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  • 10 Ways to Create Customer Centric Promotions in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud - Consumers are always searching for the purchase with the best value, and as such, promotional offers play a significant role in a customer’s shopping cycle. According to the Retailmenot Survey: 80% of consumers feel more encouraged to make a purchase with a new brand if they have offers and discounts 74% of consumers say offers are a top factor when deciding where and what to buy 48% of consumers said they would avoid brands that did not provide offers. With such a heavy precedence on promotional offers, it is imperative to be equipped with a variety of promotions available within your eCommerce solution. At Elastic Path, our engineering teams understand this need and have continued to update and add new promotions for our customers to leverage. In this article we will highlight 10 ways we support your promotional needs and demonstrate where you can access them in the platform’s Commerce Manager.   Cart-Level Promotions 1. Fixed Discount Promotions Cart-Level Fixed discounts allow your team to reduce the product price by a fixed amount, and is applied to the entire cart. This means you can offer a $10 reduction in price and have it applied to the cart total.   2. Percentage Discount Promotions Similarly to fixed discounts, Cart-Level Percentage discounts can also be applied to the entire cart. This promotion allows you to reduce the product price by a specific percentage such as 10% off. In addition to being able to add fixed and percentage discounts, our team has also made updates to allow for the exclusion of specific SKUs from each type of promotion. This means a seller will have the ability to run store-wide promotions and exclude one more SKUs. This can be of great use when you want to exclude specific tiered or exclusive products within your catalog.       Item Level Promotions 3. X for Y Discount Promotions The X for Y discount allows your team to offer bulk discounts based on the unit price. This promotion works by applying the price of Y (qty) to the X(qty). This a great use for “2 For 1” promotions.     4. X for amount Discount Promotions Similarly to the X for Y discount, the X for amount discount allows your team to offer a bulk discount based on a fixed price. This promotion works by applying a set ($) amount to a specific (qty) amount for a specific SKU. This promotion can be used to deploy “2 phones for $500 sales.”     5. Bundle Discount Promotions Bundle discounts allow your team to offer bulk discounts when selected products are purchased together. This promotion works by selecting SKUs and quantities, and applying a bundled price to it. An example of this promotion could look like offering your customers to buy any two items from a specific list at a specific price of $100.     6. Item Fixed Discounts Item Fixed discounts allow your team to reduce the price of multiple items by a fixed amount. In addition to providing a price reduction, it also allows you to limit the discount to a discrete number of items. For example, you will be able to offer $5.00 off a specific SKU like a shirt, and at the same time only allow the discount to be applied to the first 3 items (of the same SKU), leaving the 4th item(of the same SKU) added to cart as full price.     7. Percentage Item Discounts Similarly to Item Fixed discounts, Percent Item Discounts allow your team to reduce the price of multiple items by a specific percentage amount such as 10%. Your team will still be able to limit the discount to a discrete number of items.     8. Free Gift Discount Free Gift discounts allow your teams to offer a free item when a specific product or a group of products are purchased. You will also have the option to either send your customers a notification for them to add the free gift to the cart rather than having it automatically added only. This feature is especially helpful by limiting unwanted items being sent to your customers and creating an overall better shopping experience.     9. Usage Per Line Item Discount Usage Per Line Item promotions grant your team the ability to set usage per line item for all promotion times. This allows you to limit the buyer to use the promotion for a specific number of times. This type of promotion can be useful in giving your employees or influencers a discount with a quantity limit which can be used throughout the year and at multiple checkouts.     10. Max Application Per Cart Limit This promotion update allows your team to limit the quantity available for purchase at the promotion price. This type of promotion stops the risk of someone purchasing an exuberant quantity of an item at sale price.   As Elastic Path continues to innovate and make updates to our promotions engine, we will continue to keep you in the loop. Keep a lookout for upcoming promotions on the roadmap such as editable promotions, node category discounts, notification of available promos and more. In the meantime, stay up to date with our changelog and never get left behind on our newest innovations to Elastic Path Commerce Cloud.
    Topics: cloud, discounts, item, promotions, elastic, path, create, commerce, promotion, discount, team, allow, specific, price, fixed, centric, ways, customer.
  • 11 Platforms for Headless Commerce - Headless commerce separates the frontend from the backend of a brand's web presence, in an API-first architecture. Headless technology can provide significant advantages in design and performance. Here is a list of platforms that facilitate a headless approach for ecommerce merchants.
    Topics: platforms, ecommerce, frontend, headless, platform, provides, commerce, backend, storefront, api, content.
  • 19 Open Source Ecommerce Platforms - Open-source ecommerce platforms offer businesses a customizable option for launching an online store, with active support communities, how-to resources, and directories of third-party developers.
    Topics: platform, free, open, features, online, commerce, multiple, store, offers, opensource, ecommerce, platforms, source.
  • 3 Key Concerns When Evaluating a New Composable Commerce Approach - A little over a year has gone by since Composable Commerce was pioneered and subsequently caught fire in the eCommerce world. How are players embracing the movement? Is it all that it was cracked up to be? Does a Composable Commerce approach overcome the 3 main concerns practitioners have when evaluating an eCommerce solution? Namely, concerns around Total Cost Ownership, rapidly adapting to market & consumer needs, integration with other tools. Partnering with Ignite research, we extensively surveyed professionals in the sector to get a feel for their understanding and journeys so far. Spoiler: most practitioners are well on their way to adopting a Composable Commerce approach if they haven’t already implemented one. The benefits, in some cases, surpassed expectations, with the overriding opinion that this is only the beginning. Before we dive into the nuances, let us briefly recap what Composable Commerce is. A far cry from the ‘traditional monolith’ platforms that started the eCommerce wave, Composable Commerce allows a company to leverage the “best-of-breed” solutions that power facets of their eCommerce engine, allowing them to create bespoke experiences to delight their customers. In a nutshell, it is an approach that leverages modern technology like microservices, APIs, Cloud, Headless, and JAMstack (JavascriptJavaScript, APIs, markup), in an open ecosystem that truly enables a practitioner to build an eCommerce experience that enables achieving and surpassing your business-centric goals. Composable Commerce: Key Concerns With Existing eCommerce Platforms Of the respondents, a whopping 95% believed that Composable Commerce is the future of their business. Why? While priorities may differ, respondents across industries agree on the key concerns of their current eCommerce solution. The top 3 areas are: Quickly adjusting to market and consumer needs (37%) Integrating with other tools (36%) The high total cost of ownership (35%) Practitioners recognize these issues and more importantly, how Composable Commerce can help them tackle those concerns now and in the future. While 58% of respondents already employ a Composable Commerce approach, of those who do not currently use a Composable Commerce approach, 62% are researching, and a further 29% are evaluating options.   Let’s Talk Total Cost Ownership A crucial concern in the evaluation of an eCommerce platform, the total cost of ownership(TCO), there are pleasant surprises in store with a Composable Commerce approach. Of those that have implemented a Composable Commerce solution, over 80% expected to see Total Cost of Ownership savings over the next 3 years. Breaking down these savings, 62% expect a 25% reduction in costs over the next 3 years, and 19% of respondents expecting savings of 50% over the same time. By design, Composable Commerce is built for change. Need to implement a self-check-out option to keep up with the market? It is an easy and quick addition with a Composable Commerce approach, in contrast to a traditional monolith platform’s implementation. On a monolith, the implementation would usually incur higher developer costs, more lengthy and painstaking testing, and in some cases relying on an implementation partner’s availability. For a more detailed breakdown of what to expect on the cost front, check out our guide to total cost ownership here. While the benefits from a TCO perspective will continue to roll in well into the future, what about getting started with a Composable Commerce approach? A significant change in methodology can be daunting with the perceived complexity of this approach. Unsurprisingly, however, 81% of practitioners using a composable approach were able to implement it within 6 months! In addition, those who have implemented a Composable Commerce approach say that it took only one month to implement additions from third parties to their commerce solution.   Looking to implement a headless approach? Our comprehensive guide to getting started with headless commerce will teach you more about the architecture, how to work with the front-end of your choice, and how to choose a platform that fits your needs. Read the Guide   Is Composable Commerce Right for Your Business?   Catch yourself thinking “but is this really a fit for my unique business?” We get it, differentiating your brand and products is tough to do in today's saturated marketplace. The true power of a Composable Commerce approach is the ability to control and deliver a unique and unparalleled experience for your customers across touchpoints both old and emerging. Another key concern of practitioners is the ability to manage and add to their commerce solution themselves. Once again, the proof is in the pudding. Of those that implemented a Composable Commerce solution, 50% of respondents were making changes on their own to keep up with the evolving needs of their customers. You guessed it, that also means further savings. Additionally, they also reported that integrating with other tools (53%) and providing a consistent user experience (52%) was now easier than before. The benefits are spread across the business and technology teams, which makes a Composable Commerce approach a no-brainer in our eyes. What does that mean for your business? Implementing third-party tools, following the “best-of-breed” approach allows you to quickly optimize existing or add new channels. Let’s take another example if you notice there may be an upside in switching search capability on your eCommerce offering. Composable Commerce allows you to make the swap significantly faster than if it were to be changed (if at all possible) in a traditional monolith platform. This freedom and speed allow you to optimize your experience to delight your customers, delivering and surpassing your business goals.   Next Steps See what else the other respondents had to say, check out the full report here. Ready to take the plunge? We'd love to connect and see how we can make Composable Commerce work for you, sign up for a demo here.
    Topics: solution, evaluating, concerns, respondents, ecommerce, approach, business, cost, total, commerce, composable.
  • 3 Pandemic-Fueled Commerce Trends Poised to Yield Long-Term Growth for Businesses - Brands tapped text-based shopping, experiential loyalty programs and online marketplaces to drive newfound sales amid the crisis - strategies that look to stick.
    Topics: trends, yield, longterm, pandemicfueled, textbased, sell, shoppers, businesses, consumers, poised, small, pandemic, commerce, brands, sales, growth, loyalty.
  • 5 Considerations For Deciding If Composable Commerce Is Right For you - Composable Commerce could be just thing you were looking for to elevate your eCommerce strategy. Find out if it is right for you.     Here are the top five considerations for deciding if Composable Commerce will be right for your business. The commitment to digital differentiation. You believe digital is an intrinsic part of your commerce strategy that allows you to outpace competitors. So website experiences are only one part of the puzzle, and you want to be able to continuously innovate and optimize with truly differentiated commerce experiences to retain and attract new customers. Flexible architecture is a must. You desire to design your unique vision and iterate without any interdependencies. By leveraging the back and freedom of MACH and the front and flexibility of JAMstack, you want to set your team up to deliver your unique vision with little technical debt. Out-of-the-box isn't enough. You're unsatisfied with these out of the box features and see the benefits of a building and designing your custom fit solution for your precise needs. By building with Composable services, you want to eliminate that bloating in the backend that usually causes your slight to be slow that are associated with those unwanted features from out-of-the-box platforms. Quick adaptability. You recognize the need for an agile solution to support your business centric functions. Whether it be an unprecedented pandemic or just another changed customer habit, you want to be able to use quick-starts as well as business analytics and business tooling, to be able to react quickly and outperform competitors. And, lastly, cost reduction. You want to drive revenue through innovation without hurting your pocket. Due to the rigidity of traditional legacy platforms, customization and other changes impact both time to market and your budget. You want a solution to deliver the best for your business while also remaining in your CFO's good graces. If these considerations resonate with you, then it may be time to upgrade to a Composable Commerce solution. If you'd like to learn more about the Composable Commerce solution and how Elastic Path may help, feel free to reach out to us, we'd be happy to help you out.
    Topics: strategy, help, business, unique, deciding, commerce, composable, considerations, able, right, solution, vision.
  • API Business Models and How They Future Proof eCommerce - If you are looking to differentiate or solve unique and complex eCommerce strategies, then you are likely looking at Headless Commerce approaches. This also means, you are getting up to speed on API business models and the many eCommerce use cases they enable. APIs can be described as the connective tissue that enables a multi-solution architecture to deliver business value. However, with composable, microservice-based architectures it goes beyond simply enabling your next eCommerce use case and into a “future proof” strategy that unlocks infinite flexibility that can quickly adapt to changes in buyer behavior and expectations. Couple that with the fact every new generation of buyer is more and more tech-integrated with how they live their lives, this future proofing concept is more critical than ever for eCommerce leaders to explore when evaluating commerce technology. Recap on API Business Models, 2012 API business models define how companies make money from using APIs. So as an eCommerce manager you are likely looking to design an architecture using multiple solutions that use APIs in different ways to make money. Understanding how API business models work, should give you a good perspective on how different vendors price their technology or services so that you can create a business plan for how you want to invest in solutions and potentially enable your architecture to participate in the API market. The biggest challenge is how fast API business models are evolving. Back in 2013, we explored API business models in a blog titled, "18 API Business Models Deconstructed," which was based on a presentation called "Open APIs: What's Hot, What's Not?" by John Musser of ProgrammableWeb. Back then Mr. Musser explored 18 different business models that are built off 4 core API revenue approaches - Free, Developer Pays, Developer Gets Paid and Indirect - see below the visual hierarchy: Last year, ProgrammableWeb published a revised report where they expanded the model to include 40 API business models and a revised hierarchy that moved away from the 4 revenue approaches and instead based it on Internal vs. External business models + an Outlier group, which I am sure will be the basis for this model to expand in the coming years. With so many eCommerce buyers researching whether Headless Commerce solutions is the right investment, we thought it would be a good idea to review the latest report and further examine how APIs are playing an ever-increasing role in developing a best-in-class eCommerce business model. If you want to review the full 2020 report from ProgrammableWeb you can read the summary and download the full PDF from their site here.   2020 API Business Models To contrast the 2012 report, below is the new hierarchy visual of the 40 API business models. In our article today, we are not going to review all 40 API business models in detail, but instead focus on the ones that have the most relevancy to eCommerce use cases.   External vs. Internal APIs Since the hierarchy has changed, maybe we first define the two top branches of the model. As explained by David Berlind, Editor in Chief, ProgrammableWeb, in the 2020 report, the top of the hierarchy - internal and external APIs - are not synonymous with Private vs. Public APIs. For example, an API that is used to connect your eCommerce platform with a 3rd party payment provider is external but is most definitely not public (which tends to define APIs made available to any developer, anywhere, regardless of source). The way to think about internal vs. external is within the context of firewalls and hosting. If you are connecting systems together within your corporate firewall, then you are using internal API business models and if you are connecting an application/platform to a 3rd party or externally hosted service or application, then you are using external API business models. Another way to think about it is all public APIs are external, but not all external APIs are public, and all internal APIs are private.   Think About Business Goals First eCommerce experts we speak with tell us more and more that one of the primary goals of their eCommerce strategy is to "future proof" their eCommerce investment. That means most eCommerce leaders are getting up to speed quickly and putting together a business plan for how to move to a headless, API-first solution. However, to gain the efficiencies and effectiveness of an API-first architecture, you need to think about how you want to enable your business using technology and how that can affect your eCommerce use cases in the short, medium, and long term. For example, if you are exploring the business value of deploying a composable, API-first architecture to enable your eCommerce goals, then you likely will be investing in cornerstone technology that uses external API business models which you will then integrate with internal systems that you want to re-use as an MVP approach. One of the most compelling use cases for moving to an API-first architecture I read about during the pandemic was from Best Buy. Best Buy had made the decision back in 2011 to enable BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) to help create a competitive differentiator. This required a re-platform of their legacy monolithic architecture to an API-first headless architecture. The goal back then was to stay competitive with the pressures of Amazon, but I would love to know if at the time they realized how much of a “future proof” architecture they were creating. No one could predict the pandemic, and when Best Buy had to shut down stores because they were not considered “essential,” it could have been a death blow considering the likes of Walmart and Target were able to stay open and Amazon was already a via competitor online. However, their API-first architecture allowed them to pivot to a 100% contactless curbside pick-up model in a matter weeks. This enabled them to keep 80% of their forecast revenue without having a single customer set foot in their stores. This made Best Buy one of the many pandemic success stories, as they were able to grow revenue by 3%+, which is something only the “essential” big box and grocery chains were able to do. There are tons of stories about Best Buy’s success online, this Forbes article offers a good overview of what they did from a business side perspective, but it would not have been possible to move quickly if they hadn’t digitally transformed to an API-first architecture back in 2011-2014.     Looking to implement a headless approach? Our comprehensive guide to getting started with headless commerce will teach you more about the architecture, how to work with the front-end of your choice, and how to choose a platform that fits your needs. Read the Guide   Types of Internal APIs   Legacy Modernization Companies that have layers upon layers of legacy infrastructure will need to build a legacy modernization plan that focuses on deconstructing monolithic architectures and creating more service-based and reusable components. The outcome of this approach will help to reduce costs, create new re-usable components that were previously hardwired and ultimately improved efficiency of the business. For eCommerce specifically, modernizing the architecture can enable unique omnichannel experiences, by focusing on unlocking data and then using it in new ways to present content, pricing, and customer support experiences across mobile, Web, IoT or instore. Today's digital economy makes multi-channel the expected norm of buyers, even more so after the pandemic.   Digital Transformation Many buyers that come to Elastic Path describe their eCommerce project as a Digital Transformation. In the context of APIs that means investing in an eCommerce platform that can integrate with existing and ever-expanding technology ecosystems. Digital Transformation has led to the rise of Headless Commerce architectures, where APIs are used to connect a back-end commerce platform with a variety of front-end experiences such as CMS, IoT, Mobile, etc. That created a path to multi-channel, but the original headless eCommerce solutions were still a back-end monolith that made it very labor intensive to optimize/add new experiences on the various and in many ways disconnected front ends. Business logic was engineered in siloes with very few reusable components. The transformation is now moving to a fully composable, microservices-based architecture. Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is an example of this new approach, which is now leading to faster time to market of multi-channel, multi-brand, multi-geo and B2B scenarios where each customer in B2B or B2C, becomes a "segment of one" when it comes to catalogs, pricing, and product availability. In B2C, retailers are well under way to modernizing their customer experiences by integrating online and offline channels – for example BOPIS is becoming almost common place even in niche retail markets. Buying experience are becoming more interactive and engaging and physical inventory can be kept in the warehouse and shipped directly to you or called up on demand whether you are instore, in your car or on the couch. Knowing things will continue to evolve and buyer expectations will be more and more digital driven, future proofing with a composable, API-first architecture is more and more critical to explore now than ever. In B2B, digital transformation is just getting started as companies are looking for ways to blend online sales with the complexities of account management that won’t cannibalizing top revenue generating channels like resellers and distributors. B2B account management can be a mix of managing repeatable transactions and transactions that have custom pricing and contracts, bespoke onboarding, unique delivery logistics, personalized service, and support. The big opportunity in B2B eCommerce however is the buyer does not want to meet with the account team just re-order the same parts, consumables or schedule a service call. They also want to self-service how they explore new product offerings, and don’t always want to take a meeting to explore and purchase new offerings, especially when there is already a relationship in place. Add to this the fact that “the buyer” is not an individual with a single persona, but rather a complex team of buyers across multiple personas and decision-making influence. Companies looking to implement a more MVP approach to B2B eCommerce, we will want to ensure it adds value to the relationship while also optimizing the internal account team support of the account. So digital transformation is not just about using an API-first architecture to enable a headless front end (buyer experience), it is equally important to integrate reusable assets on the back end like ERP, CRM, OMS, etc., making sure the customer and account team have clear single version of the truth across every transaction. An example in B2B that I was personally introduced to in my consulting days was Caterpillar. They had a technology that could monitor every machine’s performance in the field, and they the machine would “phone home” a status back to a central database at both CAT HQ that dealers could access. The idea for enabling eCommerce was to connect this data with their parts store and dealer services that can fulfill an order before the machine breaks down. This turned the construction vehicle into an IoT digital experience, allowing customers to participate in a program where parts and service were ordered automatically and delivered to the machine in the field based its location. This not only adds frictionless ecommerce to their business model – value to the customer, but it also enabled more control of machines warranties and service histories so that their dealer account teams can use the data to upsell and cross-sell new machines. Learn more about what CAT did here.   Digital Native Companies that are new to eCommerce or are putting together a business model with eCommerce as the core of their revenue strategy will want to consider investing in digital native solution providers to create their own digital native architecture. This will enable them to future proof their business and create endless market leading experiences as they grow in their market. This type of investment also requires some technical skill, but as more Pre-Composed Solutions™, business-ready pre-integrated commerce applications, become available cross an ecosystem of digital native tools and partners – we think even the smallest eCommerce investments will move down the API-first path vs. SaaS monoliths with cookie cutter templates. In addition to starting your eCommerce with a digital native approach, we are seeing more and more companies that invested in monolithic “starter” eCommerce platforms looking to re-platform right around the $2-$5M annual revenue mark so that they don’t get locked into a platform that ultimately hingers rapid growth of the business through agility.   Types of External APIs   Partner If you are evaluating a solution like Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, then you are adding a Partner API Business Model to your architecture. Revenue Share Platforms like ours enable "Ecosystem" external API business models, where we make APIs available to our rapidly growing partner network to develop new solutions that can be resold across many customers. This the basis for our Pre-Composed Solutions™ and Accelerators that we in turn resell to our end customers in collaboration with the partners that developed the solution. Most major application cloud provides have a version of this, for example most folks are familiar with is the AppExchange on Salesforce. Customers typically would not manage these connectors as they come pre-built with the partner solution and are supported under a Composable Commerce XA™ services model. Affiliate If you are connecting your goods or services to external sites for referrals that drive traffic to your site, you likely have developed an Affiliate API business model. Some of these API models go beyond linking, tracking and revenue share contracts – Air Malta, for example, opened its booking system via a web services affiliate API to enable partner carriers to book flights directly with Air Mala without the customer having to leave the partner site where they started. Partner - Resell Since many modern eCommerce architectures require a mix of legacy and digital native solutions, there is likely a need to purchase a custom developed APIs to bring these systems together. Many of Elastic Path’s business partners provide these types of options so that major back-end systems like ERPs don’t have to be replaced to transform into reusable components of an API-first, headless commerce architecture. Standardize One strength of Elastic Path is working in regulated industries like Telecommunications and Healthcare. As a result, many of our customers need to consider how they include API Business Models into their eCommerce workflows to ensure they meet government and industry-based rules and regulations when it comes to things like PII (personal identifiable information) data and financial transactions. An example of an industry standard API Business Model we see every day is SWIFT. This allows for all banks to engage with commerce using a common data structure, working and security considerations. This model is also evolving into a “pay later” option that allows for online transactions to be essentially financed on the fly, so the vendor gets paid in full and the customer gets options to select a bank backed finance program in real time while checking out. Productized Many eCommerce tools that leverage an API-first architecture operate their business model using a productized approach. Essentially, they offer more functionality and access to API services based on the tier of product you are on or consumption of the APIs you use. Upsell Contentful, a CMS Elastic Path partners with is a great example of an Upsell API Business Model. They offer a developer kit to get started with their solution and you can start connecting back-end services using their RESTful APIs, however if you need more enterprise horsepower you can upgrade to their enterprise plan to get access to the GraphQl Content API. Salesforce CRM is another example of a upsell API. The only way to get access to their suite of APIs is to be on the Enterprise or Unlimited plan, which increases the cost per user by 6-12x compared to their lowest tier of service, Essentials. Coin-Operated Every seller’s eCommerce architecture has at least one (but likely several) payment providers integrated with it. The payment providers use their APIs to connect and process payments and charge a per transaction fee. They monetize by charging for each call and/or a percentage of each transaction value. Such APIs are often integrated into scenarios like eCommerce stores or point-of-sale devices. eCommerce platform providers tend to offer pre-developed solutions that become virtual plug and play, but if your eCommerce platform is API-first, with some straightforward development you can connect to just about any provider in world. With currency like BitCoin and more online banking options – this is become a competitive differentiator as buyers have preferences for how they want to pay digitally. Marketing Marketing APIs is when the API is a value-add component to how a company markets and sells its product or service using an open and accessible API model. Elastic Path Commerce Cloud provides this type of API business model to is end customers so that they can connect our eCommerce solution with legacy and new digitally native applications and services. This is known as a Packaged API business model. As the customer, you are paying Elastic Path a license fee to gain access to the platform features and APIs that can be used to connect with both internal (behind your firewall, like an ERP, CRM or Relational Database) and external data sources/applications (payment providers, tax services, etc.). Elastic Path does not charge per API call, but instead we enable our customers to increase revenue across omni-channel experiences for which our license fee is aligned on either a revenue or transaction-based metric. You can learn more about our pricing model on Elasticpath.com. Thank You for Reading Hopefully this article has helped bring some context around APIs business models and eCommerce use cases they enable. The exciting journey we are all on with a API-first, composable commerce architecture is that we can create almost infinite buying experiences and integrate that in any existing back-end business process or external service. We look forward to taking this journey with you!
