Design & Technology May 21, 2019
Replatforming with the starterstore from Bloomreach & commercetools
IT departments and digital teams are facing an increasing number of demands both internally and externally. A couple of trends are influencing the pressure levels on IT employees to deliver faster results:
- Digital is changing business models quickly and organisations need to adapt to this change to stay relevant.
- Commerce is everywhere and customers in B2C and B2B expect a seamless user experience, similar to what one might experience on Facebook or Airbnb.
- The number of touchpoints has increased and a typical purchase process spans over multiple channels.
Most often, content management platforms and commerce platforms are separate which can be frustrating for ICT departments and marketers who are trying to bridge the gap. This slows down IT departments meaning they cannot deliver results as fast as expected. Thus, many organisations have to revisit their Digital Experience Platform (DXP) architecture.
Many of the existing DXPs require specialists to maintain and support them. These specialised developers are often expensive and difficult to source in the current market. Furthermore, the commerce platform requires a different skill than the CMS which makes it difficult to maximise the output of your digital teams and causes rework in some areas.
Since organisations have often invested heavily in these technologies, and the business is largely relying on them, it is not easy to start over from scratch. Which is best: the new ideal setup with a big bang or a step by step approach?
Step by step: go headless with existing technologies
Many brands opt for a step by step approach because less risk is involved and fewer startup costs are needed. The latest versions of their CMS and commerce software’ include APIs which enables them to decouple the front-end from the back-end. A new ‘glass’ is implemented using technologies like vue, angular or react which connects to the core functions of the commerce platform and the CMS.
The advantage of a step by step approach is existing software and back-end features can be reused, therefore minimising the initial investment. This also means that new features which are not supported or mediocre aspects from the existing back-end platforms can be sourced elsewhere and included through APIs and microservices. Additionally, the user experience is not linked to the platform anymore and so can be created from a truly end-user perspective without any ‘software’ limitations. This reduces the dependency on back-end specialists and instead makes you more reliant on front-end developers with more generic skills making them easier to source.
However, there are a few disadvantages you should also be aware of. For starters, you will have to pay a hefty license fee for software from which you are only using a small subset of features. Also, the fact that these platforms originate from the pre-cloud, pre-api era, often introduces complexities and limitations which limit the speed of development that you might be looking for. Lastly, the scaling and performance of these legacy platforms is a cause of concern because they are run on-premise with physical or virtual hardware. This also requires additional knowledge and expertise within your operations and support teams which comes at a cost.
Based on the disadvantages, a more future proof approach might be a route for replatforming. However, how can you pursue this option with minimal risk and costs?
Replatform with the Bloomreach & commercetools starterstore
A DXP architecture based on modern specialised software based on microservices, APIs, cloud and headless prepares you for anything that your business may need today or in the future. Both commercetools & Bloomreach meet these criteria and they have joined forces to deliver a productised implementation accelerator.
The productised implementation accelerator includes:
- A library of out-of-the-box components for combining commerce and content.
- Commerce-specific templates that can be customised.
- A framework which can adapt templates while the site is live.
The accelerator, along with commercetools and Bloomreach, is the perfect way to reap the benefits of a new DXP architecture quickly and cost-efficiently. The accelerator offers the advantage of combining the two systems which lowers the investment in the initial project, while still giving you the benefits of a new modern platform.
Commercetools is an API driven commerce platform which offers flexible building blocks. This allows you to assemble your customised applications (catalogue, cart, customers, discounts & promotions, faceted search, payment gateway) however you’d like. This also means you can engage customers on any channel from IoT to web and chatbots.
Bloomreach is a single CMS for managing content across all digital channels and comes with a full set of CMS features for enterprise organisations. It provides an experience manager interface with preview and authoring of content and layout within the context of your site. This empowers your business team to manage the experience and landing pages without IT involvement quickly and easily. Optionally, Bloomreach can be extended with AI-powered personalised search and browse to uplift your conversion rate.
The combination of the two systems also solves existing challenges with the legacy platforms where the commerce technology limits you to control the experience and the CMS technology does not offer any commerce capability. Both combined enable your business to easily create product pages with content and content pages that include products. All of this without coding or having to create new templates or content slots for each new requirement.