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News June 11, 2019

Dept & dotCMS launch API-first Commerce Experience Solution


The pace of change of digital technology is placing incredible pressure on retailers to innovate constantly. Choosing the right technology is key to delivering success and staying ahead.

Businesses are increasingly shifting away from monolithic experience platforms. These platforms generally have you financially tied into long-term license agreements, with periodic and expensive upgrade paths. Instead, organizations are seeking a more flexible approach to their technology stack by maximizing the potential of headless solutions.  There are multiple benefits to this approach:

  • A headless architectural approach puts the control back in the hands of your business.
  • The cost and effort required are lower when changing and evolving a headless solution.
  • Headless solutions provide you with much greater flexibility around the technology decisions to support your business.
  • By utilizing abstraction fully, you don’t need to have a team with expertise in a specific technology provider’s solutions.

To demonstrate how this approach can work in practice, Dept has teamed up with dotCMS and developed an API-first Commerce Experience Solution, based on dotCMS’s enterprise NoCode-first CMS, along with leading commerce engine commercetools and Search & Merchandising vendor Unbxd.

The end-to-end working example shows how to combine structured content from the CMS with commerce data and functionality from the PIM. It demonstrates how to integrate technology platforms together in such a way that doesn’t require developers to have years of experience in the specific platforms.

The solution provides a reference implementation for delivering the experience to a web channel using the responsibility clients, and can, therefore, use any technology stack as suits the customer. In this case, we chose .NET Core for the API and .NET Core with ASP.NET MVC for the Web application.

Ideal for businesses that need to promote product data on a content managed channel, the solution is best suited to those who have some development capability (either in-house or with a third party) to implement an experience delivery framework layer.

If you’d like a bespoke implementation or a tailored PoC, contact the Dept team.  We’re also look to open source some of the generic and reusable aspects of the framework so keep an eye out on our github and blog for more information in the coming weeks.

The major capabilities of the dotCMS Commerce Experience platform include:

  • NoCode Digital Marketing: marketers and business users get the full dotCMS editing experience in a headless environment, including a set of NoCode tools to manage customer experiences along each customer journey, channel and device.
  • Native GraphQL Support: The dotCMS GraphQL support exposes the dotCMS content repository as GraphQL and provides an API that allows developers to query and return specific properties of content and shape the API response at call time.
  • APIs and API Builder: developer tooling to support a full range of REST actions including content pulls, content formatting, remote API calls, and content rendering.
  • Commerce platform Our flexible API lets you engage with your customers via webshops, mobile apps, voice assistants, AR/VR applications, social networks, and others. Commercetools offer a catalogue of 300+ API endpoints for your commerce projects which you can consume á la carte. The modular architecture enables you to rapidly build new customized services for your customers, iterate quickly, and run new business models at a global scale.
  • Merchant Center The commercetools Merchant Center helps you handle your most critical data and processes while keeping up with changing market conditions. Its intuitive user interface lets you manage product data, orders, and customer data for all retail channels. Additional functions, such as configurable forms and batch processing, help you to quickly and easily complete your daily tasks.
  • PIM commercetools has an advanced Product Information Management (PIM) already built-in natively – no installation or integration required! Simply log into our web app and take control of your catalog data, add new attributes, bulk edit variants and maintain all of your retail channels.
  • Relevance: Unbxd’s Machine Learning Site Search goes beyond traditional text-pattern matching, and understands the intent behind each word in the query, as it relates to your catalog. Thus, providing a highly relevant product discovery experience.
  • Personalization: With the Unbxd’s Machine Learning algorithms monitoring your shoppers’ behavior on the site, each interaction is personalized based on their affinities.
  • Built for Merchandisers: With easy-to-use merchandising features, your merchandisers are empowered to optimize Site Search without any IT intervention.
  • Automated Correction & Visual Autosuggest: Unbxd engine includes Natural Language Processing capabilities for automated spell correction and stemming issues. Also, Visual Guided Autosuggest shortens path to purchase.

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