    Topics: proof, apis, apifirst, architecture, business, future, api, commerce, ecommerce, models, external, model.
  • Accelerate Your Business in the Current Commerce Landscape with Magento 2.4 - Today, Adobe released the latest version of Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source to provide merchants with capabilities that will help them capture new opportunities in the current commerce landscape and prepare for the future. Read more.
    Topics: adobe, faster, current, approval, magento, merchants, customer, accelerate, pwa, commerce, online, landscape, b2b, business.
  • Announcing Composable Commerce XA™: De-Risk Composable, Multi-Vendor Solutions - I’m in the lucky position of talking to prospects and customers every day, a true privilege. A consistent topic of conversation is the changing dynamics of maintaining applications as technology becomes increasingly more loosely coupled, composed with microservices from multiple vendors to assemble business capabilities that become the foundation of the next generation of enterprise applications. According to the Annual APIs and Integration Report 2021, 81% of the 950 organizations surveyed use microservices today and 95% of organizations believe that microservices are or would be extremely or very important to their operations. At this point, we are rarely discussing why microservices, but rather how to employ them successfully in the enterprise. From those conversations, there are three primary themes that I consistently hear: Security  Integrations  Risk  Elastic Path is the only vendor in that it addresses each of these. Security – Elastic Path offers the only SOC2 compliant microservices platform for Commerce. Integration – We announced the Composable Commerce Hub last year, offering business-ready Pre-Composed Solutions and integration Accelerators to simplify the process on connecting multi-vendor approaches to eCommerce. In this blog, I am going to dig into the topic of risk when considering composable microservice, or MACH, approaches to digital commerce.   7 Considerations for Choosing the Right eCommerce Solution Check it out to discover the top 7 factors every business needs to consider as you navigate the selection process and ensure you select the platform that's right for you - even if it isn't Elastic Path. Get the Guide Let's Consider Risk  One of the biggest changes in this new, composable approach to microservice-based applications is the shift in responsibility for the application risk. What actually is application risk? It’s the risk of an issue, a bug, or an outage that impacts application performance in production. When a company purchases a monolithic commerce platform, one of the primary benefits is the vendor typically delivers all the capabilities of that commerce platform. There are always integrations, but the bulk of the capabilities come from a single vendor. As a result, the vendor assumes all of the application risk for the commerce platform. If there’s a problem, the customer calls the vendor and the vendor assumes the responsibility to respond, triage and find a resolution. This clear chain of responsibility changes with loosely coupled applications composed of microservice APIs from multiple vendors. In this new world, there is a substantive shift in application risk – moving from the monolithic software vendor to the application owner. In this new approach, the application owner maintains business relationships with multiple vendors. Support is typically limited by each vendor to the boundaries of their microservice. In most cases, a systems integrator fills in the gaps – selling billable hours to manage integrations and the “application” itself. In this case, ultimately the application risk is shouldered by the application owner themselves, rather than any single vendor. When a problem arises, members of the application owner team must: Determine, on their own or with their systems integrator, where the problem resides Triage the problem at hand Identify the vendor(s) responsible for the issue Determine how the issue impacts other connected microservices in the application Find a path to resolution to get the store up and running   Assurance for the Best Commerce Experiences  Assurance for the Best Commerce Experiences Composable Commerce XA™ (experience assurance), addresses this challenge straight on by being the first-and-only solution to reduce the application risk of multi-vendor solutions. Composable Commerce XA™ is a new offering that combines a multi-vendor architecture review, proprietary integration data flow monitoring, and a holistic approach to resolving issues for applications composed from multiple vendors. With Composable Commerce XA™, Elastic Path changes the dynamic between API microservice vendor and consumer of that service, shifting to partner with our customers. Rather than raise our hands and say, “it's not our problem”, we work closely with our customers to find a solution together. This change from service provider with a “use at your own risk” approach to an application partner with a “we are in this together” mindset is powered by both technology and approach. As part of each customer’s onboarding, Elastic Path completes an architecture blueprinting review where a customer’s multi-vendor solution is identified.  This process ensures our team is aware of all the components that make up their Composable Commerce solution so that we can accurately identify services and monitor the application should any issues arise. An API gateway will facilitate integrations through the Elastic Path Commerce Cloud suite of services to ensure active data connections and monitor connections for issues that may impact the overall application experience. In the event an issue occurs, Elastic Path will partner with our customer to identify the source of the issue, work proactively with our customer across their multi-vendor solution to bring all parties to the table, and assist our customer in returning the store to expected operation quickly. Composable Commerce XA™ addresses the third of three common enterprise concerns when they consider microservice-based solutions for their digital commerce applications. By partnering with customers to respond to issues when they arise, rather than draw lines where a service boundary ends, Elastic Path builds trust with our customers, so they know that we are on their side. Our application blueprint review and integration monitoring service give us and our customers the visibility and insights we need to resolve issues quickly, eliminating the time-consuming and often frustrating process of figuring out all the moving pieces in a multi-vendor solution during a crisis. Working together with our customers, we are focused on delivering great customer experiences.  
    Topics: elastic, vendor, application, commerce, announcing, solutions, risk, solution, xa, multivendor, composable, path, microservices, customers, derisk.
  • Announcing New Pre-Composed Solution™ for B2B Commerce - B2B Digital Transformation: Easier Said Than Done Your customer: “How much does that cost?” You: “Well… that depends.” As a B2B business, maybe you don’t do set pricing. You can’t do it. Maybe your offerings are too complex. Maybe you like to treat every single customer differently. Maybe you manufacture from base materials that are vulnerable to rapidly fluctuating commodity prices. Maybe you’ve just always done it that way. Regardless, you have your reasons and so your business relies on quoting. But you’ve held back from implementing automated, digital quoting because of the perceived complexity and expense. The ubiquity of digital commerce, however, has set different expectations and it’s no longer good enough for you to entice your buyers with an amazing discovery experience only to end up at a “Please call for pricing” pop-up. A New Approach to B2B Digitization With our new Pre-Composed Solution™ for B2B Commerce, co-developed in partnership with Systems Integrator DigiCommerce, B2B brands can quickly launch and optimize the automated, digital B2B commerce experiences (including quoting!) that your buyers demand. Powered by Composable Commerce, an approach that enables brands to bring their unique digital vision to life by leveraging multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete business-ready solution, brands no longer have to compromise between the rigid B2B commerce solutions of the past or taking on the risk of stitching together modern technologies. This solution composes core B2B commerce functionality (like Account Management, complex catalog support), Role-Based Access, etc.) from Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, with pre-built digital experiences for B2B buyers and sellers to make quoting, and other core B2B experiences, possible. Power The Convenient Experiences Your Buyers Demand These pre-integrated B2B features are used to power the digital-first experiences that your customers demand.  The granular system of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), allows your customers to fully model their organizational structure – who can order what and for how much, who can transact, etc.  Within this controlled context, your customers can easily: Create carts (orders) manually or via convenient CSV upload Share carts across their organization Save carts for later use including often repeated orders View all their orders and their status Submit an order for quote, as well as modify and re-submit Accept a quote and transact via credit card or purchase order Split the resulting order fulfillment across multiple delivery addresses …And Digitize The Key Processes Your Account Reps Rely On The same RBAC system allows you to model your side of the equation – who manages what, who can set prices, approve quotes, etc. right down to who manages Betty’s accounts when she’s on vacation. Your account reps can easily see the orders of their assigned accounts in detail and manage them accordingly.  In addition, the Pre-Composed Solution™ also comes with a powerful built-in dashboard that provides, to those with adequate permissions, rapid analysis of all orders across the entire organization. Another great capability comes from the fact that essentially everything your customer can do with their order, so too can an account rep. This enables what is known in the B2C world as buying on behalf of or shopper impersonation. Maybe some of your customers are a little old-school or maybe they’re in the field and just can’t get to their computer. In these cases, the rep can create the order, share with the customer, provide the quote, and move it along in the process. When you combine that ability with our flexible catalog and multiple price book model, you’ve instantly (and inexpensively) put a powerful tool in the hands of your field reps whether they be online, on the phone, or on the road. Whereas your end customers drop by your site, conduct some business, and move on, your employees live in these systems all day every day. There are still plenty of folks out there (even one is too many in my opinion!) who spend hours tabbing their way through complex legacy “green screen” systems to get the job done. One of the most enduring benefits of this solution will be just how pleasant it is to use. Despite packing in a lot of really high-powered functionality, this Pre-Composed Solution™ offers a UX that is highly intuitive and logical in its flow and a UI that is clean, giving the users power with an easy learning curve and no cognitive overload. Your team is busy keeping the customer satisfied. The last thing they need is to struggle with their tools. Transformation + Trust = The Future of B2B eCommerce Your core business isn’t easy. If it was, someone else would be doing it for less. Our highly flexible solution acknowledges the inherent complexity in what you sell and how you sell it, and helps you transform from what has been a high-touch offline process to a new frictionless digital experience for your customers without jeopardizing your most valuable asset – their trust.
    Topics: quoting, order, digital, maybe, customer, commerce, announcing, experiences, customers, b2b, solution, precomposed.
  • B2B Commerce Best Practices During COVID-19 — and Beyond - During a recent panel discussion, industry experts pointed to the significant transformation happening in B2B commerce and outlined strategies for success. The panel, which was sponsored by Adobe, left attendees with the following four key takeaways. Read more.
    Topics: companies, help, product, best, digital, customers, panel, site, b2b, commerce, practices, covid19, search.
  • Chord, a headless commerce startup led by former Glossier execs, raises $18M - Last year, former Glossier executives Henry Davis and Bryan Mahoney unveiled a new e-commerce startup called Arfa. Today, they’re announcing a new vision for the company, along with a new name, new funding and an acquisition. The name first: Moving forward, the New York startup will be known as Chord, which Davis (Chord’s chairman and […]
    Topics: mahoney, offering, data, execs, commerce, chord, glossier, techcrunch, platform, davis, led, startup, 18m, ecommerce, headless, raises.
  • Commerce platform ShopUp raises $75 million in Bangladesh’s largest funding - ShopUp, a startup that is digitizing neighborhood stores in Bangladesh, has raised $75 million in a new financing round that is also the largest in the South Asian market. Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures led ShopUp’s $75 million Series B round. Prosus Ventures as well as existing investors Flourish Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, and VEON Ventures […]
    Topics: small, shops, funding, ventures, platform, bangladesh, startup, raises, stores, round, bangladeshs, india, commerce, largest, million, techcrunch, shopup.
  • Commercetools raises $140M at a $1.9B valuation as ‘headless’ commerce continues to boom - E-commerce these days is now a major part of every retailer’s strategy, so technology builders and platforms that are helping them compete better on digital screens are seeing a huge boost in business. In the latest turn, Commercetools — a provider of e-commerce APIs that larger retailers can use to build customized payment, check-out, social […]
    Topics: continues, commerce, ecommerce, commercetools, retailers, hoerig, valuation, growing, raises, funding, 140m, boom, lot, headless, techcrunch, million, company, 19b.
  • Conversational Commerce Is Revolutionizing Ecommerce - Deploying AI to facilitate dialogue with your customers adds the missing human element, providing a more personalized experience.
    Topics: brands, customers, consumers, missing, voice, conversational, experience, personalized, revolutionizing, ecommerce, commerce, products.
  • DHL acquires stake in Link Commerce developed by MallForAfrica - DHL has acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce, a turn-key e-commerce company that grew out of MallforAfrica.com — a Nigerian digital-retail startup.
    Topics: mallforafrica, way, platform, chris, investment, developed, ecommerce, acquires, company, commerce, link, folayan, dhl, stake.
  • Do Composable Commerce Solutions Come With a - Composable Commerce leverages MACH as a part of it’s core commerce technology and thus means it will follow a Headless Commerce approach. This is great for businesses that are looking for a decoupled architecture to be able to grant them the freedom to customize without any dependencies. However, while headless commerce offers a great deal of benefits, many people are often confused about how it will work. We always get asked, “Now that you’ve removed the “head” to make it headless, where do I find it? Does the head come with Composable Commerce? Do I have to build it?” And the answer is, well yes it can come with a "head", and there are three main options you can choose from based on your specific requirements.   The first option is with an embeddable cart and checkout. This is going to be for you if you have a content site or a blog that talks about your products and services, but you have not yet turned these channels into transactional streams. By integrating an embeddable cart like Snipcart or Elastic Path’s Shopkit, customers can shop and pay for items directly from your existing website without leaving the page. The best part is it requires little to no coding knowledge or experience, is available in seconds and is easily integrated with JAMstack principles. The second option is with a Reference Store Experience. This is going to be for you if you’re looking for a compelling shopping experience right out-of-the-box . You can leverage a library of Omni-Channel Reference Experiences, spanning web, mobile, IoT, in-store, like chatbots, Alexa skill references, A/R and self checkout. These are great for businesses that want to get something up and running quickly but also want to easily change the look and feel of the store to match the brand identity and provide a seamless shopping experience across a variety of touchpoints. The third option is with a third party Content Management System. This is going to be for if you have a substantial development team and your content is mostly managed by your marketing team who is committed to constantly updating pages and content. With this option your team will be building your custom frontend and leveraging best-of-breed solutions. You can choose from a variety of Content Management vendors in the Composable Commerce Hub like Contentful, Acquia, Amplience or Bloomreach and customize your personal content experience across all channels. or If you have an existing structure, you can continue to use that to leverage a JAMstack approach for easy workflows and API calls. With the Composable Commerce approach, you will never be locked into a specific vendor, you can innovate and customize at your freedom and always swap out one for the other to find the right fit for you. In conclusion, there are many ways to get your head easily with Composable Commerce. Of course if you have a more extensive development team and want to design your frontend experience from scratch with JAMStack or any other code language, you are also welcomed to do that. If you have any more questions about integrating your frontend experience, I can always connect you with one of our internal experts, we’d be happy to help.    
    Topics: headless, composable, does, jamstack, great, solutions, team, come, content, experience, shopify, option, head, commerce.
  • Do Consumers Care about Green Commerce? - Covid-19 has shone a light on the next big crisis: the environment. Younger consumers are especially sensitive about global warming and the world they are inheriting. Does it affect the way they shop? What can merchants do to make their operations greener?
    Topics: likely, carbon, emissions, ecommerce, environmental, z, commerce, consumers, care, reduce, green, air, brands.
  • Don’t Complicate B2B Commerce by Insisting on POCs - Proofs of Concept (POCs) waste precious time that business and IT teams need to spend on MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) Taking different approaches doesn’t mean having different goals Business functions, such as eCommerce, marketing, and sales, seek rapid time to market and quick updates in a “move fast, break it and learn” approach centred on meeting an ever-changing and increasing set of customer expectations. In contrast, IT demands a clear roadmap, carefully considered and pre-defined functional requirements, demonstrated pre-rollout ROI, system stability and security, and 100% of the information before proceeding. Without alignment, this tension between IT and business users is real and prevents progress. As we move quickly through 2021, we see this tension between functions rapidly being whipped into an inferno by a C-suite that has awoken to a Covid-driven, existential urgency to digitally transform. When these internal teams spend their time fighting for control, no one wins. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Does the effectiveness of eCommerce really need to be proven? In working with many B2B firms, we are often asked the question by both business and IT teams, “Can we prove out the efficacy of our eCommerce effort prior to investing fully in the channel?” Tongue in cheek, my answer usually is, “Sure, if you’ve recently woken up from a 25-year coma.” Why are we trying to prove that B2B eCommerce is effective? Case study after case study of B2B companies successfully pursuing digital channels has demonstrated that eCommerce is both viable and preferred by customers in many instances. Market data abounds that validates the efficacy of digital selling. Ask yourself why Amazon Business, Amazon’s B2B-centric selling channel, has become the fastest-growing part of the entire Amazon empire, generating over $25 BN in B2B revenue in 2020. The answer is that B2B buyers are demanding eCommerce. I'd suggest that general eCommerce Proofs of Concept (POCs) are mostly unnecessary and give your competitors a head start on lapping you down the road. POCs designed only to show that B2B customers are ready to buy via eCommerce are a waste of time. This no longer needs to be proven and incremental approaches waste valuable time B2B companies no longer have. Finding Common Ground: An “MVP” POCs should not be confused with another approach, which is very useful, called an MVP (minimum viable product). The “MVP” can be a wonderful tool by which to unite IT and business users around a common and attainable goal. Legacy B2B firms frequently have large and highly distributed operations, sometimes global in scope, and typically with many systems already in place. The MVP approach focuses on bringing a limited set of functionalities to market within a limited scope. This satisfies the needs of the IT team for limited risk, while also moving the ball down the field for business users. When coupled with a customer advisory board – often the new eCommerce system’s first adopters – this approach can be particularly effective. The goal is to set a baseline for the rollout of a broader system. This approach has been used successfully by some of the largest global implementations of eCommerce we’ve seen in the space with B2B companies like illumina, Epson, and Cardinal Health. While the MVP approach can help unite and align the interests of IT and Business users, the choice of an eCommerce platform must still be carefully completed. Remember, “MVP” doesn’t mean “POC”, where a platform with limited functionality can be utilized. For an MVP, users are well-advised to identify a solution that has enough functionality to meet the expectations of the target customer group while also considering longer-term scalability and flexibility. B2B companies with complex operations, multiple lines of business and geographies, and numerous legacy systems are often best served to seek platforms that have inherent flexibility. New opportunities to deliver value quickly and effectively Post-COVID, B2B companies are looking for flexible, digital-first methods that maximize the total cost of ownership and time to value. New approaches, such as composable commerce, hold the promise to provide ‘enough’ functionality out of the box to enable an MVP while accommodating longer-term business needs through an open framework. Business users get more transparency into available functionality and IT leaders can focus on building differentiated tools vs. reinventing market-available solutions. Together, guided by a common set of objectives and measurable goals, business and IT professionals can enjoy one of those enviable and rare “win-win” scenarios.
