyst, then an entrepreneur… The point is, although I’ve always loved to build and create, with time, I have grown and transformed. The same is true of EmpathyBroker.

In January, our teams from across Spain and the UK met in Gijón to discuss our ideas for the future; what EmpathyBroker wants to be when it grows up. We talked in depth about what we want to create, where we want to be, and the many ways in which we can continue to inject a little more empathy into the world of eCommerce (and beyond).

Off the back of these presentations and discussions, we have a lot of exciting announcements that we cannot wait to share with you. You’ll be hearing more from us about these over the coming months. 2019 will be a year of transformation here at EmpathyBroker. We’re very excited and are pretty confident you’re going love what we’ve got in store. In the meantime, I’d like to whet your appetites by highlighting the three core areas in which transformations will take place. Without further ado, here’s a taster for what we have planned:

1. From Support to Resources

We’re on a mission to engage with our clients more proactively. Our brains are filled with all sorts of useful insights; from knowledge of our products to an understanding of, and passion for, search in general. We want to make sure we’re sharing those ideas and expertise, not just waiting for questions to come our way.

We’ve started a series of monthly newsletters featuring ‘How to’ guides, interviews, and FAQs. These newsletters are tailored to the many different types of clients we work with. Whether you’re a developer, analyst, merchandiser, or designer we’ve got plenty of knowledge and tips to share. We’re also making a real effort to become as developer-friendly as possible. We’re in the process of reworking our entire documentation library with clearer explanations, building a new documentation platform, and planning interactive demonstrations, to help make understanding, implementing, and maintaining our APIs easier than ever before.

Alongside all of this, we’re building a hub that will collect together all the developer-focused resources we produce. We hope this will be an endless and invaluable source of inspiration for anyone working with our APIs.

2. From Experiences to Relations

In 2018, we spoke a lot about the importance of providing users with experiences. Although we’ll still be making lots of noise about how essential they are, this year we also want to focus on the reason why they’re essential. Namely, to build relationships.

We’re proud of the fact that our search technology goes beyond simply helping users find what they’re looking for. Empathy builds meaningful connections between brands and customers. We no longer see search as a tool, we see it as a means of communication. We’re doing everything we can to lead the way when it comes to this change in perception.

We’re putting greater emphasis on the importance of understanding the context of a search. Developing our abilities to offer more targeted results, to provide suggestions and recommendations tailored to intent, and to respond to activity and feedback in real-time.

That’s not to say, we’re taking advantage of user data. We believe privacy and trust are still of the utmost importance. We’re making search activity privacy controls more flexible and more visible, giving control back to users and, thanks to a superior level of transparency, enabling them to be more informed and more confident about how their data will be used when they offer their consent.

With image-based searches forecast to grow throughout 2019, we’re continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of how users use and think of search in this area. We’re also making sure that our image recognition capabilities add value behind the scenes, helping automate time-intensive merchandising tasks such as product tagging and recommendations.

We want to ensure we continue to build user-centric relationships ourselves too. While continuing to develop for interoperability and with a mobile-first mentality, one of the biggest quality of life transformations we’ve got planned for early 2019 is an extension to Interface. We promise this will revolutionise the way you monitor and manage the performance of your search. You’ll be hearing a lot more on this very soon…

3. From Insight to Action

Through Insights, we’ve helped many of our clients achieve greater visibility of their search data. We’ve been working hard to develop our Playboard and visualisations. Over the next year, we want to extend our offering to provide a service that’s more action-orientated, delivering alerts and predictions that help turn insights into opportunities.

We’re adding multivariate testing with many configurations across key metrics, both increasing the complexity of scenarios and amplifying options for optimisation. Our aim is to provide analysts and merchants with even more valuable data, to help them save time, predict future trends, and move from retrospective reports to real-time reactions.

The view is to enable our clients to respond to customer behaviours as they happen and not just make decisions based on past activity. This feeds into our belief, as I mentioned previously, that search is now a means for communication. Online brands need to respond to what their users are asking them today, not what they asked last week. We’re making sure that we’re doing everything we can to keep our clients ahead of the game.

We’ve got a lot more that we’d love to talk to you about, but we’ve got to keep a few surprises up our sleeves. Keep your eyes peeled. We hope you’re as excited as we are for what 2019 will bring. If you’d like to hear more about anything we’ve mentioned or simply want to let us know what you’d like to be when you grow up, give us a shout. I’m off to draw up some floor plans.