    Topics: insisting, set, limited, companies, ecommerce, pocs, b2b, users, functionality, complicate, business, commerce, mvp, dont, approach.
  • Drupal Commerce Founder on Collaborative Code, Software Freedom, More - The viability of open-source ecommerce platforms may seem limited given the rise of SaaS providers such as Shopify and many others. Not so, says Ryan Szrama. He's the founder of Drupal Commerce. He wrote the code in 2005 as an addition to the open-source Drupal content management system.
    Topics: opensource, code, companies, freedom, development, project, founder, ecommerce, work, content, software, collaborative, drupal, commerce.
  • Early Adopters Take the Lead - Adopting technology early is a challenge every business may face at some point in their growth and development. However, technology is now moving so fast that what might have seemed risky in the past might today actually be the safer bet, to stay ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition.
    Topics: technologies, talent, adopting, commerce, adopters, lead, trends, website, technology, way, pwa, early.
  • Ecommerce Microservices: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - This post was originally published on October 21, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy in the market. Hardly a day goes by without an article about eCommerce microservices. Microservices are small services that are loosely coupled, independently deployed and are organized around business capabilities that enable the rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large complex applications. Though they were established a decade ago, Microservices still remains as a hot new paradigm for commerce back end among many commerce practitioners. While many developers are experimenting with microservices and others are embracing them head on, others have continued to shy away from them because of the perceived complexity and risk.Over the next upcoming years however, we do expect many more practitioners to get on the microservices bandwagon as concepts like Composable Commerce continue to democratize working with Microservices architectures. In the meantime, we want to continue to educate the market on what to expect when adopting a Microservices Architecture. Therefore in this article we will quickly highlight the good, the bad and the ugly about ecommerce microservices everyone should know about. The Good: Microservices offer unparalleled flexibility and modularity when it comes to standing up a new customer experience and rapidly adding additional ones. Microservices share nothing: platform, deployment and data storage are all independent. If a developer needs to make a new microservice and s/he works in Javascript, they can just do it in Javascript. They don’t need to learn a new language in order to keep growing the platform. Developers can work in parallel and release all day long, which significantly reduces time to market for any new application. This is the complete opposite of a full-stack monolithic suite where the majority of functionality lives in a single service that is tested, deployed, and scaled as a single unit. It requires integration phases of the project, quality assurance, etc. to make sure the platform works as one unit because it shares everything. Expanding it into other touchpoints and devices requires a significant amount of customization, making it cost-prohibitive to explore new ideas.   The Bad: When companies are moving from a monolith to a microservices eCommerce solution it can be very difficult depending on the process that is taken. Imagine, you have already invested in a monolithic pattern that you have established through your company. You would have already had your licenses from institutions like Oracle, and have your infrastructure and organisational inertia to continue business as usual. Then, if you choose to replatform your solution that was not built from ground up with APIs and microservices based, you could incur quite a bit of problems. You may end up having to lay off or retrain workers; have duplicative data and connections; lose control of the database and overall are left with a distributed monolith to handle the cross-functional concerns. However, if you end up choosing an API-first, Microservices-based commerce solution like Elastic Path, then it becomes a lot easier. Of course, microservices will require a higher digitally mature team, but teams are able to incrementally replace their monolithic system that makes the management, retraining and implementation of your new solution more seamless. The Ugly: The real downside of microservices is the complexity the mini-services introduce into the architecture. Developers end up needing a microservice to search for a microservice. The more microservices are being used, the more there is a risk of things getting out of control. In her post, Goodbye Microservices: From 100s of problem children to 1 superstar, Alexandra Noonan of Segment described the pain developers went through with the explosion of the microservices and what they did to end it. Another great story, What I Wish I Had Known Before Scaling Uber to 1000 Services, is from Matt Raney, Chief Systems Architect of Uber. You end up breaking the services into so many pieces that you no longer know what is going on. You can’t bring change because every time you make a tiny change and you think it is independent, it actually turns out not to be. To make matters worse, you may run into a problem where you may not know how a particular service exists. You couldn’t rebuild it if it died. You don’t know how to make changes to it because the person who made it is gone. You end up in a pretty big mess. One way we have begun to address these issues is with the Packaged Business Capabilities(PBC’s) with Composable Commerce. Many may think PBCs and Microservices are the same, but not really. All Microservices are PBCs but not all PBCs are microservices. The key difference is business capability, and the acid test is whether a microservice is designed to deliver a well-defined business capability, recognized as such by business users. By packaging these microservices to specifically satisfy business needs, users will experience reduced complexity, enhanced clarity, and business centric planning. Learn more about how they are beneficial to your business here. To sum up: Great News! Defining the structure of the data required to perform the service is key. Exactly the same structure of the data is returned from the server, therefore preventing excessively large amounts of data from being returned. After all, if you set things up the proper way and learn from the mistakes the pioneers have made, you are on your way to success!
    Topics: way, developers, bad, microservices, good, business, solution, microservice, data, know, ecommerce, ugly, commerce, end.
  • Ecommerce Product Releases: February 15, 2021 - Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-February from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on headless commerce, payment options, live-video shopping, artificial intelligence, collaborative web development, and more.
    Topics: digital, million, pickup, facebook, commerce, product, ecommerce, platform, releases, announced, pay, customers.
  • Ecommerce Product Releases: January 3, 2021 - Here is a list of product releases and updates for late-December from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on augmented reality, fraud prevention, customizable product services,
    Topics: video, ecommerce, platform, digital, users, releases, commerce, shoppable, product, launches, services, shopping.
  • Ecommerce Product Releases: July 15, 2020 - Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-July from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on social commerce, live streaming, payments, experience optimization, and augmented reality storefronts.
    Topics: installments, product, live, payment, commerce, yotpo, platform, ecommerce, brands, merchants, releases, instagram.
  • Ecommerce Product Releases: June 1, 2020 - Here is a list of product releases and updates for late-May from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on social commerce, financial products for merchants, self-service ad platforms, selling on Amazon, and quick-launch commerce services.
    Topics: merchants, commerce, service, quick, platform, free, b2b, ecommerce, facebook, announced, start, releases, product.
  • Ecommerce Product Releases: September 16, 2021 - Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-September from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on team productivity tools, small business financing, subscription sales, logistics, and managing campaigns on Amazon.
    Topics: platform, merchants, announced, square, services, companies, ecommerce, payment, product, releases, commerce, partnership.
  • Electronic commerce: 4 tips to boost your business on the internet - Although digitization is an advantage over businesses that only offer physical sales, various businesses face the challenge of making their e-commerce stand out and generate the expected results.
    Topics: businesses, digital, customers, business, support, offer, experience, opportunities, data, commerce, internet, boost, tips, electronic.
  • Employee Spotlight: Steve Ramage - Steve Ramage is a Senior Software Architect, who has been a part of the Elastic Path team in Vancouver for almost three years. Steve has a master's degree in computer science, and about 11 years of industry experience. Keep reading to learn what it’s like to be a Senior Software Architect at Elastic Path! Q: What does a Senior Software Architect do? Steve: Senior Software Architects at Elastic Path solve problems using our knowledge across applications, database technologies, and distributed systems so the day to day varies a lot based on where we are needed. Q: What gives you the most satisfaction working at Elastic Path?  Q: In your current role, is there something you are most proud of? Steve: What I am most proud of is our integration of OpenID Connect in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. My first project at Elastic Path was working on our OpenID Connect integration in Elastic Path Commerce. Later when we acquired Moltin, we needed to support OpenID Connect in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. There is a saying that “if you learn nothing when building something, what you built was too easy.” But it's not often that you get a second chance to leverage what you learned right away and build something better. Q: How would you describe the culture at Elastic Path? Steve: Elastic Path is a very friendly place to work, with a lot of openness, transparency, and inclusiveness. Q: How has your experience been since shifting to remote work? Have you felt supported? Steve: My experience working remotely has been well supported. Since we are a company that has many employees in different time zones, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of remote working arrangements, and it offered and incredible amount of freedom and work life balance. Q: How has Elastic Path contributed to your career progression/development? Steve: Elastic Path has contributed to my career progression and development in a few ways. One way is that Elastic Path has a generous professional development budget that I have used for training on a number of occasions, such as, Software Architecture, Mongo and Kubernetes. Second, is that the culture here within the teams, are self-organizing and autonomous. We are given latitude to find and develop the best solutions, which often involves learning and exploring new technologies. Q: Thinking back, what were the reasons that made you join Elastic Path? What are the reasons you choose to stay? Steve: I wanted to work at a company that had its technical products as a core part of its business and I wanted to work at a company that had a rich and complex domain as well as tackling problems at scale. Headless API driven commerce ticks both boxes. Q: Tell me about something that motivates you before work or during work? (ie. Music, Exercise, Social breaks etc). Steve: Something that motivates me is being able to go outside during breaks; whether that is before work or if I need a during the middle of the day. I live near a small mountain, so depending on meetings, I try to go out and ride up the mountain during the day. It’s nice to have a break that gives me a chance to meditate on a solution to a problem. Other hobbies I enjoy are, Cycling, Coding, playing Board Games and Reading.   Stay tuned for our next “Inside Elastic Path” series. If you are interested joining our team, check out our open listings and apply today.
    Topics: steve, ramage, software, openid, spotlight, lot, working, senior, employee, inside, path, elastic, day, work, commerce.
  • Ensuring Quality in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud - At Elastic Path, having a quality mindset is the key to providing our customers with the best commerce experience. Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is a composable, microservices-based commerce solution which offers simple, flexible, and powerful APIs. Microservice architecture means Elastic Path Commerce Cloud has a set of loosely coupled, collaborating services. Each service has its own responsibility. However, a set of services need to collaborate to fulfill the needs in most user journeys. For example, a simple user journey where a shopper wants to checkout will require the authentication service for identifying the shopper, catalog service to serve the products plus the cart, orders, inventory, and payment services for checkout. To ensure this journey is working consistently every day after every release, we need thorough testing strategy in place. The following will highlight how testing is done in our software development lifecycle. How do we ensure quality in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud? The engineering team at Elastic Path has defined a test pyramid, inspired by the work of Martin Fowler and Chris Richardson, that follows industry best practices. The pyramid represents the complexity and speed of test execution. From bottom to top, tests at the bottom layer (e.g., Unit Tests) are more isolated (less complex) and faster (speed). The tests at the top (e.g., end-to-end tests) are more complicated in terms of setup and slower because they require a fully deployed environment and various configurations of the software. The diagram on the right describes the service and its relationship to the platform. A service is within a blue box whereas the purple boundary is a group of services integrated together (a deployed functional environment). Test Overview What are the different types of tests we run to ensure quality? Unit Tests Unit tests are the lowest level of the tests. They are the most fundamental layer, focused on a class and functional methods. Unit tests provide the fastest feedback and have minimal dependencies on other parts of the service because they do not require a deployed service. The tests are mostly written in the same language as the production code. The goal is to ensure the business logic within a class and method is tested both positively and negatively. Component Tests Component Tests test a service in isolation from other services. The goal is to ensure the service responsibilities are as expected. The tests are on API level. For example, a POST request to add items to cart is tested by providing the required headers and requested body. Then the success response is validated to ensure the returned status code and body has the right information. We use Cucumber for the test cases and the backing code is in Typescript or Go, depending on the service. The test cases cover all the business requirements that a service is responsible for, including data persistence and event processing. In addition, integration tests with database and messaging are also implemented here. There are test cases to ensure data persistence between the business logic and database. There are also test cases to ensure events are emitted for any API requests that need to emit certain events for consumers to consume. This level of test requires the service and the dependencies (database, message broker) to be running. Contract Tests These tests ensure that service to service communication works as services, often owned by different teams, evolve independently. When a service (consumer) talks to the other service (provider), there is a Contract between them. The consumer expects the provider to provide an agreed response. For example, if a specific field in the provider response (e.g., customer_name) is changed (e.g., to shopper_name), this will break the consumer as it expects customer_name. In this case, it is a breaking change and can impact our customers. We adopt Pactflow as our contract testing broker. The contracts are stored in the Pactflow server. Both provider and consumer services will download the contracts and verify if the contract is still valid during the test run. This gives us confidence in communication between the paired services. End-to-End Tests The goal of these tests is to ensure that services are configured and work correctly in a deployed environment. Our end-to-end tests are written from an end user's perspective. We follow BDD and write tests in Cucumber. Each test scenario describes an end-user's journey when using the public APIs. We have two distinct types of user profiles - a seller or store admin, and the buyer or shopper. Each user profile has different journeys. For example, a seller has journeys like catalog management, promotions management, and orders management. While the shopper has journeys like browsing, registration, and checkout. The tests are executed every time there is a new deployment from any service code changes. This is to ensure the commerce experience is still performing as expected. Any failures stop further release process. In addition, we have scheduled jobs that run the tests against the production environments to ensure the production has no outage or unexpected behaviors. UI Tests We have Commerce Manager which is a web-based user interface that allows business users to manage their stores. The UI tests ensure that each page and their components are functioning as expected. Store admin journeys such as creating products, managing catalog, price books, promotions, orders, and other store settings need to be tested. The test scenarios are written in Cucumber format for readability and the implementation is SeleniumJS. The test uses Chrome driver to simulate the browser and selenium commands to execute the browser interactions (e.g., clicking on buttons). UI testing is usually the slowest of the tests. We utilize the parallel testing feature which allows us to run multiple tests at one time. This significantly cut down our test cycles. To achieve parallel testing, tests are designed to be isolated from each other. This allows us to run any single test at any time without dependencies. Summary At Elastic Path, our entire team is committed to quality. The Test Pyramid outlined above is the guideline that our engineering team follows to ensure our customers have a reliable platform to run their businesses. All tests are run in a continuous delivery pipeline. This gives us confidence in the quality of changes being released to production for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. Stay tuned for future blog posts where we will talk about the non-functional testing we do for performance and security.
    Topics: service, ensure, ensuring, run, path, commerce, cloud, tests, testing, quality, elastic, test, services.
  • Facebook Shops Are an Ecommerce Game Changer - When the world's largest social media network decides to become an ecommerce platform, you can bet it will impact the industry and make a difference long-term. On May 19, 2020, Facebook added ecommerce Shops to Facebook business pages and Instagram business profiles.
    Topics: product, platforms, facebook, changer, game, instagram, commerce, sellers, headless, shops, businesses, ecommerce.
  • Facebook launches commerce and connectivity-focused accelerator programs - Facebook launched two 12-week accelerator programs for startups on Monday as the social juggernaut looks for new ideas and solutions to expand its commerce and connectivity efforts. Facebook’s Commerce Accelerator will select 60 startups from the EMEA and LATAM regions for the program, the company said. The startups that make the cut will explore building […]
    Topics: techcrunch, connectivityfocused, launches, startups, solutions, connectivity, facebook, access, products, accelerator, programs, commerce, company.
  • Flip bags $28M to turn beauty, wellness social commerce on its head - Flip mixes a live commerce mobile app with real customer reviews to improve the buying experience and opportunity for the creator economy.
    Topics: head, agha, beauty, live, streamlined, turn, wellness, experience, ecommerce, brands, techcrunch, flip, bags, ventures, social, 28m, commerce.
  • Full Suite Monolith or Best-of-Breed Solution- Part 2: Digital Maturity - Choosing between a Full Suite Monolith or Best-of-Breed Solution can be a difficult discussion. Some brands are looking for an all in one solution while other brands are looking for a more customizable solution. So which will be the right fit for you? In this episode of Taco 'Bout Composable Commerce, Devon Hillard from Black Magic Consulting gives us the first consideration for choosing full suite monolith or best-of-breed solution: Digital Maturity Shaneil Full Suite monolith or best-of- breed. This can be such a tricky one for brands to decide on, because on one hand, some businesses want something that's quick and easy to set up, so they'd rather have one vendor provide everything. Only to find out that set up can be a bit too rigid for their requirements. Now, on the other hand, we have businesses that want something that's highly innovative and highly customizable, like best of breeds solutions. But that's usually associated with more complexity and can seem a little bit more daunting to compose. So, which one is going to be right for you? Well, today we have Devon Hillard, from Black Magic Consulting, and he's here to Taco' Bout it! So with these pros and cons, what are the main things that businesses should be looking out for in deciding whether or not they should go with full suite or best-of-breed? So speed, flexibility, agility. Those are becoming even more important. So now that we've spoken about features, what's next?   Devon I think the next thing really is for company to understand their digital maturity. And you mentioned that earlier in our discussion. But when we talk about Composable Commerce or best-of-breed commerce solutions, we are really talking about taking, you know, could be two or it could be dozens of independent solutions and weaving them together into a complete offering. And that requires either a kind of strong in house technical team and knowledge and investment in being a technology company, as well as, a commerce company and a retail company. Or it means a very strong partnership with a system integration partner who has that leadership, that knowledge and that technical skill set to design, build, and maintain that integration network of those kind of components to build the overall solution. So, I think digital maturity is a really big piece of whether or not a company could be successful with a Composable Commerce approach or not. And there's no shame in saying, "Hey, we're focused on being a retailer. We're not, you know, really invested in being a technology company, and we don't have you know, that level of strong technical team in house and we don't have that kind of partnership with a third party integrator." There's no shame in that. Better to admit that upfront than to stumble down a road that you simply can't maintain as you're going.   Shaneil Absolutely, I think we've echoed that point so much, we're not saying one is necessarily better than the other. But based on the circumstance that you're in or the situation that you're in, you may not be at the level of digital maturity required to deliver a Composable Commerce approach. Absolutely. And the last thing that you mentioned, I believe, is cost. So what? What are your thoughts on that    
    Topics: suite, composable, youre, solution, really, company, bestofbreed, monolith, commerce, thats, right, think, digital.
  • Going Headless: Governing Content and Capabilities Guest Blog -   The need for purpose-built marketing capabilities has created a demand for modular backend services, resulting in a move away from monolithic Digital Experience Platform (DXP) solutions. Expectations for Digital Experience (DX) are now greater than ever, and we continue to see growing budgets dedicated to digital transformation. To set our clients up for success, we work with them to provide the most flexibility from the start. This includes orchestrating content from multiple sources as well as leveraging Machine Learning to unlock the value of customer data and drive one-to-one interactions across channels at scale. Adopting a decoupled architecture lets us combine capabilities from multiple vendors and capabilities developed internally. This gives us the ability to produce solutions tailored to our client's business that can be extended over time as capabilities become available. Single platform DXPs offer predictability by providing best practices around implementation and workflows. The finite set of capabilities, however, that make a DXP predictable becomes an obstacle as needs evolve. Decoupled systems help solve some of the limitations of the single-platform approach. Combining backend services allows organizations to compose the best-of-breed solutions tailored to their needs. But tailored fit and adaptability provided by decoupling systems create the need for additional governance since we lose the guardrails that we get with a single-system solution. When we say headless, decoupled, or composable, we are talking about business capabilities delivered through APIs that can be combined into larger solutions. Moving to a composable architecture brings power and flexibility, but also requires a more API-centric mindset, and in many cases, a new way of doing things therefore we need to approach it as a program for it to scale. If we look at large-scale adoption, here are things to consider as you get going: Have business goals and sponsorship; Start with a strategic pilot; Identify a team(s) with proper skills and augment where necessary; Design the Experience Architecture; Have a Design System; Establish Experience Operations. Define Your Goals You will need to clearly define a set of goals around headless and the business value they unlock. Goals should be easy to understand and ideally have a value and be bound by a cost and date, something like, "The improved user experience delivered by decoupling systems will increase conversion by 3 percent during holiday peak." Whether it's capabilities, cost, and/or agility, get it out there. It will serve as a general reference and provide plans to demonstrate value in early releases. The move to a decoupled system will impact how departments collaborate, and communicating goals clearly across the organization is key to getting the alignment needed for success. Leadership needs to buy into the broad vision early and understand the near-term goals to provide the support required to make the project successful. A headless program will span multiple teams and will most certainly face some initial headwinds. Aligning on the long-term aspirational vision, some achievable short-term goals, timing, and the value you’re looking to bring to the business will help leaders embrace the program and help teams understand how it will impact them. You will be explaining things often and to a variety of audiences. We recommend using clear language that is accessible to all levels. Having shared goals defined, understood, and supported by leadership will get the buy-in needed to succeed and avoid many headaches. Run a Pilot Program A successful pilot simplifies messaging by quickly demonstrating value, building the trust needed to unlock the budgets for more significant initiatives. A well-designed pilot avoids the institutional headwinds common to high-visibility projects by acting as the reference model for introducing new processes and capabilities. Making the pilot low-friction and showing tangible results provides valuable evidence needed for internal stakeholders to buy-in. A well-designed pilot illustrates the story around the tools, gets adjacent teams thinking about their use cases, and avoids getting people too caught up in technical details. Make it something you can deliver in less than a quarter. In contrast, more significant initiatives have more organizational inertia to overcome and get more political. When taking a monolithic or a hybrid approach, where we weave headless features into a preexisting system, we increase the institutional complexity, slowing progress and introducing risk. By starting with a successful high-visibility pilot, you demystify the tools which reduce stress and prepare the organization for some of the operational change associated with updated workflows. Assemble a Team There is no out-of-the-box for headless. The primary team will start to establish the standard practices around decoupled systems and support them through enablement. That will require experienced business and technical leads with a clear vision defined by business goals and the resources to deliver the vision with fidelity. The initial team will be responsible for architecting and delivering the pilot and the vision for expansion. A decoupled architecture requires heightened collaboration between creative and technical departments. Therefore, the primary team will need to have the right cross-functional hard and soft skills to bridge any communication gaps. As the project evolves out of the pilot phase, units that can operate autonomously will start working more closely as a shared core model gets established. It is essential to have the right mix of institutional knowledge and experience to hit the ground running. A standard solution is to set up hybrid teams using both internal and external resources. Use consultants to act as guides for the initial phases. Experience is critical, use contracted talent to augment your internal team as they develop expertise on the platforms and best practices. Also, contract resources to smooth any spike in resources needed to launch the initiative. Individual product vendors can provide excellent guidance within their platform. Still, their expertise and worldview remain skewed to their product, so they are not incentivized to guide the high-level architecture. Define your Taxonomy and Experience Architecture  Content is the fundamental building block of a composable architecture. We need a structured approach to content in order to drive successful journeys. The taxonomy formalizes how we classify and catalog content. By standardizing the types of content and structure, we can work at scale. The taxonomy gives us the structure to define metadata which simplifies content management and provides the hooks needed to deliver connected cross-channel experiences, personalization, and machine learning, across touchpoints and business units. A well-crafted taxonomy gives us the hooks we will need to introduce the advanced features the business is asking for. Experience Architecture articulates the user journeys we need to deliver and acts as a guide for mapping personalized content. We have to account for evolving content and data sources like UGC, search, analytics, customer data, machine learning, and an array of personalization engines which will be combined to deliver contextual experiences across channels. We have the content and signals to design highly personalized customer experiences. But we need to account for the business user experience. There need to be well-defined processes and interfaces for business users or journey creation will become a bottleneck. An optimal authoring experience is intuitive and designed around how the business operates, allowing team members to do routine tasks independently without hopping between systems. The internal authoring experience that manages interactions with back-end systems needs to be defined in a way that remains intuitive. The Experience Architecture and taxonomy give us what we need to define the high-level architecture that can evolve as our marketing capabilities grow over time. Establish Design System Design Systems unlock the communication between marketing and engineering. To deliver personalized content, marketing needs to deliver more content faster. Creative has a different cadence than engineering, which becomes a point of contention. A solid design system that embraces the principles of Atomic Design provides a vocabulary that abstracts content creation from the engineering needed to deliver it. A complete design system lets the marketing folks design, author, and publish across channels without the help of a developer. But more importantly, it provides a framework for marketing to request enhancements using a common language. It then allows engineering to develop the enhancements with technical rigor in a reusable way that integrates with company data and personalization platforms. Finally, the design system establishes the vocabulary that engineering can work with to build, support, and evolve the tools marketing uses all day. A design system is a set of standards to manage design at scale by reducing redundancy while creating a shared language and visual consistency across different pages and channels. - Nielsen Norman Group .otro-blockquote{ font-size: 1.2em; width:100%; margin:50px auto; font-family:gilroy; font-style:italic; color: #555555; padding:1.2em 30px 1.2em 75px; border-left:8px solid #ea7317 ; line-height:1.6; position: relative; background:#EDEDED; } .otro-blockquote::before{ font-family:gilroy; content: "\201C"; color:#ea7317; font-size:6.5em; font-weight: 600; position: absolute; left: 2px; top:-20px; } .otro-blockquote::after{ content: ''; } .otro-blockquote span{ display:block; color:#333333; font-style: normal; font-weight: bold; margin-top:1em; } Experience Operations: How We Deliver Experiences at Scale Experience Operations (XOps) streamlines the operational tasks required to deliver experiences with better velocity and stability. Analogous to DevOps, XOps is a set of processes that optimize the reliable deployment of new and updated experiences by combining QA and Operations with content creation. With a defined experience architecture and design system, we have a blueprint for building journeys and their associated experiences. But we need processes that give business users' ability to access capabilities and assemble experiences regardless of the mix of content services available. We also need to provide creatives the agility to design experiences while fostering creativity and experimentation. As the platform scales with the business, we need to maintain delivery and authoring usability. We need an architecture that can grow as our audience grows while delivering complex experiences during peak traffic. We also need a simple and powerful authoring experience to serve many business users with minimal enablement. Using Packaged Business Capabilities (PBC), we can break monolithic systems into logical blocks of composable elements that can pivot to the needs of the business and gracefully scale. In addition, building content and experience pipelines simplify and accelerate production by automating testing and deployment at the experience level. And finally, by breaking functionality into smaller business-specific components, we can build continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) tools that bring speed and reliability. Composable Architecture Offers a Competitive Advantage Successfully implementing a composable architecture offers a competitive advantage by adding capabilities, increasing marketing agility, and unlocking creativity. Moving to a decoupled architecture can be complex, but with a bit of planning and solid communication, it is possible to demonstrate value quickly. Most importantly, it unlocks customer value by providing the best-in-class user experience they deserve.
    Topics: guest, commerce, pilot, business, deliver, experiences, content, blog, experience, architecture, need, design, capabilities, headless.
  • Growth of e commerce in Singapore| 2018 - Growth of e commerce in Singapore| 2018 E-commerce is not just basically the buying and selling of products over the internet. It is far more than that I had explained in my previous articles If you want more about ecommerce you should read these articles also What is Ecommerce? Top 10 E-Commerce Benefits and Limitation […]
    Topics: commerce, singapore, growth.
  • Happy WooCommerce Day - Say hello to WooCommerce Day: A day to give back to the incredible WooCommerce community and to celebrate all the store owners, site builders, extension developers, partners, friends, and families at its core. For its inaugural year, we’re keeping the celebration simple: we’re offering 40% off everything in the WooCommerce.com Marketplace. What better way to […]
    Topics: empower, inspiration, youre, commerce, ecommerce, woocommerce, day, happy, inspire, community, members.
  • Headless commerce startup Swell raises $3.4M - While new headless commerce platforms are emerging all the time, Swell CEO Eric Ingram told me that it remains “really hard to do something new in e-commerce.” Specifically, he told me that most headless platforms (which offer back-end infrastructure separate from the front-end shopping experience) allow businesses to build a faster shopping experience, but they’re […]
    Topics: flexibility, told, startup, ingram, platform, technical, headless, product, swell, commerce, voydik, techcrunch, ceo, shopping, 34m, raises.
  • How Guideposts Successfully Scaled Its Business with Magento Commerce - In early 2020, Guideposts, a leading source for faith-based media products, partnered with Rave Digital to help with a rapid upgrade from Magento 1 to Magento Commerce, hosted in the cloud. Read more.
    Topics: increase, scaled, business, platform, partner, guideposts, successfully, magento, ecommerce, digital, commerce, core.
  • How Startups Can Leverage Social Commerce - Social media remains and affordably effective tool for establishing brand visibility.
    Topics: target, strategy, social, content, leverage, brand, way, commerce, startups, marketing, brands, media.
  • How Was Elastic Path Positioned in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce? And, Why? - If you are evaluating software (regardless of type) you’ve likely completed many google searches. Whether to find alternative vendors to consider or to read reviews, we find that our customers rely heavily on Google to kick off their search process. Often, these searches result in buyers reviewing lots of different vendor information, including analyst reports such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. After the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce published, we’ve had several questions from customers and prospects about how to use the report, how to understand where Elastic Path was placed, and what we have to say about our cautions & strengths. This blog seeks to provide clarity on these topics! How To Use The Gartner Magic Quadrant The Gartner Magic can be a helpful resource to understand various different markets and the various vendors within those markets. We recommend using it as a tool to help you understand the vendor landscape for digital commerce. For the most recent Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, it is important to remember that the data collection process began in April 2021 and the report is not published until September 2021, so a lot can change in the five-month period. For that reason, we would encourage you to reach out to vendors directly to learn about their latest offerings. In addition, a commonly used asset for most of our customers during their evaluation process is the eCommerce Buyers Guide. This is a great tool to help you understand which solutions are a fit for your specific business needs. Elastic Path Is a Visionary This year Elastic Path was proud to be positioned as a visionary. Gartner defines visionaries as: Visionaries demonstrate the ability to disrupt established commerce markets through innovation. They may incorporate new technologies or architectural approaches into their platforms, use creative pricing strategies or focus on a narrow market segment. They often win new customers quickly because they have identified an underserved niche in the market — one not addressed by Leaders or Challengers Elastic Path Cautions & Strengths in the Magic Quadrant For every vendor in the Magic Quadrant Gartner includes strengths and cautions. These call-outs are a source of information for brands as they begin to evaluate vendors. Since Gartner is just one source, I would encourage brands to speak to vendors directly regarding both their challenges and strengths. With this understanding established, I’d like to take this opportunity to speak to the Magic Quadrant cautions and strengths for Elastic Path. Cautions 1) Execution The first area of caution from Gartner was execution: “Elastic Path had much slower customer growth compared to the competition, and its network of service partners barely changed from the year before. Since the acquisition of Moltin’s technology in January 2020, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud still has a gap to fill to achieve feature parity with Elastic Path Commerce, and has not migrated many customers from Elastic Path Commerce”. Below I will provide some color on Gartner’s points: Customer growth: As noted above, in January 2020 Elastic Path acquired Moltin and re-branded the product as Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. As with most acquisitions, the first-year post-acquisition was focused on aligning our teams and developing a product roadmap for success. However, in the last six months (which were not evaluated by the Magic Quadrant) we have seen a major uptick in customer growth, specifically for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, including new customers Harper Collins, ISSA, JAMF, and more. We see this momentum as a clear sign of our execution and growth trajectory. Feature Parity: At Elastic Path we have two products: Elastic Path Commerce Cloud (via acquisition of Moltin in January 2020) and Elastic Path Commerce (our original product). Each product offering meets a different set of technical requirements and business needs for brands. You can learn more about our two products here: Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is our composable, API-first, microservices-based Headless Commerce solution. This product is for digitally driven branded manufacturers who need the control to go-to-market and quickly optimize across business models (B2B, B2C/ D2C, B2B2C), geos, brands, and touchpoints with ease. Some of our Elastic Path Commerce Cloud customers include Deckers Brands, Pella Windows & Doors, and Hobie Kayaks. Elastic Path Commerce is our purpose-built Headless Commerce platform for telco, utilities companies and those who sell regulated goods. This product gives brands the absolute control over their data and infrastructure with the ability to deploy on-premise or via private cloud. Some of our Elastic Path Commerce customers include Republic Services, T.Mobile, and Comcast. We will continue to serve the diverse needs of brands with these two products. For this reason, we do not feel that feature parity between our products is a relevant evaluation criterion. Our Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product roadmap is driven by customer feedback and market trends, not our need to develop feature parity across products. Elastic Path Commerce Cloud has the core capabilities, third party integrations, and multi-vendor experience assurance for brands who want to power digital differentiation across multiple routes to market. Migration Plans: Similarly, to the previous point, it’s important to remember that Elastic Path Commerce and Elastic Path Commerce Cloud are best suited for different types of customers. We are committed to continuing to serve those customers and their use cases with two separate solutions. We have seen several Elastic Path Commerce customers consider a future on Elastic Path Commerce Cloud as the use cases it fulfills are more closely aligned with their needs but. Since we are the only vendor that provides both an on-premise offering that allows for ultimate control (Elastic Path Commerce) and a cloud offering (Elastic Path Commerce Cloud) that allows for ultimate flexibility and speed, our clients don’t have to jump vendors to leverage a solution that best fits their needs. Our goal is to support our customers on the product that best fits their needs, therefore, we disagree with Gartner’s sentiment that we should be trying to migrate our customers to Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. 2) Product positioning The second caution from Gartner was “Product Positioning”: "Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is positioned as the cutting edge product due to its microservices, API-first, cloud-native and headless (MACH) architecture, and the vendor uses this messaging often in its overall marketing. Yet a majority of customers are still on Elastic Path Commerce, which contributes the most to Elastic Path’s revenue. I have already shared some key points on this caution above but, in summary, while Gartner views our two-product strategy as a challenge, we see it as a strength. We have two products for two different types of customers. Based on their unique needs, we make a recommendation on the best product fit for them. 3) Out-of-the-Box Functionality: The third caution from Gartner was “out-of-the-box functionality”: "Compared to the competition, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud has fewer OOTB user roles and configuration options, promotions, and the analytics dashboard is barely usable. It also lacks key B2B functions such as workflows and organizational hierarchy.” There are two key facts to consider when reading Gartner’s caution around out-of-the-box functionality: As I stated in the introduction, this report was submitted in April 2021 which was 5 months ago. Our rate of release at Elastic Path is extremely rapid and we have completed about 25+ releases since then (10+ more releases that our nearest competitor). This caution does not take into account many of our newly released or enhanced capabilities such as Catalog Composer, Product Content Management, upgraded Promotions, enhancements to B2B functionality like Role-Based Access Control & Account Management, and much more. I’d encourage anyone evaluating commerce solutions to check out the changelog for a detailed look at all releases, or the Product Innovations page for a summary of key releases with demos. In addition, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is a composable solution meaning we prioritize offering core commerce capabilities combined with a flexible, open framework and robust third-party integrations so that our customer can compose “best-for-me" commerce solutions. We do not intend to offer all functionality out-of-the-box because we know no vendor can be the best at everything and we know our customers would prefer to integrate their chosen search, personalization, OMS, etc. vendors. We believe that the vendor that provides the most out-of-the-box functionality is the vendor that locks you in and doesn’t allow for ongoing innovation and optimization. For that reason, we will never have the same level of out-of-the-box functionality that platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento have. And, we’re perfectly happy with that! If you’re struggling to determine what type of vendor is best for your commerce strategy, check out our Buyer’s Guide to learn more. Strengths In addition to challenges, the Magic Quadrant also calls out strengths of each vendor. We are thrilled with the areas of strength that we were recognized for in the Magic Quadrant this year, they include: Architecture: Gartner celebrated Elastic Path for our API-first implementation style for both products and specifically called out the cloud-native and modular architecture of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. This modern, de-coupled architecture allows us to release faster than any other commerce vendor so that new capabilities are always available for our customers. And, since Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is 100% cloud-native, version-less (unlike other microservices solutions), and backwards compatible our customers never have to worry about upgrades or scalability. Extensibility: Elastic Path was recognized by Gartner for our Composable Commerce Hub which enables brands to more easily leverage a Composable Commerce approach whether they want to custom compose their solution from accelerators, or rapidly launch with a business-ready Pre-Composed Solution™. These assets reduce the time and hours it takes brands to design, launch, and optimize a multi-vendor solution by completing some, or most, of the integration work for them. Industry Span: Gartner recognized us for our vast industry span from brand manufacturing to life sciences to telecom. This span is thanks to our two-product strategy which enables us to meet the needs of a variety of different use cases and industries. When a prospect approaches Elastic Path, we work with them on an individual basis to determine their specific needs and make a recommendation on which product will best meet them. For this reason, we have been able to grow our community to include a wide range of happy customers. What Gartner Missed While we do feel that the visionary definition describes our strategy to make innovative, modern commerce technology accessible to all brands, there are some key elements of our offering that Gartner missed and you should be aware of. Pre-Composed Solutions™: While Gartner did mention “pre-integrated applications”, they did not provide much color on this element of our offering. We believe that MACH (microservices, APIs, cloud, headless) architecture is a key element of innovative commerce (Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is built on MACH) but, in order for brands that do not have a highly experienced and digitally advanced team to take advantage of this technology they need the composition element to be de-risked. Pre-Composed Solutions do just that. These business-ready solutions pre-compose Elastic Path commerce capabilities, 3rd party applications, and key customizations to provide the fastest way to launch and start driving revenue while leveraging a Composable Commerce approach. By pre-integrated Elastic Path and third-party solutions (like Algolia for search, Contentful or Amplience for CMS, etc.), we remove the manual effort of stitching multiple solutions together from your team’s to-do list. Our library of Pre-Composed Solutions™ includes use-case specific assets for advanced B2B commerce, dealer-enabled D2C commerce, omnichannel commerce, retail-specific commerce, and more. Catalog Composer & Product Content Management: Catalog and product data management in today’s commerce platforms is dated and rigid. These solutions were built before brands had multiple dynamic routes-to-market and therefore, cannot support multiple accounts, business models, brands, geographies, or touchpoints without expensive and time-consuming customizations or workarounds. At Elastic Path we’ve reinvented catalog management so that you can finally keep up with the omnichannel needs of your business. Catalog Composer is built on the industry’s only fully decoupled omnichannel catalog architecture, introduced as part of Product Content Management, where products, hierarchies, and price books are all independent services within Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. These capabilities streamline the otherwise arduous process of creating and managing eCommerce catalogs, resulting in a 5x time reduction compared to other eCommerce solutions. Composable Commerce XA™: Another perceived area of risk with Composable Commerce centers around managing a solution composed of numerous different applications, all with their own support teams. For many brands questions like “Who do I call when an issue arises? How do I identify the root cause? Who will help me resolve it?” get in the way of committing to headless, microservices commerce. Composable Commerce XA™ includes multi-vendor proprietary monitoring and holistic issue management so brands have one single place to call when an issue arises and a trusted partner to navigate the issue across their solution. With Composable Commerce XA™ brands can confidently embrace a Composable Commerce approach- without the risks of managing multiple solutions. In summary, while Gartner is a trusted partner of Elastic Path and many other vendors and brands, the Magic Quadrant should be used as one source for brands completing commerce evaluations, not the only source. In addition to the Magic Quadrant, one of the primary resources our prospects find helpful when evaluating commerce vendors is the eCommerce Buyers Guide. Click here to learn more now!
    Topics: product, brands, magic, commerce, customers, gartner, path, elastic, digital, cloud, solutions, quadrant, positioned.
  • How You Can Contribute to the Composable Commerce Hub - Your ability to create unique commerce experiences is crucial for keeping up with customer needs and outpacing the competition. But, creating “best-for-me" commerce solutions that power delightful customer experiences is easier said than done. This need is exactly why Elastic Path advocates for Composable Commerce. Composable Commerce is an approach that enables marketing, merchandising, and sales teams to bring their brand's unique digital vision to life by launching and continuously optimizing digital commerce experiences that leverage multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete, business-ready solution. In an effort to make Composable Commerce more accessible, Elastic Path created the Composable Commerce Hub, our re-invention of the traditional vendor marketplace. The Composable Commerce Hub is home to a variety of assets from integrations, to reference experiences and business-ready Pre-Composed Solutions™. The majority of these assets are created and shared by our partner community.  As a partner-first organization, Elastic Path strives to make it easy for our technology partners to contribute assets to the Composable Commerce Hub. By joining the Composable Commerce Hub partners gain exposure within our customer and prospect community and can partner with more branded manufacturers to compose their complete commerce solution. The Elastic Path Alliances team is committed to providing resources needed by our partners to move fast and reliably succeed in creating certifiable Composable Commerce assets. While we keep the touchpoints light to respect partners’ desire for process independence, we are always ready to offer help with technical questions, marketing programs, and go-to-market activities when needed. The asset contribution process starts with the Asset Contribution Kickoff session involving technical and business members of the Elastic Path Partner Solutions and Enablement team and representatives of the contributing partner organization. The purpose of this session is to initiate the contribution process, inform the contributing partner of the resources available in Elastic Path to support their effort, as well as to clarify the asset contribution and certification process steps. Steps on the way to asset certification include optional Ideation and design workshops, which are customizable consulting sessions aimed at helping the contributing partner development teams with design or development issues they might encounter in building the asset. In order to be certified, the asset has to comply with a number of design, technical, and support requirements. To ensure successful compliance, the contributing partners are provided with the Asset Contribution Guide at the outset. The Asset Contribution Guide contains all the necessary information needed to ensure the development of an asset certifiable by Elastic Path. The Composable Commerce Hub Asset Certification Evaluation is a step in the process whereby Partner Support & Enablement technical specialists evaluate the submitted finished asset. When an asset is submitted for certification, it also triggers corresponding parallel go-to-market activities coordinated by Elastic Path Alliances and Marketing teams. If the submitted asset passes the evaluation, assuming a positive outcome of the go-to-market process, the asset is listed on Elastic Path’s Composable Commerce Hub as a certified asset. To ensure the long-term viability of assets listed on the Composable Commerce Hub, we are introducing the Asset Re-certification process. For assets developed for Elastic Path Commerce product, the re-certification process is driven by the version changes in the Elastic Path Commerce product and is aimed at ensuring compatibility with the latest version of Elastic Path Commerce. For assets developed for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product, an asset certification process is an annual event. Upkeep and maintenance of listed assets are critical not just for the long-term viability of the asset itself, but for the credibility and prominence of the contributing partner as well. If you have an idea for an asset you would like to contribute to the Composable Commerce Hub, contact us here to get started.
    Topics: assets, asset, hub, contribute, path, commerce, elastic, process, partner, contribution, composable.
  • How to Avoid Channel Conflict When Launching a D2C Website For the First Time - Times have changed for branded manufacturers who traditionally sold only through third party dealers. At Elastic Path, we see proof of this every day. More and more brands are eager to expand their reach and connect with customers by selling directly to them. These brands often come to us looking for a partner to help them drive new digital revenue through D2C AND keep their existing dealer relationships. In this post, we will dive deep into this trend and explain how Elastic Path can now help businesses avoid channel conflict when launching a D2C (direct-to-consumer) thanks to our newly launched Pre-Composed Solution™ for Dealer-Enabled D2C Commerce.   Why D2C Now?   There isn’t one single reason why brands are embracing D2C with more enthusiasm now than ever before. But, there are several contributing factors to consider: Customers want to buy direct: As customers become more comfortable with purchasing via digital channels, they are less likely to visit their local brick and-mortar distributor. Instead, they want to go straight to the brands website to quickly and easily make a purchase. According to a PYMNTS report, “the use of online direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels to purchase consumer-packaged goods (CPG) has grown by 50.1 percent since the pandemic began” Pressure to drive growth with digital: Many brands are feeling the pressure from their c-suites and boards to drive increased digital commerce revenue. Whereas digital commerce was once a small portion of total revenue, we now see it making up a larger share of businesses focus. Brands are looking for new ways to increase this revenue source, such as launching D2C. Freedom to innovate & differentiate: When a brand adds a D2C channel, they no longer have to conform to dealer regulations. This empowers them to display a broader product range, control their pricing and discounts, use their preferred content, and speak in their own brand voice. Brands long for this control as it means they can finally create truly unique experiences that differentiate them from the competition and “wow” customers. As markets become more crowded, this differentiation is critical. The Covid-19 Pandemic: There are two main reasons the pandemic accelerated digital commerce growth. First, many brick-and-mortar stores closed up shop for safety reasons. This meant that brands who relied heavily on in-person shopping needed to find another way to drive revenue. Many of these brands, went direct-to-consumer for the first time. A second reason was availability. During the pandemic many dealers struggled to stay fully stocked on key products. The manufacturers of those brands prioritized keeping their limited products to sell directly to consumers for the highest ROI. According to eMarketer, US D2C eCommerce sales grew 45.5% last year—generating $111B and making up 14% of total retail ecommerce sales. Facing the Reality of Channel Conflict It’s clear that there is a massive opportunity for brands who want to launch D2C commerce for the first time. But before going all-in on D2C, brands need to consider how their new D2C business will impact their existing dealer partners and if it will cause channel conflict. Simply put, channel conflict is when two or more partners in a sales channel oppose each other. In this case, brands need to make sure that they are not competing against their dealer partners. Neglecting to evaluate channel conflict to the point where you alienate your dealers can cause brands to: Lose access to customers who have strong, loyal relationships to your brand, specifically through your dealers Lose a vital distribution channel, especially when it comes to brick-and-mortar Blindside your dealer partners, damaging relationships and negatively impacting your bottom line   Adapting a Multi-Channel Strategy   If this sounds like a challenge your business is currently facing, do not fear! Many brands have navigated channel conflict when launching D2C commerce for the first time and you can too. A thoughtful, multi-channel strategy can help you reap the benefits of both going D2C and keeping your dealer partnerships intact. For example, enabling consumers to purchase on your direct site and picking up at a dealer location. Brands who embrace a multi-channel strategy are able to drive rapid growth, power convenient experiences for your customers (regardless of how they choose to shop), and supercharge brand differentiation. But how do I adopt a multi-channel strategy? Great question. One of the key enablers to successfully going multi-channel is technology. Flexible digital commerce technology that empowers brands to customize per their unique use cases, easily integrate with core third party technology, and launch in weeks, not months –is key to multi-channel success. That is exactly why Elastic Path is announcing our new Pre-Composed Solution™ for Dealer-Enabled D2C Commerce, built by our partner Cnetric.   Pre-Composed Solution™ for Dealer-Enabled D2C Commerce Elastic Path eliminates the complexity of launching a dealer-integrated D2C channel by pre-assembling core commerce functionality from Elastic Path with Contentful for CMS, Algolia for search, and Stripe for payments. Go to Solution New: Pre-Composed Solution™ for Dealer-Enabled D2C Commerce   At Elastic Path, we understand the need to balance speed to business results and the ability to customize for your unique use cases. While API-first commerce is a great fit for innovation, some solutions are extremely time consuming to launch and optimize. That is exactly why we offer Pre-Composed Solutions™. These business-ready solutions are pre-composed from a combination of Elastic Path commerce capabilities, 3rdparty integrations, and customizations that brands can use to quickly deploy a commerce solution; with greater flexibility and less risk. Our new Pre-Composed Solution™ for Dealer-Enabled D2C Commerce, built by Elastic Path partner Cnetric, reduces the complexity of composing and launching a net-new D2C channel by combining core commerce capabilities from Elastic Path, a D2C storefront built on REACT , Contentful for content management, Algolia for search, and Stripe for payments. This solution also eliminates channel conflict by integrating a dealer portal for fulfillment management so that orders placed online can be picked up in store or shipped from store. Plus, since this solution is built using microservices-based architecture and Cnetric’s Universal Commerce Framework, it’s easy and fast to optimize on demand as customer needs and competitive pressures change. Brands can switch out preferred third party technology such as their CMS or search provider in as little as 30 minutes. Core functionality includes: D2C web & mobile storefront built on REACT Pre-Integrated Best-of-Breed Technology Contentful for CMS Algolia for search Stripe for payments Builtt on Cnetric's Unicerval Commerce Suite which enables low code/no code swapping of technology partners as neeeded Fully Integrated dealer portal Inventory management updates process in real-time to the storefront Pickup and delivery order processing with order status updates to customers Support for curbside pickup   We'd love to connect on how this Pre-Composed Solution™ for Dealer-Enabled D2C Commerce could help you launch a D2C channel without creating channel conflict. Reach out today or, join us for a live “All Demo-No Pitch” session of this Pre-Composed Solution™ on August 25th. Register Here.
    Topics: path, precomposed, launching, d2c, channel, solution, website, brands, dealer, conflict, avoid, elastic, digital, commerce.
  • IDC Technology Spotlight Highlights BigCommerce and Acumatica Partnership - As customer expectations rise around the entire shopping experience, from discovery to delivery, the competition has also closed in, making…
    Topics: b2c, spotlight, highlights, acumatica, systems, erp, organizations, partnership, legacy, technology, b2b, bigcommerce, idc, digital, commerce.
  • Indian social commerce DealShare raises $144 million, eyes international expansion - High-profile investors are doubling down on their bets to explore the future of social commerce in India. DealShare said on Thursday it has raised $144 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its presence in the South Asian market and eye opportunities in international markets. The new financing round, a Series […]
    Topics: startup, indian, eyes, commerce, expansion, million, round, international, ecommerce, capital, potential, social, shopping, techcrunch, raises, dealshare.
  • Indian social commerce Meesho valued at $2.1 billion in new $300 million fundraise - Meesho said on Monday it has raised $300 million in a new financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 as the Indian social commerce startup works to become the “single ecosystem that will enable all small businesses to succeed online.” The new round — a Series E — gives the five-year-old startup a valuation […]
    Topics: investment, fundraise, businesses, social, softbank, online, commerce, startup, billion, techcrunch, indian, small, meesho, valued, million.
  • India’s ElasticRun raises $75 million to grow its commerce platform for neighborhood stores - A startup that is helping more than 125,000 neighborhood stores in India secure working capital, inventory from top brands and work with e-commerce firms to boost revenues said on Thursday it has raised a new financing round as it looks to further its reach in the world’s second-largest internet market. Pune-based ElasticRun said it has […]
    Topics: raises, indias, elasticrun, firms, startup, stores, neighborhood, ecommerce, startups, platform, techcrunch, round, ventures, commerce, million, grow, secure.
  • Italy’s Commerce Layer raises $16M led by Coatue for its headless commerce platform - “Headless” commerce — a set of tools that companies can use with their own customized front ends to build apps for selling goods and services — have become a huge business, not just because companies are seeing a bigger demand than ever before for people buying online, but because those companies are generally more focused […]
    Topics: techcrunch, coatue, 16m, raises, tools, platform, ecommerce, round, layer, headless, build, commerce, italys, companies, led, building.
  • Italy’s Commerce Layer raises $6M led by Benchmark for its headless e-commerce platform - In the world of commerce, the last few months have underscored the fact that every retailer, brand and entity that sells or distributes something needs to have a digital strategy. Today, one of the startups that’s built a platform aimed at giving them more control in that process is announcing a Series A to continue […]
    Topics: ecommerce, platform, led, benchmark, startup, raises, italys, commerce, number, techcrunch, online, investors, headless, layer, italy, fact.
  • June: ecommerce events in Europe - It’s June and, slowly, Europe is getting more and more vaccinated. For now, physically visiting ecommerce events is still not a real option, but there are a few interesting ones you can visit online. Let’s have a look at what’s possible this month. June 9: Intershop Commerce Talks: Order Management… Continue reading
    Topics: visit, digital, summer, online, commerce, events, webinar, event, ecommerce, europe.
  • Lightspeed buys Ecwid for $500M; NuOrder for $425M in ongoing e-commerce consolidation play - Lightspeed has picked up two more companies in what is shaping up to be an acquisition spree for the Canadian point-of-sale software provider. The company today announced that it would acquire e-commerce platform Ecwid for $500 million, and NuOrder, a B2B ordering platform servicing wholesales, brands and retailers, for $425 million. Together, the two deals underscore […]
    Topics: ecommerce, million, nuorder, play, consolidation, platform, techcrunch, commerce, retail, 500m, ongoing, lightspeed, retailers, merchants, ecwid, buys, company.
  • Live video shopping startup Talkshoplive brings in another $6M - Five months after announcing a $3 million seed round from Spero Ventures, shopping-focused live video host Talkshoplive is back, this time with a $6 million seed extension led by Raine Ventures.
    Topics: moore, startup, video, 6m, talkshoplive, round, million, brings, commerce, raine, seed, shopping, live, techcrunch, company, ventures.
  • Livestream e-commerce: Why companies and brands need to tune in - Livestreaming is a new pillar that brands must consider when building omnichannel marketing strategies, joining the trinity of in-store experiences, traditional e-commerce and social media.
    Topics: livestream, brands, shop, techcrunch, buy, million, shopping, china, raised, companies, livestreams, ecommerce, commerce, products, need, tune.
  • Magento Community vs Enterprise vs BigCommerce: What’s the Right Choice for Your Business? - For many, the name Magento goes hand in hand with ecommerce. The open-source platform, now owned by Adobe, is written…
    Topics: bigcommerce, enterprise, source, need, vs, magento, community, commerce, open, platform, security.
  • Mailchimp moves into e-commerce - Over the course of the last few years, Mailchimp morphed from a basic newsletter platform to a fully fledged marketing company. And while the service already offered integrations with a number of e-commerce sites, it is now launching its own online stores for small and medium businesses, as well as a new appointment booking service. […]
    Topics: users, plans, company, marketing, customers, commerce, moves, mailchimp, ecommerce, features, techcrunch, transaction, pay.
  • Make it Big 2020 Spotlight: Sell Where Your Customers Are With a Social Commerce Strategy with Nathan Lam - Social media has transformed the marketing space over the last decade, and now social commerce follows a similar narrative. In…
    Topics: bigcommerce, session, lam, products, commerce, think, ecommerce, way, big, work, social, nathan, facebook.
  • New Release: B2B Account Management Enhancements - Following the recent blog for the release of Account Management for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, we've now added support so you can start managing your accounts within Commerce Manager, the ability to allow account members to login via a username and password, and support for Addresses for an account. Commerce Manager Support We first released Account Management via our beta APIs, this most recent release brings the following capabilities into Commerce Manager, our business-user tooling, for Seller Admins: Ability to create, view, and edit accounts Ability to view members of the account added via the api Ability to view orders of the account Ability to create, view, and edit addresses for the account The above capabilities now enable you to set up accounts from Commerce Manager which can be leveraged in your storefront and other touchpoints. Consider a B2B hardware manufacturer (Seller) and a big-box retailer (Buyer). The hardware manufacturer can now manage accounts in Commerce Manager creating an account for the big-box retailer, additionally an address can be added for use in the checkout process. The seller can now add account members John and Jane to the account created, via the api. After John and Jane create orders for their account, the seller can view the order details for both John and Jane from within Commerce Manager. Username and Password APIs We've also added the support for account members to log in via username and password in addition to the previous login using OpenID Connect. The new capabilities include: Ability to create, view, and edit password profiles for an authentication realm Ability to create, view, and edit user authentication info to an authentication realm Ability to add, view, and edit password profiles for a user Ability to add, view, and edit OpenID Connect profiles for a user With these new capabilities, you can now enable account members to authenticate via username and password. This allows you to get started with Account Management without setting up an OpenID Connect Provider for authentication, making it easier to start using Account Management and saving some time in your busy day. For a more detailed guide on how to do this check out our How-To guide for Adding Accounts and Account Members. What's Next? We will be continuing to add features incrementally and release them frequently. You can soon expect to be able to add account members from within Commerce Manager. We'll also be adding Events and Webhooks support for Account Management APIs. As new features are released, they will be added to the Elastic Path Commerce Cloud changelog, so, make sure to keep an eye out for that! Getting Started With these new Account Management capabilities B2B brands and buyers can more effectively manage their transactions. Use the postman collection to try out these new APIs. Additional details on these features are available in the documentation for both Commerce Manager and APIs. Beta API Reminder The APIs in this release are labelled Beta. These APIs provide early access into the Account Management functionality and enable Elastic Path customers to provide feedback earlier in the development process, before the APIs are finalized. Customer feedback is important to us, as it helps us better understand functional requirements and address problems early.
    Topics: commerce, b2b, management, account, members, edit, create, view, capabilities, enhancements, manager, password, release.
  • New Release: GraphQL Server for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud - The recently released GraphQL Server for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud provides a GraphQL implementation of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud APIs to support shopping experiences. This release enables developers more familiar with GraphQL, as compared to REST, to more easily build shopping experiences. REST vs GraphQL We often get asked about REST vs GraphQL. In our experience you can do almost anything with both REST and GraphQL. There are some technical differences, but nothing that's a roadblock in achieving a business goal. The choice between REST and GraphQL comes down to preference. An analogy would be that humans communicate in many languages - English, French, Mandarin, German etc. Some languages might be "better" for some things. However, there are very specific nuances and can oftentimes be difficult for a non-native speaker. People would prefer to speak in their native language, solely due to preference and comfort level. The same goes for choosing between GraphQL and RESTful APIs. At Elastic Path, we prefer REST because it follows HTTP protocol standards. This enables us to keep our APIs clean and simple, and REST APIs can take advantage of all the efforts to improve web performance at every level. As an example, it is relatively simple to use browser caching and CDNs to optimize HTTP requests. At the same time, we also recognize that GraphQL makes some things easier for developers consuming APIs. You may prefer GraphQL because you are familiar with it, or that it makes it easier to wrap different APIs together, or any other reason by which GraphQL makes the front-end development easier for you. We certainly want to give you the choice of using the technology that works for you. GraphQL Server for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud The GraphQL server provides the following capabilities:  Ability to build shopping experiences using Elastic Path Commerce Cloud and GraphQL Convenience of wrapping APIs from different systems and vendors with a single GraphQL endpoint The GraphQL server is easy to consume. The readme provides steps on how to set it up on your machine and deploy to the cloud. As the source is available to you, you can add additional data sources to wrap multiple APIs from different systems and vendors. You can also use something like Apollo Federation to aid with this. GraphQL in Action The GraphQL server comes with GraphQL Playground which is an interactive, in-browser GraphQL IDE.  Here’s a simple query to fetch nodes and products in a storefront. Get Started  To start building shopping experiences with Elastic Path Commerce Cloud and GraphQL, clone the Github repo and follow the instructions in the readme.
    Topics: rest, server, simple, commerce, elastic, cloud, shopping, release, graphql, apis, path.
  • New Release: Role-Based Access Control - Branded manufacturers who are embracing digital commerce often have robust internal teams that support their eCommerce go-to-market.These teams all have different responsibilities from managing the catalog to supporting customers with their purchase. With the recent release of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, these organizations can quickly and easily assign roles so that each team can fulfill their responsibilities without disrupting other team’s workflows. This new functionality supports brands across business models, including B2B, B2C, and anywhere in between. Role-Based Access Control Details Seller (Elastic Path customer organizations) users can now be assigned the roles listed below which grant them distinct functional and feature access to an Elastic Path Commerce Cloud store. The following roles and permissions are supported in this release: Basic: no permissions Seller Admin: Full permissions to modify ever aspect of the store Marketing & Sales: Modify catalog and Data Model Extention (FKA flows), but not store settings or customers Support: Modify customer orders only IT Developer: Modify store settings only  Note: Only Seller Admins and IT Developer roles have access to manage role assignments.  Each of these unique roles ensures that individuals can work most efficiently without interrupting the workflow of other teams. For instance, with RBAC a user with a customer support persona will have access to manage Orders and Customers. However, they will not have access to manage products and catalogs, or change any store settings. This is beneficial because the customer support team member will not disrupt products or catalogs, areas that the marketing and sales team has spent time curating. See Role-Based Access Control In Action Watch this quick demo of Role-Based Access Control: With role assignments in place, organizations can more effectively run their commerce business on a day-to-day basis. To get started visit the settings page of your Elastic Path Commerce Cloud store. Additional details on this new feature can be found in our documentation.
    Topics: control, rolebased, roles, customer, access, support, release, commerce, store, teams, modify, settings, permissions.
  • Norwegian retailer Get Inspired sees 30% growth YoY after migrating to Magento 2 - Norwegian women’s sportwear seller started on Magento 1 a decade ago and is now one of the top e-commerce sites in Norway. In 2019, the company was looking for further growth through an increased focus on marketing and systems for seamless customer returns. It was ready to upgrade to Magento 2. Read more.
    Topics: norwegian, color, million, product, products, visma, growth, migrating, retailer, inspired, magento, ecommerce, sees, yoy, commerce.
  • Omnichannel, a key element for the future of commerce in Mexico - If you are a business owner and looking to increase your sales during this pandemic, this interests you.
    Topics: key, future, business, payment, different, commerce, omnichannel, physical, digital, element, technology, online, sales, businesses, mexico.
  • Over 500 million ecommerce users in Europe in 2021 - Ecommerce in Europe is set to cross a major milestone in 2021, as the number of ecommerce users will probably pass 500 million. The penetration rate is also projected to reach almost 60 percent. Ecommerce in Europe is becoming more and more popular across the continent and the rest of… Continue reading
    Topics: users, expected, payment, commerce, europe, million, rate, online, euros, value, reach, ecommerce.
  • Pakistan’s Airlift raises $85 million for its quick commerce startup, eyes international expansion - A one-year-old startup that is attempting to build the railroads for e-commerce in Pakistan has just secured a mega round of funding in a major boost to the South Asia nation’s nascent startup ecosystem. Airlift operates a quick commerce service in eight cities, including Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in Pakistan. Users can order groceries, fresh […]
    Topics: round, airlift, techcrunch, pakistans, founder, raises, usman, quick, international, commerce, executive, startup, chief, pakistan, million, eyes, expansion.
  • Prepare Your Online Store For A Successful 2020 Holiday Season With Magento Commerce 2.4.1 - The 2020 holiday season is upon us, and with it millions of shoppers will be browsing the Web looking for the best deals. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape the way we live, the online shopping trends seen during the previous six to eight months are predicted to continue throughout the holiday season. Read more.
    Topics: quality, release, tool, support, holiday, customers, online, successful, merchants, season, magento, prepare, commerce, store.
  • Product Recommendations Powered by Adobe Sensei Now Integrate with Magento Page Builder - Brands are constantly looking for tools to help deliver rich content and relevant shopping experiences to their customers. This has become more important today as merchants must be incredibly agile and empathetic in how they connect with their customers, whether it’s through the products they sell or the brand message. Read more.
    Topics: commerce, merchants, recommendations, integrate, magento, blocks, product, builder, powered, content, customers, sensei, page, adobe.
  • Pros and Cons of Composable Commerce - The term "composable commerce" refers to joining multiple components to meet a merchant's specific needs. Example use cases include multiple sales channels, cost control, specialization, and the need for modular construction.
    Topics: platform, needs, pros, commerce, merchants, services, multiple, core, composable, cons, roadmap, vendors.
  • Rutter comes out of stealth with $1.5M in funding for its e-commerce API - Rutter is developing a unified e-commerce API that enables companies to connect with data across any platform.
    Topics: commerce, funding, api, 15m, merchants, stealth, rutter, customers, stack, connect, zhou, company, comes, techcrunch, ecommerce, yu.
  • Shopistry bags $2M to provide ‘headless commerce without the headaches’ - Shopistry enables customers to create personalized commerce experiences accessible to all.
    Topics: zabian, venture, techcrunch, manage, ecommerce, bags, haidar, brands, seed, headless, working, shopistry, 2m, headaches, commerce, provide.
  • Social Commerce Is the Future of Marketing. Are You Ready? - Here's how to take advantage of the platform that offers customers easy access to impulse buys and hard-to-locate items.
    Topics: social, site, parts, sales, ready, socialmedia, online, commerce, marketing, platform, buyers, future, users.
  • Social Commerce: 5 Tools to Help You Sell Directly Through Social Media - Sell your products directly on your social media with these social commerce selling tips! Step-by-step instructions help you get started.
    Topics: media, help, youre, youll, marketing, simple, sell, commerce, product, social, need, facebook, directly, tools.
  • Social Media Updates for Commerce, Live-streaming, More - Social media sites help businesses build a brand, engage customers, and sell products. Many popular networks continue to innovate with new features, particularly around ecommerce. Here is a list of social media updates to explore in 2021.
    Topics: social, create, livestreaming, ads, live, content, video, products, promote, commerce, media, businesses, platform, updates.
  • Social commerce startup Elenas raises $6M and plans for international expansion - Colombian startup Elenas says it’s helping tens of thousands of women make money by selling products online. And today, it announced that it has raised $6 million in Series A funding. That’s on top of the $2 million seed round that Elenas announced last fall. Founder and CEO Zach Oschin said that demand continues to […]
    Topics: social, techcrunch, commerce, sales, startup, elenas, women, 6m, oschin, million, international, products, sellers, latin, plans, raises, entrepreneurs, expansion.
  • Spryker raises $130M at a $500M+ valuation to provide B2Bs with agile e-commerce tools - Businesses today feel, more than ever, the imperative to have flexible e-commerce strategies in place, able to connect with would-be customers wherever they might be. That market driver has now led to a significant growth round for a startup that is helping the larger of these businesses, including those targeting the B2B market, build out […]
    Topics: market, provide, techcrunch, b2bs, spryker, 500m, businesses, commerce, tools, tcv, providers, raises, companies, valuation, agile, funding, ecommerce.
  • Support for Magento 1 Software Ends June 30, 2020 - If you have a store that continues to run on Magento 1 after June 30, please be aware that from that date forward you have increased responsibility for maintaining your site's security and PCI DSS compliance. Read more.
    Topics: magento, software, commerce, adobe, documentation, solution, date, eos, security, support, ends, merchants.
  • Ten Tips for Getting Started With Headless Commerce - Headless Commerce decouples the customer facing frontend presentation layer of your eCommerce experience, from the backend commerce engine. This decoupling provides an unmatched level of flexibility that enables you to make changes as your business needs change quickly and easily. Getting started with a Headless Commerce Approach can feel daunting, here are 10 tips to get you started. Evaluate if Headless Commerce Is Right for Your Business Key areas to consider: are you looking to create differentiated commerce experiences or are you happy with out-of-the-box pre-build experiences? Are you looking to be agile and optimize on-demand? Do you have a dedicated technicalteam or are you open to working with a Systems Integrator? Educate Your Team on the Benefits of Headless Commerce For many in your organization, Headless Commerce may be a new concept or their perceptions may be different than your own. By aligning on what it is, and the benefits, you can positively impact the adoption.   Assess the Cost of a Headless Commerce Solution and Determine Your Budget There’s the upfront cost of a solution and there are additional factors that can impact cost such as reference experiences/themes of a website, implementation support, transaction/credit card fees, third-party integrations, hosting, etc. Learn more about total cost of ownership.   Understand the Architecture of Headless Commerce Traditional monolithic platforms provide an all-in-one approach which differs greatly froma modern solution where the frontend “Head” is connected to the backend commerce functionality, through commerce APIs. You can see these differences demonstrated in the diagram below.   Appreciate the Difference Between Retrofitted Headless Solutions and Headless Microservices Solutions A retrofitted headless solution is an all-in-one platform that ripped off the frontend and connected it with bolted-on APIs. Headless microservices solutions are natively built with APIs to provide flexibility on both the frontend and backend.   Evaluate Frontend Options There are three main frontend “head” option types: frontend-as-a-service, digital experience platform, and custom build. Based on the size of your business, skillset of your team, number of products/stores, you will be able to determine which frontend type is best for you. Learn more about these options in the Getting Started with Headless Commerce Guide.   Decide How You Will Implement the Frontend Depending upon the skillset and experience of your team, you may decide to utilize your in-house team, partner with an agency, or partner with a systems integrator. Do you have a partner of record? What technologies are you planning to integrate? What is your budget?   Evaluate Options to Make Headless Commerce Easier There are a number of Pre-Composed Solutions™, pre-integrated business-ready solutions, available on the Composable Commerce Hub that make adopting headless commerce easier than ever before.   Understand the Process of Migrating From a Traditional Commerce Solution to a Headless Commerce Solution Migrating off any platform comes with it’s own set of challenges, we’ve put together a replatforming guide to help you learn the process and we’ve included case studies for your reference to learn from our customers who have successfully replatformed.   Assemble the Right Team to Support Your Headless Commerce Solution Due to the decoupled nature of Headless Commerce, having a dedicated frontend and backend team will be important if you would like to manage the solution in-house. For more information on how to get started with Headless Commerce, check out our comprehensive guide.
    Topics: learn, team, solutions, cost, platform, frontend, commerce, solution, tips, getting, headless, started.
  • - Intense competition is driving rapid technological innovation in ecommerce. More and more brands are turning to cutting-edge tech to help…
    Topics: layer, brands, ecommerce, headless, enterprises, frontend, commerce, works, merchants, backend, monolithic, enterprise, customer.
  • The Heart of Commerce: Product Data Management + Catalog Functionality - The product data management and catalog functionality are the heart of any commerce solution, as they define what can be sold to customers and how quickly new products can be brought to market across different channels. Plus, it's likely that many different teams at an organization, from engineering to merchandising, will be involved in managing products and catalogs. All of this together makes the technology you choose to use for this piece of your commerce strategy extremely important. But, the majority of commerce platforms, built their catalog functionality 10-20 years ago when the digital needs of brands were simpler than what they are today. At the time of their creation, being online with a simple site was enough to drive revenue growth. Brands didn’t need to power experiences across multiple geos, business models, touchpoints and more – all requiring their own unique catalogs. Plus, product assortments did not change as rapidly and continuously, meaning that speed to launch and optimize products and catalogs was not crucial to an eCommerce team’s success. This dated functionality is often extremely rigid, both in terms of product data and catalog management. Often these solutions impose their own data structures on the application owner making it time-consuming and cumbersome to upload product data from external sources such as PIM, ERP, or even just spreadsheets. In addition, these solutions often tightly link price books and products meaning that entire catalogs need to be duplicated and customized in order to support a brand’s unique requirements. For brands who need to support multiple catalogs across geos, accounts, business models, brands, and touchpoints the lack of flexibility in these traditional commerce platforms results in time-consuming and expensive workarounds needing to be built, resulting in duplicative efforts, expensive rework, and delayed time to market and revenue. At Elastic Path, we heard these pain points from our customers and committed to finding an alternative way to manage product data and easily create the unique catalogs you need to drive business growth across multiple routes to market. That’s exactly why we have reinvented product and catalog management, with our new Product Content Management service. This new addition to our composable, API-first, microservices-based platform, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, was created to make the daily lives of teams responsible for managing products, pricing, and catalogs at branded manufacturers easier. Product Content Management provides the flexibility to use your existing data structure to rapidly compose and continuously optimize products and pricing into unlimited, unique catalogs across all your routes-to-market such as multiple brands, accounts, geographies, touchpoints, business models, and loyalty tiers. This empowers brands to reduce catalog management time by 5X resulting in more consistent user experiences and faster time to market.   Product Content Management offers the flexibility and ease for brands to: Import and enhance product data using their existing data schema, decreasing the time it takes to get new products live. Create hierarchies, such as multi-level categories or lines, based on their unique internal structures instead of having to create expensive customizations. Manage products and pricing separately allowing for the flexibility to support unique catalogs without custom extensions or manual catalog management. Compose hierarchies (products) and prices into the unlimited catalogs that meet business needs across geographies, customer accounts, touchpoints, brands and beyond. Assign rules to catalogs so that they are dynamically surfaced for the right customers at the right time. With Product Content Management, branded manufacturers have the unlimited flexibility to seamlessly create, customize, and manage the products and catalogs they need to support unique business requirements, including: multiple geographies, business models (B2B, B2C, etc.), customer/account types (rewards customers, tiered customers), brands, touchpoints (kiosk, pop-up, web, etc.), etc. Product Content Management puts the control back in the hands of branded manufacturers so they can confidently support and sell their unique products at the correct price and in the proper experience, decreasing time to market, and powering revenue. To learn more about how your business could benefit from the flexibility and time-saving simplicity of Product Content Management, contact us today.
    Topics: catalogs, catalog, unique, management, content, commerce, brands, flexibility, functionality, business, heart, products, product, data.
  • Tiger Global backs Nacelle with $50M for its e-commerce infrastructure - Consumer shift to buying online during the global pandemic — and keeping that habit — continues to boost revenue for makers of e-commerce developer tools.
    Topics: online, million, tech, nacelle, tiger, techcrunch, backs, 50m, round, anderson, shopping, infrastructure, ecommerce, commerce, global, stack.
  • Tiger Global leads $100 million investment in Indian social commerce DealShare - Tiger Global has invested in DealShare, a startup in India that has built an e-commerce platform for middle- and lower-income groups of consumers, just three months after the Indian firm concluded its previous $21 million Series C funding round. The New York-headquartered firm has led the $100 million Series D round in three-year-old social commerce […]
    Topics: social, investment, leads, commerce, rao, indian, global, techcrunch, india, million, startup, dealshare, round, tiger, items.
  • TikTok partners with Shopify on social commerce - TikTok is further investing in social commerce with today’s announcement of a new global partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify. The deal aims to make it easier for Shopify’s over 1 million merchants to reach TikTok’s younger audience and drive sales. The partnership will eventually expand to include other in-app shopping features, as well, the companies […]
    Topics: commerce, techcrunch, partners, features, social, partnership, shopping, channel, video, users, shopify, tiktok, merchants.
  • Top 10 Commerce Headless FAQs - 1. What Is Headless Commerce?  Simply put Headless Commerce is the complete separation of the front-end code/ UI layer from the back-end engine where commerce functionality and business logic exist. This separation is essential to the flexibility of a Headless Commerce platform. It allows the rapid evolution of the omnichannel front-end customer experiences (whether that is across touchpoints or geos) while keeping the business logic for things like product catalogs, shopping cart, promotions, payments, etc. in place. Check out our comprehensive review a more in-depth breakdown of Headless Commerce. 2. What Are eCommerce APIs? And, How Do They Relate to Headless Commerce? Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are designed to enable an application to expose specific services (like order management, pricing information, catalogs, etc.) to other applications. In a Headless Commerce context, an API is what allows backend systems to “talk” and relay information to any front-end/ heads (think customer touch-points like mobile storefronts or IoT devices).  3. What Is the Difference between Traditional & Headless eCommerce? A traditional eCommerce approach, or monolith platform, was built with a strong ‘coupling’ between the front-end experience and the back-end commerce functions. A monolith approach delivers value by offering a multitude of out-of-the-box functionality directly connected to a frontend to quickly stand up a web-based/ desktop browser experience. Fast forward to now, monolithic systems are inflexible when it comes to adding new channels or updating customer experiences.  On the other hand, a Headless Commerce ‘decoupled’ approach allows for the flexibility to implement front-end changes, add new channels, and generate quicker release cycles (for example: testing solely the new addition in a Headless architecture vs. testing the entire tightly coupled systems pre-launch). The differences are tangible in your company’s Total Cost of Ownership.   Ready to Get Started with Headless Commerce? Discover the steps for getting started, how to implement your front-end, considerations for choosing the right platform and more with our full guide. Read the Guide 4. How Much Does It Cost to Run a Headless Commerce Solution? While exact pricing will vary based on the details of implementation and your specific business goals, the cost of your core Headless Commerce software generally depends on order volume and GMV. In addition to your core Headless Commerce software cost, you will also have to consider the cost of any third-party software (like search, personalization, etc.), the cost to build your front end (this may be completed using internal resources for not extra cost), and the cost of integrating all these pieces together. Similar to your core commerce software price, this all depends on your goals, timeline, and scope. That being said, when evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), a Headless Commerce solution will result in savings from a resource allocation and potentially partner implementation perspective. For a detailed look at TCO, check out our comprehensive guide here. 5. Where Is the ‘Head’ in a Headless Commerce Solution? The flexibility of a Headless Commerce solution extends to the choice of ‘head’ or the customer-facing front-end. While some businesses will choose to build the front-end from scratch, leveraging the APIs of a Headless solution. Others choose to use a separate Content Management System (CMS) to attach one of the many heads (think customer touchpoints or desktop vs. in-store mobile check-out). A Headless solution allows for the freedom to choose which option aligns with your business-centric goals best.  6. Is Headless Commerce Future-Proof?  While no life cycle is infinite, the short answer is yes! While eCommerce trends- and more importantly- customer expectations change rapidly, a Headless Commerce approach allows you to quickly launch a new experience on the front-end (adding curbside pickup or voice-enabled chatbots for example) without impacting the core business logic in the back-end. In contrast to a rigid traditional monolith approach that can take months to implement costly changes, a Headless Commerce approach will allow your business to evolve with customer expectations and experiment with new experiences at an unparalleled pace.  7. How Does Headless Commerce Support Omnichannel?  By removing the traditional ‘middle layer’ that connects the front and back-ends in a tightly coupled monolith solution. A Headless Commerce approach relies on a single source of truth to simplify the architecture by removing the middle layer. Enabling each customer touchpoint to connect back to the same core logic & business functions in a ‘decoupled’ back-end.  8. Why Should You Care about Headless? Are Customers Going to Notice a Difference?  Most customers won’t necessarily notice a difference between a traditional storefront vs. a Headless Commerce experience. What a Headless Commerce approach does allow is a brand to regain control of their customer experience and dramatically speed up experimentation cycles to keep up with customer expectations and company growth. This scalability also impacts overall site speed, a crucial factor according to Google as “53% of mobile visitors abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load”.  Why Is Headless Commerce Being Talked about More? The short answer: customer expectations! While the pandemic fundamentally changed how many businesses operate, it was essentially an exacerbation of the rapid change of pace in customer expectations in today’s world. A Headless Commerce approach’s flexibility, extensibility, and rapid time to market in order to better align with customer expectations and staying one step ahead of your competitors are what is driving the conversations around Headless.  10. How Can I Switch to Headless Commerce Solutions? A complete re-platforming to a Headless commerce approach can be achieved in weeks rather than months with Elastic Path’s Pre-Composed Solutions™. There are a few other options for making the switch as well. A popular approach has been a staggered implementation if you are replacing a monolith solution. Where pieces will progressively be replaced while maintaining business-critical functions. For a more in-depth look at re-platforming, check out our whitepaper on re-platforming.
    Topics: customer, solution, monolith, faqs, headless, business, commerce, approach, cost, traditional, frontend.
  • Top 10 eCommerce Buyer Questions - My team here at Elastic Path manages the buying experiences on the front line of researching and evaluating eCommerce solutions, including business development, chat, Website, and marketing automation.  Being on the front line, my team gets asked many different questions.  Some are very common, like "how much do the eCommerce solutions that Elastic Path provides cost?" But since eCommerce can mean different things to different buyers, we see a wide variety of great questions. Therefore we felt it might be helpful to share what we are hearing to maybe help buyers that are researching headless commerce solutions get insights into what their peers in the market are asking. You can always get your specific questions answered by reaching out to us and we would be happy to have a personalized Q&A.   A Bit of Context Before We Start   Before we get into it, I want provide a bit of context for what it is like being on the front lines of marketing and selling eCommerce platforms and solutions. As I mentioned, eCommerce can mean different things to different buyers depending on the complexity, size and scale of their requirements.  Not to mention, the experience a buyer has working with different eCommerce solutions at different stages of their career. For example a small business owner may only need a simple out of the box solution, like Shopify, that comes with all the basic pieces need to get their products and services online. A rapidly growing emerging business looking to scale up to $50M -to- $100M in revenue might be feeling the need to advance their investment in technology, but they may not know the scope, skills, and architecture required to build and manage a solution that can provide the control and customizations to differentiate its brand. Then there are companies with B2B use-cases that might be looking to digitally transform their business by moving a traditional selling model online to meet customer demand for online engagement that creates more value and improve margins using eCommerce approaches. These B2B companies are likely just starting out with eCommerce, but they need advanced capabilities that can integrate with their existing CRM/ERP architectures. Maybe the buyer is a seasoned eCommerce developer/architect focused on enabling eCommerce as a core business function and looking to modernize and "future proof" their architecture.  But let's be honest they don't need to ask my team questions, they just need access to our product and technical resources to figure out how they want to approach a Proof of Concept (POC) with Elastic Path. The bulk of questions we get on the front lines tend to be from the first three buying groups, and many of those buyers are under pressure to grow and transform their business quickly.  As a result they looking for more control and flexibility to differentiate experiences, improve how they operate and scale up online revenue. Many of the questions we get from these groups indicate they are just starting the path of learning about modern eCommerce technologies - such as microservices, API-centric, composable, headless eCommerce solutions (aka MACH). They may not be fully aware of the skills and budget required to invest in this emerging approach to cloud-based eCommerce. So hopefully the following questions and answers will provide some clarity and if you have more questions - never hesitate to ask Elastic Path for help.   Top 10 eCommerce Buyer Questions   QUESTION: What is the time it takes for a basic implementation? We hear you say two weeks - is that real? ANSWER: Implementation time depends on the scope of the project but some of the Elastic Path customers were able to implement a solution from scratch as quickly as 4 weeks. The key to our fast implementations is a combination of using Accelerators, Pre-Composed Solutions and designing an MVP approach so that we can get customer experiences into market that can flex and evolve vs. trying to boil the ocean with an oversized project plan or build everything from scratch.  QUESTION: I see what your webpage says you are. But who are you really? What is different about you from other vendors? ANSWER: We provide the only commerce solution that combines the flexibility and control of DIY eCommerce (i.e. a custom, home-grown solution) with the turn-key ease of Shopify, Magento, or Salesforce.  Our microservices architecture was built totally de-coupled so that you can customize for your business requirements. Elastic Path vs. Magento (Adobe) Elastic Path vs. Shopify   Vendors like Big Commerce claims to have microservices. Shopify and Magento claim to be headless. The reality is they have taken their monolithic-style platforms and built APIs on top, which means that customizations are incredibly time consuming and expensive.   Elastic Path vs. Commercetools   Vendors like Commercetools promise the control of DIY, but lack the support and guidance to de-risk integrating best of breed technology and partner solutions. Brands who go with this type of solution often find themselves overwhelmed by the complexity.  Elastic Path offers Pre-Composed Solutions which integrate core commerce functionality, partner integrations, and customizations so that getting live is fast.  In addition, we offer Composable Commerce XA which provides operational experience assurance  from Elastic Path services team to triage, manage, and resolve issues across your multi-vendor solution.  When you have an issue (which is not often as our uptime SLA is 99.9%), you have a single throat to choke.   QUESTION: How can Elastic Path provide a way for my 3rd party vendors to manage their selling experience on my marketplace site? ANSWER: eCommerce Marketplaces, especially those who support a third party model, take user experience a notch above traditional digital commerce avenues. Not only are consumers able to save a trip to a physical store, but now they have a one stop shop to compare similar products without switching from site to site. This type of ease of use, convenience, and accessibility continues to attract shoppers presenting an opportunity for many brands to capitalize on.   QUESTION: What is Composable Commerce?  Is it the same as Headless Commerce? ANSWER:  Composable Commerce is an approach that enables brands to bring their unique digital vision to life by launching and continuously optimizing digital commerce experiences leveraging multiple best-of-breed technologies composed together into a complete, business ready solution. Headless Commerce is a component of Composable Commerce, along with other MACH technologies (microserices, APIs, Cloud-native, and headless). Shaneil Lafayette from our Product Marketing team wrote an entire article on this subject, so best to just direct you to her blog: What is Composable Commerce? QUESTION: Does Elastic Path have the capability to handle over 50,000 SKUs? Complex Catalogs? ANSWER: The short answer is yes.  In fact we can support almost infinite SKUs, and by decoupling the way you manage product content, price books, and availability rules we can enable infinite selling experiences on you site using our Product Content Management solution.  We also created a short video that explains how PCM works:   {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/JNY7KimCoV1EHDSCuuNQo2.jpg?itok=AH9fMNXc","video_url":"https://share.vidyard.com/watch/JNY7KimCoV1EHDSCuuNQo2?","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}   QUESTION: Does Elastic Path provide a front end solution or Content Management System (CMS)? ANSWER: We are Headless Commerce, so we separate the front-end from the and back-end. Our core platform is the backend which is 100% API-first, microservices-based. That being said, we do have a PWA REACT reference store which serves as a frontend starter kit for our clients. In addition, many clients chose to build their own front end using a JavaScript frontend framework (REACT, Angular JS, Next Js, VueJS, etc) or use a Front-End-as-a-Service like Frontastic or Builder.io. We work with all of our customers to understand their unique needs and can advise you on what approach to frontend would be best for your brand.  QUESTION: How does Elastic Path provide front-end capability and back-end integration with an ERP system?  ANSWER: Because Elastic Path was architected from the API layer up vs. monolithic based headless competitors that retrofitted their APIs, we enable the most open and flexible eCommerce integration framework on the market.  It is one of the reasons we can take an MVP approach to just about any eCommerce project and create new experiences that align with just about any existing architecture.  No matter how complex (or simple) your current architecture we can right size your eCommerce goals and make sure the align with you internal business processes - both human and digital. QUESTION: How are you hosted? SaaS, on-prem, private cloud?  ANSWER: As our CEO Jamus Driscoll likes to say, "Have it your way".  Elastic Path provides flexible deployment models including SaaS, on-premises, and private cloud to address the business needs of any customer.   QUESTION: What development languages does Elastic Path support?  ANSWER: Elastic Path is language agnostic, so you can leverage any front-end language you wish and access the core microservices commerce functionality via standard API calls.  QUESTION: I don't have a large in-house tech team, do I need one to do headless commerce? ANSWER: When looking at any cutting edge technology, there are always learning curves. However, we have developed an ecosystem of capabilities and support to get even an emerging digital savvy team started down the path of headless commerce.  Our foundation is Cloud-based, so you are not dealing with coding the actual platform itself to customize your ecommerce.  Instead you are connecting common systems using an API framework where you likely already have skills inhouse or via existing partnership.  For example the store-front is your CMS, you inventory and pricing might be an SQL database or ERP application, etc.  You then use our business centric composable solutions to manage the data flowing in and out of the eCommerce workflow. Then next way we make headless commerce a reality is by bringing together the best technology and solution integration partner network in the business.  This is one of the fastest growing areas of our business, which is also how we are building core pre-composed solutions new customers can essentially buy and configure with only 20% of the effort. Listening to our customers and thinking different about solutions and support. a. Pre-Composed Solutions were not developed by a back office product team, they are real-world solutions developed by our partners and customer designed to solve real business problems. b. Composable Commerce XA means Elastic Path is your support partner for all the technology within the best-of-breed headless solution you need to succeed. c. Product Content Management service was announced earlier this year to solve one of the oldest challenges in eCommerce, managing/changing online catalogs. eCommerce is now at the core of your revenue strategy and buyers expect the same level of personal experience in a digital world that a sales person or account manager provides, which means it needs to be data driven and capable of delivering an infinite combination of suggestions, pricing, promotions and availability across multiple catalogs, geographies and channels.   Want to learn more about Elastic Path Software? Check out our Demo Library here.
    Topics: business, questions, solutions, different, commerce, elastic, team, buyer, path, headless, ecommerce, solution.
  • Top Technology-Driven B2B ECommerce Trends - B2B eCommerce has rapidly been changing over the past few years, and 2021 is no exception. With the disruption of COVID-19, new trends have emerged and the eCommerce landscape is transforming. B2B companies are implementing new strategies to adapt to the technological changes and take advantage of cloud-based technology, Headless Commerce, and progressive web applications (PWAs). Below are some of the major Technology-Driven B2B eCommerce trends of 2021, as well as some key calls to action for B2Bs to optimize their eCommerce strategy. The Cloud: The spread of cloud computing and cloud-based eCommerce has continued to grow, with many businesses migrating ERPs to the cloud to adjust to the disruptions of the pandemic. Cloud eCommerce solutions have helped brands to discover new cybersecurity technologies, leverage analytics, utilize big data, and take advantage of developments in the internet of things (IoT). Key data shows that: 30% of all IT budgets are allocated to Cloud computing, with 94% of enterprises already using Cloud services (Source) 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020, and the public Cloud service market is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023 (Source) 50% of enterprises spend more than $1.2 million on Cloud services annually (Source) More than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will be affected by the shift to the Cloud by 2022 (Source) 66% of enterprises have a central Cloud team or Cloud center of excellence (Source) ECommerce solutions presented by the Cloud are also touted for their ease of deployment, scalability, and lower costs of ownership. Some of the key benefits offered by cloud computing to B2B organizations’ eCommerce efforts include: Enhanced cybersecurity: With the evolving relationships between clients and Cloud Service providers such as AWS, Google, and Microsoft, both parties are responsible for separate aspects of cloud security. Bot detection, fraud protection, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) technologies have all grown, implementing real-time detection and automated response tools to maximize cybersecurity. Scalability and flexibility: Migrating an eCommerce system to the cloud provides a highly scalable environment, empowering B2B businesses to respond to market fluctuations. Businesses can take advantage of the cloud to meet changes in demand and adapt to new scenarios with speed, flexibility, and precision. Rather than installing new servers and experiencing development or implementation costs, organizations can modify capacity based on traffic, demand, and changing opportunities. Removing maintenance and risks: With The Cloud, B2B businesses can run their eCommerce software in a safe external data center, with both hardware and software being monitored and maintained. Working with a Cloud Service provider mitigates risk and shares responsibility. In addition to improving cybersecurity, B2Bs can reduce maintenance costs and avoid allocating resources towards uptime, back-ups, datacenter facilities, and data privacy. Growing digital sales channels: More and more B2B companies are becoming highly dependent on digital sales channels, as emphasized by new market-driven trends. With COVID- 19, digital sales channels have become increasingly important to B2B sellers, and migrating eCommerce to a cloud-based system enables firms to reallocate resources towards digital sales channels and adaptive digital practices instead. Headless Commerce: With headless technology, the data, business logic, and commerce engine are de-coupled from the front-end storefront. This “headless” architecture offers B2B organizations increased freedom, flexibility, and customization to develop unique front-end interfaces across multiple devices, simultaneously removing the constraints of back-end systems. Key data shows: 61% of retailers claimed to leverage Headless commerce in 2020 (Source) Approximately 80% of respondents to a Gartner survey claimed to either already use or made plans to use Headless Commerce or API-based architecture Page load times showed a 50% to 83% decrease in load time when a Headless architecture was used With Headless Commerce, developers can extend commerce functionalities across digital touchpoints, such as mobile applications and the Internet of Things (IoT). B2B manufacturers have taken advantage of Headless Solutions to provide improved customer experiences; they are creating fast and frictionless digital interfaces while distinguishing themselves from competitors through expedited internal innovation processes. With a headless architecture, B2B brands can deliver API-driven experiences using CMS, DXP, or custom front-end. In addition to the high flexibility, B2Bs are able to implement highly complex commerce requirements while saving time and maximizing their resources, avoiding issues related to development and back-end management without compromising on their overall vision. With the high demand for personalized experiences, B2Bs are using Headless commerce to discover and capitalize on new personalization opportunities, finding new ways to leverage less traditional forms of purchasing. Some of the key advantages of a Headless approach include: Faster loading times on webpages: Approximately 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if the webpage takes more than 3 seconds to load, with a 2-second delay resulting in the abandonment rate rising up to 87%. With Headless Commerce, the de-coupling of the front and- back-end functionalities results in customers having a far smoother and frictionless user experience, with less performance issues and enhanced speed. Unique, custom front-end design: Headless Commerce enables firms to customize the storefront on a strong taxonomy structure with rich product information. By de-coupling the front-and-back-end functionalities, B2Bs can ensure that their customers are presented a well-designed, sleek, and visually aesthetic site. Using further functionalities presented by a Headless architecture can empower self-service capabilities and ensure that users can avoid complex, layered structures. Consistency and Quality: Headless Commerce helps to reduce the loading time on product content from the back-end to the front-end. If information is stored in a PIM, poor optimization and inconsistent displays are avoided even further. Content can be modified and improved in bulk, formatting can be achieved with greater ease, and customization is bolstered. This helps create a greater level of consistency without requiring a comprise in quality, which can be particularly crucial for brands looking to scale, add new products, add new sales channels, or make major changes to their digital storefronts.   Deliver a smoother B2B experience Joinn Bryan Beck and ecommerce experts from Amazon Business and Elastic Path as they discuss the key to delivering a smooth B2B omnichannel experience. Watch the Webinar Progressive Web Applications: Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have emerged as a method for eCommerce businesses to provide their customers improved digital experiences. By using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), eCommerce companies have enjoyed better page load times, engagement, and conversion rates. With the rise of mobile users and more than 50% of online traffic coming from mobile devices, improving user experience is the key to B2B companies bridging the gap between web experiences and mobile app functionality. PWAs have been touted for their high reliability, speed, and user engagement. Here are some key statistics that illustrate the power of PWAs: PWAs have 36% higher conversion rates than native apps (Source) PWAs register 50% higher customer and user engagement (Source) Businesses that have switched to PWAs have noticed a decrease in page loading speed of up to 10 times PWAs cost 3-4 times less than native mobile apps (Source) PWAs cost 33% less to maintain (Source) PWAs have an average bounce rate of just 42.86% (Source) By caching key resources and using service workers, PWAs can load instantly and meet buyers’ expectations for seamless and quick responses, all while providing a visual and immersive interface. Web-based PWAs can also be more easily discovered with SEO, ranked by search engines such as Bing and Google. In 2021, more and more B2B firms took advantage of PWAs to improve the search engine performance of their websites, and Gartner predicts that PWAs will only continue to rise in popularity. Some of the key benefits of PWAs for B2Bs include: Increased mobile traffic: Given the higher conversion rates, increased user engagement, and reduced bounce rates, PWAs have proven extremely effective in driving increased mobile traffic towards websites. This is key for B2Bs seeking to increase mobile engagement and take advantage of the increasing mobile usage demonstrated by the market. Decreased development costs: A single PWA can meet the requirements of all endpoints that it operates on, significantly reducing the effort, time, and cost associated with development. Despite this, PWAs also involve a shorter and simpler installation process, and can be customized to provide responsive and visually appealing user experiences. Improved performance: By caching and serving text, images, and rich content, PWAs improve efficiency and can operate like websites with better running speeds and load times. B2Bs stand to benefit by adopting PWAs, as they provide an improved user experience that translates to higher retention and lower bounce rates. This, combined with seamless offline operation, no issues with updating, and flexibility across endpoints makes PWAs an extremely efficient and effective alternative to native mobile apps. 2021 and Beyond: B2B eCommerce showcased new opportunities and high growth in 2021. These are just some of the technology-driven trends that represent how B2B companies are adapting to the changes caused by COVID-19, providing customers with fresh digital experiences, and leveraging new technology to deliver on buyers’ expectations. Check out our blog on the top Market- Driven B2B eCommerce Trends of 2021 to learn more about how 2021 has solidified B2B eCommerce in various industries and how B2Bs can form a new path forward.
    Topics: headless, trends, key, commerce, ecommerce, technologydriven, cloud, pwas, user, b2b, b2bs, mobile.
  • Troy UK launches order hub and store builder - Engineering distributor group Troy UK has launched a new B2B2C platform. The platform, called Troy Commerce, allows members to procure products from the Order hub, but also enables them to design their own ecommerce stores. For over 30 years, Troy has been providing support, procurement services, and product knowledge for… Continue reading
    Topics: uk, members, hub, launches, builder, products, commerce, product, platform, store, troy, order.
  • Twitter's Testing Social Commerce: What Marketers Need to Know - When you think of online shopping destinations, Twitter may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, with ecommerce sales continuing to rise due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, social platforms want in on the action.
    Topics: testing, shop, brands, twitter, know, marketers, platform, twitters, users, social, commerce, product, need, feature, products.
  • Watch Global BFCM Sales in Real-Time with Shopify’s Live Map - We completely re-imagined our Live Map for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020, a real-time view of global sales trends happening across Shopify.More
    Topics: map, sale, shopifys, sales, global, bfcm, watch, offset, business, commerce, shopify, live, realtime.
  • Weav raises $4.3M to knit together a universal API for commerce platforms - Weav, which is building a universal API for commerce platforms, is emerging from stealth today with $4.3 million in funding from a bevy of investors, and a partnership with Brex. Founded last year by engineers Ambika Acharya, Avikam Agur and Nadav Lidor after participating in the W20 YC batch, Weav joins the wave of fintech […]
    Topics: universal, platforms, api, weav, raises, commerce, financial, products, weavs, data, founders, techcrunch, knit, 43m, businesses.
  • We’re Offsetting All Carbon Emissions from BFCM Order Deliveries -  More
    Topics: deliveries, offsetting, projects, offsets, shopify, commerce, emissions, weekend, shopping, carbon, bfcm, order.
  • What Benefits Will I Receive From Replatforming My Commerce Solution? -   With the advancement of technology and ever evolving customer habits, many companies have been increasingly entertaining the idea of replatforming, but are still hesitant. Why? Well for starters: The task of replatforming can quickly turn into an extensive and expensive project. The past investment of a previous platform is hard to let go of. And the risk of a new investment not working could cost you your job. These are all valid reasons for contemplation, however, replatforming can bring many benefits to your company that you may be missing out on. Benefits of Replatforming Flexible Customization Traditional incumbent platforms were designed to quickly spin up website only experiences to embark on your commerce journey. However, due to the rigid architecture, customization has been quite burdensome and oftentimes impossible. By replatforming to a more flexible solution that leverages MACH based technology, both your technical and business teams could benefit from having more control of designing unique commerce experiences to outpace competitors.   Elastic Scalability Every business’ ideal goal is to continuously grow and maximize on revenue. So the last thing you will want is a solution that is unable to sustain that growth. According to a study conducted by Forrester, Understanding TCO When Evaluating E-Commerce Solutions “74% of businesses have concerns that their platform will not allow them to scale properly.” These kinds of issues can cause slow load time of your website, thus providing a poor experience to customers. To mitigate this risk, you will want to consider cloud-based platforms that ensure your security but allow your solution to scale for peak demand times on your website.   Flexible Integration Traditional platforms were designed in an all-in-one solution, where all functionality was built fit for purpose. This means one vendor provided all your commerce functionality like search, carts and checkout and content management wrapped up in one system. This was great, until other vendors became experts in each area and specialized in creating each commerce functionality to support the market. Though these are attractive, the rigidity of many platforms don’t allow these third party solutions to integrate well or even at all, with your commerce solution. By replatforming to a more agile solution that follows a best-of-breed approach, you could eradicate these limitations and integrate freely.   Consistent Experiences Across Multiple Touchpoints As customer expectations and needs continue to evolve post the pandemic, we are seeing more and more demands for commerce experience across channels, like mobile, voice, chatbots, A/R and more. However, consistent deployment across these channels can be difficult if the frontend UI experience of your system is hardwired to the backend commerce functionality of your system. To create more flexibility for your team to deliver these experiences, you should consider replatforming to a headless commerce platform that eliminates the dependencies. This will be a game changer for customer experience and retention rate as they would have the ability to start a transaction in one place and finish it in another.   Lower TCO And lastly, the most critical issue that is at the top of everyone’s list, cost. Many businesses get drawn in by attractive pricing, only to be surprised by exuberant costs later down the line. Many platforms advertise cost based a standard commerce experience that was pre built it their vision for your company. However, the reality is, each business is unique and will require different changes and customizations. For the majority of these legacy platforms, making changes is the largest factor in the total cost of ownership for your solution, thus causing your eCommerce costs to be much higher than you expected. By replatforming to a Composable Commerce solution, you can reduce your total costs of ownership by approximately 47%. Composable Commerce solutions were built for change, so you can continuously innovate and optimize your solution without the risk of failure and impacting your budget. While these benefits can be attractive, we are still aware that a replatforming project can be quite a bit of work. Therefore, you should: Evaluate if you truly need to replatform Understand the process of replatforming Ensure your business is in the right position to undertake such a project And choose the right vendor to conduct your replatforming project To better help with understanding your potential replatforming process, join us for a live webinar where you will learn expert tips for replatforming to a Composable Commerce Solution. Hear from replatforming experts and hosts of Re:Platform podcast, James Gurd and Paul Rogers about the top tips for both business and technical users and then hear from the Director of Digital Experience at Illumina about how they made the switch from IBM Websphere to Elastic Path.
    Topics: system, commerce, business, experience, replatforming, functionality, cost, benefits, receive, experiences, platforms, solution.
  • What Is The Difference Between MACH and Composable Commerce? - If you're in the commerce space, whether you're evaluating vendors or just staying up to date on the latest and greatest trends, then you've probably heard about Headless Commerce, Composable Commerce and MACH. So what are they and how do they differ?     If you're in the commerce space, whether you're evaluating vendors or just staying up to date on the latest and greatest trends, then you've probably heard about Headless Commerce, Composable Commerce and MACH. So what are they and how do they differ?   Headless Commerce Well, firstly, headless commerce is more widely known, since it was established in 2011 by Elastic Path. Its strategy of decoupling the front end of presentation layer from the back end commerce engine enables businesses to deliver continuous customer journeys across multiple touch points without that dependency on the back end slowing you down. Since then, technology has developed more to create more flexibility across these commerce journeys. And here in lies, MACH.   MACH Now MACH simply a collection of technologies wrapped up in an acronym, which stands for: Microservices APIs Cloud Native Headless Commerce    So what does MACH do? Well to understand that you will need to understand each component separately. Microservices are independently deployed packaged business capabilities that enable flexible development to be deployed quickly. APIs, are software intermediaries that allow two or more applications to talk to each other. So this is going to be crucial for accelerated development of new channels and time to market for different commerce experiences. Cloud Native simply means it's just a SaaS model commerce service that allows for elastic scalability and robust security. This means that you'll only have to deploy the capabilities that you need on demand and not your entire full suite at once. So in conclusion, MACH is simply a marketing term that brings all of these flexible technologies together.   Composable Commerce Now Composable Commerce is the approach that brings it all together. This approach equips brands with the core commerce technology, like MACH, assets like partner integrations and expert written guides, as well as full support to compose and optimize your unique commerce solution. Now, Composable Commerce is characterized by three key tenets. Business centric solutions, which include quick starts for building your solution. and business tools that grant marketing teams the control to make changes and remain competitive. Modular architecture, which leverages flexible technology such as JAMStack for your frontend, MACH for your backend and extensive developer tools. An open ecosystem, which consists of a library of assets, integration frameworks as well as full support and guidance for building your entire solution. So as you can see, it's not a direct comparison, because headless is just a small part of MACH and MACH is only a small part of what Composable Commerce enables you to do. To learn more about how you can leverage these MACH based technologies to deploy Composable Commerce, feel free to reach out to us. We'd be happy to help.
    Topics: youre, simply, mach, headless, commerce, difference, technology, technologies, flexible, composable, end.
  • What is E-commerce (Electronic Commerce) - What is E-commerce ( E-commerce Definition ) Ecommerce is basically a buying and selling of products, goods, and services online using an electronic payments gateways and by the mean of the internet. Ecommerce or Ebusiness people mostly take as a reference to online shopping but is more than that any business which is conducted through the […]
    Topics: electronic, commerce.
  • Why B2B Omnichannel Commerce Is Right For You - Whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer, your customer experience will set you apart from your competitors and ensure long-term viability of your business. In B2B, adopting a customer-centric approach is imperative. It requires meeting your customer where they want, when they want, and how they want.
    Topics: product, online, team, sales, customers, omnichannel, store, customer, commerce, b2b, right, content, stores.
  • Why these co-founders turned their sustainability podcast into a VC-backed business - When Laura Wittig and Liza Moiseeva met as guests on a podcast about sustainable fashion, they jibed so well together that they began one of their own: Good Together. Their show’s goal was to provide listeners with a place to learn how to be eco-conscious consumers, but with baby steps. Wittig thinks the non-judgmental environment […]
    Topics: wittig, products, sustainability, product, brightly, podcast, startup, techcrunch, turned, vcbacked, commerce, cofounders, sustainable, strategy, community, business, investors.
  • Will the Creator Economy Embrace Ecommerce? - As the so-called creator economy evolves and expands, ecommerce could become a significant revenue channel, helping to create new business models and drive the development of new commerce platforms. The terms "creator" and "creator economy" are a little ambiguous.
    Topics: platforms, economy, evolves, creators, content, embrace, commerce, creator, million, youtube, platform, ecommerce.
  • Yalo raises $50M to build ‘c-commerce’ services for chat apps like WhatsApp - Facebook has long been working on raising WhatsApp’s profile as a channel for businesses to interact with (and sell to) their customers. Today, a startup that has built a suite of tools for retailers and others to build and run those services over WhatsApp and other messaging platforms is announcing growth funding to address that […]
    Topics: customers, techcrunch, services, conversational, emerging, funding, raises, messaging, yalo, chat, ccommerce, build, apps, 50m, markets, commerce, whatsapp.
  • Yalochat, a fast-growing conversational commerce startup, lands $15 million led by B Capital - Yalochat, a five-year-old, Mexico City-based conversational commerce platform that enables customers like Coca-Cola and Walmart to upsell, collect payments and provide better service to their own customers over WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat in China, has closed on $15 million in Series B funding led by B Capital Group. Sierra Ventures, which led a $10 […]
    Topics: startup, fastgrowing, market, process, customers, mata, yalochat, sales, conversational, capital, led, right, techcrunch, commerce, million, lands, latin.
  • Zonos banks $69M to develop APIs for democratizing cross-border commerce - Zonos automatically classifies goods and calculates an accurate total landed cost on international transactions.
    Topics: need, reid, 69m, banks, cost, techcrunch, customers, trade, maclean, commerce, crossborder, develop, apis, zonos, democratizing, shipping, fees.
  • eCommerce 101: API for eCommerce and Why it's Important -   Today, virtually anyone is able to launch an eCommerce instance to appeal to the rise of online shoppers. However, if you are a business that is committed to your digital strategy and outpacing the competition, you are very much aware that not just any regular eCommerce instance will be sufficient. To be successful in these competitive markets, businesses will need to ensure: Their website is beautifully designed and mobile friendly. Their product catalog is clear and relevant. Their customer shopping flow is simple and seamless. Their shopping experiences are personalized to their unique customers. But most of all, the #1 criteria to success in the eCommerce industry is speed. And we’re not just referring to the speed of your website load, but also to the: Speed to launch your eCommerce instance. Speed to customize your eCommerce frontend and backend logic. Speed to make changes and optimize your eCommerce solution. Speed to adapt to new technologies. And the speed to respond to customer demands and expectations. Your ability to execute with speed will be determined by how well your software and/ or technology communicates. And it’s no secret that traditional legacy platforms have been lacking in this area for a while. Businesses that have continued to excel and exceed expectations in this area have employed an API-based ecosystem with their Composable Commerce Solution. The term “API” has been commonly used throughout the eCommerce ecosystem and has set a precedent for itself. However, many are still unaware of what it really means and how it could enhance their eCommerce strategy. In this post we will dive into an overview of eCommerce APIs and the benefits of adopting them.   Definition of an API eCommerce 101: At a higher level, it may help to understand what an API is before we narrow down on what an eCommerce API is. The official description of what an API is: "An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Basically, an API specifies how software components should interact. Additionally, APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components." Put simply, an API declares an interface for you to interact with its logic without you having to know what is happening under the hood, masking the complexity and making it easy to consume and use. What is an eCommerce API? Now we’ve defined an API at a high level so let’s get down to what an “eCommerce API” is. An eCommerce API is a collection of eCommerce functionality exposed via API. To break down the specific eCommerce functionality this includes at the very minimum, cart, checkout, payments and orders - or in other words a way to transact on your eCommerce sites. In headless commerce architecture, eCommerce APIs act as the connecting tissue between the frontend (head) and backend (body). Why use an API for eCommerce? As previously define, APIs allow you to interact with the logic without needing to know what is happening under the hood. This is great for eCommerce websites because there is a ton of logic that you need to access but at the same time you don’t want to have to handle the complexity that supports all of this logic. An API is the ideal delivery mechanism for eCommerce because eCommerce logic and functionality can be inherently complex. This creates a natural split between your frontend and backend operations and the underlying commerce engine. This turns ordinary developers into super-charged developers thanks to increased efficiencies and productivity. No longer do you need an expensive full-stack or proprietary eCommerce platform developer. This allows you to deploy new commerce solutions and get to market faster whilst enjoying access to a wider developer talent pool. Top Considerations for Evaluating an eCommerce API Not all commerce APIs are created equal. Below you’ll find some key areas to consider and explore when you come to evaluating an e-commerce API that will fit your business and/or project requirements.   Looking to implement a headless approach? Our comprehensive guide to getting started with headless commerce will teach you more about the architecture, how to work with the front-end of your choice, and how to choose a platform that fits your needs. Read the Guide Location & Response Times Whether this be for legal, security, or compliance reasons the location of the eCommerce API and it’s databases is something else you will likely need to consider. While edge caching can certainly ensure your content & data is located close to your end customers, the types of data that can be pushed to the edge can be limited for eCommerce use cases and data and only really works for GET requests (retrieving data). When it comes down to commerce logic and interactions (e.g. the critical purchase path through cart and checkout) this can not be cached. If an eCommerce API is located halfway around the world this can impact latency, your application performance, and ultimately the conversion rate of your online store. Milliseconds Matter You’ll ideally want to ensure the location of your eCommerce API is within or close to the location of your customers and the response rates are below 200-300ms for the most part, although there are some exceptions for more complex queries.  By default the Elastic Path multi-tenant public API is hosted in EU west. If you would like an instance located closer to you and your customer base, please reach out and we would be happy to explore a path forward with you. API-first or Retrofitted API Enabled There is another key difference to be aware of when evaluating eCommerce APIs and that is to go back to understand how the API first came to be. Many traditional eCommerce platforms did not start out with an eCommerce API design and instead built APIs as a bolt on to their core platform, which we refer to as retrofitted API enabled, primarily to enable an ecosystem of third-party integrations. This key difference affects the feature/functionality coverage area of the API in terms of what is available and also how the API fundamentally works as it has to interact with this more closed, restrictive platform core. On the other hand, API-first means exactly that, the entire product has been designed from the ground up to be consumed via APIs (as Elastic Path has been). This leads to 100% (or close to) coverage in feature functionality. We usually find that those that adopt an API-first eCommerce service implement their projects far faster than with a solution that uses bolt-on APIs, as there are less workarounds and hacks required to achieve your desired results. Feature / Functionality As previously mentioned, a commerce API is consists of a few core elemental products, shopping carts, checkout, payments, and orders. Outside of this core functionality, there are multiple other services that you may need to call upon. Sometimes these may exist inside the eCommerce API itself. A drawback here is that this feature/functionality might be tightly woven into the core services meaning you'll be back to hacky workarounds when you’re looking to branch out to other best in class providers or writing your own logic - for example, you want to replace the tax functionality inside the commerce API with a best in class vendor like TaxJar. Feature functionality (or the lack of) leads onto the next and arguably one of the most important things to consider when evaluating an eCommerce API. Interoperability & Extensibility Most eCommerce APIs tend to enable custom data in two different ways. The first is as simple key value pairs which is great if you’re just storing some simple data but can fall short for more complex scenarios as the onus on validation rests entirely with the development. The second way that traditional eCommerce platforms handle customization is on a case by case, specific feature/functionality basis. I.e. How you extend the product catalog is completely different from how you extend the customer record or an order. This greatly increases the learning curve of the platform and slows down development time as you find yourself hopping from one dashboard page, directory, file, or line of code to the next. Beyond extensibility of the schema comes interoperability, or in other words the way in which the API integrates with other providers and vendors. With structured custom data as part of the puzzle you also have to look towards how the events and communication work between other best in class services. The standard here is webhooks, and just like API-first vs retrofitted APIs, the coverage and types of webhooks available can vary wildly. The other more traditional approach is a rigid plugin driven system design which can again lead to hacky workarounds. Webhooks pair up well with a more open and modern integration pattern that revolves around serverless functions. Here at Elastic Path we have bundled up the concept of structure data, real-time events/webhooks, and serverless functions into what we call Data Model Extensions. For more on Data Model Extensions, you can explore here. can check out our flows overview page or for more hands on experience explore our documentation. Developer Experience & Documentation Quality The quality of the developer experience is another important factor to consider when evaluating APIs for eCommerce. A poor experience can negatively impact your time to market, significantly increase maintenance and ultimately development cost. A few key considerations you should explore & questions you should ask when it comes to the developer experience include: Is the eCommerce API consistent, standardized and human read-able to requests and response objects across all endpoints or is each API endpoint different and require it's own learning curve? i.e. Can a developer read the documentation in a couple of minutes for one endpoint and re-use that knowledge across all API endpoints. Has the eCommerce logic and complexity been well abstracted or are there multiple endpoints and features spread across multiple requests? i.e. it takes several API requests to process an action that could be handled in a single request. Having to make several round trip calls can slow down implementation and your web application performance. Are there examples and SDKs in your language available and supporting high-quality accurate documentation to help you onboard quickly? How easy is it to navigate and browse the documentation to find answers to your questions? Is there a change log and status page? Knowing when something has changed or when services encounter issues is critical to the smooth operation of your eCommerce business. Is there a community forum or ticket-based support system for questions, best practice advice or for when things go wrong? Is there a high-quality Postman or Paw collection that covers the entire breadth of the commerce API that you can download to rapidly test drive the API? All of the above questions outlined above around the developer experience will directly impact implementation time and ultimately the development cost. In other words, a positive developer experience will lead to faster implementation times and lower costs whereas a negative or sub-par developer experience will lead to longer implementation cycles and higher costs. Conclusion As you can see, when it comes to understanding what an eCommerce API is and how to evaluate what makes a great eCommerce API there are many things to consider. This article is in no way an exhaustive list and is simply some of the top areas you should consider when evaluating an eCommerce API. Hopefully, this article gave you some insights into how you should approach and think about eCommerce APIs. If you would like to learn more about the Elastic Path API, head on over to our API reference and get started with our Postman collection.             i { -webkit-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; -moz-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; -o-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; transition: color .25s ease-in-out; color: rgba(68, 68, 68, 1.0) !important; } .subscribe--bar.module_15628520315781867 .btn:hover > i { color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1.0) !important; } ]]>
    Topics: functionality, experience, path, important, data, logic, commerce, api, apis, ecommerce, developer.
  • eCommerce Platform TCO Comparison: BigCommerce, Magento, Commercetools & Elastic Path -   This post was originally published on June 30, 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and extended context surrounding the topic. When it’s time to choose an eCommerce platform, everyone wants to know which solution will be the best one for their business. But more often than not, the next question is “How much does it cost?” Ideally, we all want the best bang for our buck, but it’s easy to get distracted by the displayed pricing on a website, or the lack thereof. Sometimes we end up jumping for a cheaper priced solution and shying away from those vendors that don’t display their pricing on the website, because we think it’ll be too costly. Only to find out, your “cheaper” solution is more expensive, because you were unaware of all of the additional cost you would incur.   At Elastic Path, we happen to be one of the vendors without upfront pricing because our pricing is truly customized to a business’ needs. However, to help you understand how your total cost of ownership would compare to other vendors on the market, we will outline all the factors that you should be taking into consideration when evaluating your eCommerce solution. We’ll also make reference to some of the the top eCommerce vendors on the market such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Big Commerce, Magento and Commercetools to give you a better idea of where Elastic Path is positioned in comparison.    To get a true understanding of your total cost of ownership you will need to take into account both your first year costs as well as your future costs. These costs include but aren’t limited to:  Base software fee / Licensing fee Hosting cost Implementation cost Third party integrations cost Cost of changes   In this article, we will first dissect each category of cost you should be considering followed by a breakdown of the total cost you can expect over a typical contract period for the aforementioned vendors.     Base Software Fee/ Licensing Fee The base software fee or licensing fee is what we like to refer to as the “upfront” pricing. These fees tend to reflect either monthly or yearly licensing fees, which can be: Tier based, continuous revenue based or percent of sales based.    Tier-based means that there is a predefined price that your company will get locked into based on your current and expected revenue. Elastic Path and Commercetools are examples of vendors that do tier pricing by revenue. The Elastic Path model is based on your transaction volume, which can be structured by Gross Merchandise Volume(GMV) or by the number of orders processed(used more regularly for B2B companies).  For example our pricing starts at $50,000 for companies who are just getting started and have revenue under $10 Million. Our pricing strategy allows you to plan your estimated growth over the next three years, lock in pricing, and allow you to plan for your spend in the future. This promises guaranteed pricing and clarity year over year so you can make plans for the future.   By continuous revenue, we mean the strategy by which vendors price their customers based on the revenue tier that they’re in, but automatically bump them up to the next pricing tier as soon as they go over. We’ve seen vendors such as BigCommerce and Magento use this type of strategy. For Magento customers with revenue between $5-$10 Million, you can expect a licensing fee of about $50K for Magento Enterprise Edition and $80K for Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition.    By percent of sales based pricing, we mean the strategy by which vendors take a small percentage of your Gross Merchandise Volume. Salesforce Commerce is an example of a vendor that uses this type of model. For example, Salesforce Commerce Cloud takes 1-2% of your GMV annually. So at $10 Million in revenue, you can expect to pay around $100K to $200K. This type of model can be quite attractive because there’s no immediate upfront cost and it scales based on how your business performs. However, there is also an additional annual fee of $150K that is mandatory to begin. This is a great example of hidden costs that you may not be aware of upfront.    Implementation Cost Implementation costs are usually the most feared by businesses as it is perceived as the highest costs they will incur. These will usually be dependent on the cost of your developer and the time it takes to build the frontend and backend of your system. However, if you’re in the market for an out-of-the-box solution, the majority of your cost will be dependent on the changes and customizations you will need to alter your pre-built solution. For brands with a unique brand vision and requirements, there will most likely always be customizations needed, and therefore, we recommend working with an agency or systems integrator. Here are a few of the tasks you can expect an agency to complete, that will determine your implementation costs:  Frontend development  Backend development  UI/UX design  Software systems integrations Omnichannel design    Hosting Cost Hosting costs are typically overlooked by teams when planning their yearly budget, but happens to be one of the most important costs you want to consider. Not because it’s overly expensive, but because the hosting provider you choose will determine the performance of your website. Some platforms offer hosting on premise or in the cloud within their platform, while others allow you to choose an outside hosting vendor to be integrated with their solution.  Elastic Path allows you to choose from a variety of hosting vendors that will best fit your business such as Netflify and Amazon AWS. Your hosting cost is commonly determined by the bandwidth and the seats you require. For example, for a mid-sized company with $10 Million in revenue, you can expect to pay around $1000/month for Netlify.  Platforms like Magento also utilize outside vendors such as Nexcess to provide dedicated hosting. For one dedicated server it says you could pay between $700 and  $800/month. However, due to Magento’s large code base, many customers have informed us that they have had to opt in for higher end hosting options in order to not compromise on speed. On average they have spent around $2000/ month on hosting. Other out-of-the-box platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Big Commerce will typically have hosting included in their licensing cost.   Third Party Cost Third party costs are a little bit more intricate. When we think about this cost, we think about either plugins that are supplied by your platform as an application, or api integrations from third party vendors. The purpose of these integrations are to essentially extend your existing platform with other functionality. Some of the core third-party integrations include: content infrastructure, search engines, sales tax management, product information management, and shipping solutions. These costs will differ from vendor to vendor depending on if you leverage the third party as a plugin to your out-of-the-box solution, or buy a specific vendor solution for your Composable Commerce solution.   Cost of Changes One of the most important costs that are often neglected or forgotten are the costs associated with making changes to your solution. Most times we tend to plan and make decisions for “now,” but when the time comes and you are faced with costly changes that you weren’t prepared for, it can be very detrimental to your fiscal budget planning. In addition, if you’re the type of brand that wants to keep up with the ever changing times, updates and changes are inevitable and therefore it is imperative you understand what those costs will look like in the future.    Typical changes you will need to prepare for include:  Upgrades to your commerce software Maintenance of your system Upgrades or changes to your third party technology partners Changes in the backend functionality to fit your business requirements Addition of new user experiences to keep up with customer expectations These changes can become costly very quickly with traditional legacy platforms, as their rigid structure makes changes more difficult, thus driving up developer costs. Composable Commerce solutions on the other hand are more flexible by nature and therefore will end up lowering your overall total cost of changes in the future. As each business’ requirements will be different, we will not be able to provide an estimate of these costs across each vendor. However, from feedback from past customers, on average, Composable Commerce solutions like Elastic Path and Commercetools, lower cost of changes by 40% when compared to rigid legacy platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento.    Now that we've dissected the various cost categories, we have provided an overview of the total costs you can expect either on a monthly or annual basis for a few of the top legacy and Composable Commerce solutions on the market.      BigCommerce BigCommerce positions itself as an eCommerce platform for high volume brands, with  two main payment plans: Essentials Plan and Enterprise Plan.    BigCommerce Essentials  Plan BigCommerce Standard BigCommerce  Plus BigCommerce  Pro Yearly Sales $50,000 $150,000 $400,000 Monthly Pricing $29.95 $79.95 $299.95 The pricing represents their upfront license fee. At these rates, you get your average out-of-the-box store with zero customization, providing you with all the features you need to get a basic store up-and-running. Two additional costs you may not be considering when choosing BigCommerce: They automatically bump you to the next tier if your actual sales exceed the threshold. You spend an additional $150 per $200k sales increase if you go  higher than the BigCommerce Pro Sales Threshold’ e.g. 800k+ Sales = $700+/month.  In addition to these hidden fees, there are also costs associated with plug-in applications for advanced services, as well as a list of 80 themes that range from $145 - $235.   BigCommerce Enterprise BigCommerce Enterprise offers all the core features, along with the addition of some premium features including hosting, security, and support. Their pricing widely varies based on the average order value and the average number of orders processed per month. Based on conversations from some of their sales representatives, the pricing plan ranges anywhere between $400 and $20,000 monthly.  For some additional context, their TCO Calculator shows that based on a $250,000 yearly revenue you will incur:    Infrastructure cost →  $38000+ Site launch cost →  Design, QA Build: $30,000+  Integrations: $3000  Managed support costs→ $5000   Shopify  Shopify is the market leader for SMB customers looking for an out of the box eCommerce website. Shopify customers give up flexibility, meaning that they'll need to be comfortable running their eCommerce website according to Shopify's templates and structures - but for many companies, that is fine because they're just looking for a standard website. Shopify has 5 primary offerings: Lite starts at $9/month Basic starts at $29/month Standard starts at $79/month Advanced starts at $299/month Shopify+ starts at $2,000/month There are also gateway fees, which range from 2.15-3% + $.30 per transaction.    Magento  Magento Community Edition positions themselves as an Open Source eCommerce platform that provides businesses with a flexible, digital commerce solution to successfully sell online. We’ve already written a more detailed post on our blog  that digs into Magento’s TCO. To give you a brief overview of their pricing structure, we’ll focus on Magento’s two main plans: Magento Open Source and Magento Enterprise.   Magento Open Source Magento’s “FREE” Open Source plan proves to be a more customizable option when compared to BigCommerce. Be careful - the only thing free about this option is their licensing fee/download. There are few costs hidden in the background:  Implementation → $30,000 - $100,000+ Hosting → $1000+ Themes → $29-499 Maintenance and Support → $30,000+ Extensions → $0 - $10,000 Third Party Integrations → $6,000 I know what you’re thinking, those added up pretty quickly! To be upfront, the price for a more customized store than BigCommerce is going to start somewhere between $30,000 and $100,000 upwards.     Discover our eCommerce Platform Buyer's Guide See The 7 Considerations when Choosing the best eCommerce Platform in our comprehensive buyer's guide. There is no "best" and therefore, when choosing an eCommerce solution, you should focus on matching your company's specific requirements to each vendor's offering. Go to Buyer's Guide   Magento Enterprise  Magento Enterprise is the premium paid version of Magento, designed for those stores that need more than the community edition offers, based on the size of their company, and the level of customization they’re looking for. However, with this option, you have to empty your pockets for a much higher licensing fee. Based on your revenue, Magento displays their upfront price between  $22,000/year and $125,000/year. Of course this also includes access to more advanced features such as security, mobile commerce, and free professional customer support. However, in addition to including all the core features that the open source version consists of, the same features tend to come at a higher price for this plan. Some of these higher feature costs include:  Implementation → $60,000+ Hosting → $7000+ Themes → $29-499 Magento Certified Gold Partner - $10,000 Extensions → $0 - $10,000 Third Party Integrations → $6,000+   Overall, this comes with more customization, but still lacks complete control over your content. The price for this package starts between $100,000 and $250,000  Overall, Magento Enterprise comes with more customization, but still lacks complete control over your content. The price for this package starts between $100,000 and $250,000 upwards! These are high costs and to make it even worse, Magento’s performance has not been up to standard either. We have evaluated over 1,000 websites running on a range of eCommerce platforms and Magento came close bottom for website performance as a whole. You may want to consider the costs associated with their slow performing stores when considering your total cost of ownership as well. Commercetools Commercetools is a Headless Commerce Platform. To be completely frank, there are no signs of Commercetools’ pricing anywhere! They seem to be a bit secretive, but we have done our best to provide you with the most accurate information based on feedback from our customers, who shared what Commercetools has proposed to them. These costs include:  Implementation →  $300,000 - $1 Million License Fees →  $200,000/year  - $500,000/year Specialized resources→ $150,000/year   Elastic Path  Elastic Path offers Composable Commerce-as-a-Service, an API-First headless commerce microservices solution. Composable Commerce is a modern approach to eCommerce that is built on the concept of composability, where core commerce functionality and partner integrations can be selected and assembled in various combinations to satisfy specific business requirements, at the speed digitally driven brands need to succeed. Composable Commerce were built on three main tenets: Modular architecture  Open Ecosystem  Business Centric Solutions  And it’s with these tenets that Elastic Path has been able to reduce business’ overall total cost of ownership by 25%. As mentioned before, Elastic Path provides a tier based pricing based on Gross Merchandise Revenue. Overall based on a 10 Million revenue, pricing would be around $50K for Elastic Path.  Elastic Path also offers Composable Commerce Experience Assurance that de-risks the management of multi-vendor solutions by providing an expert 24x7 global support team for all issues. This cost of the feature will be 25% of your annual contract value and capped at $25,000 USD/ year. Additional costs will include: implementation costs, hosting costs and third party costs which will lie in the same range of costs for Magento. Where you will end up seeing the greatest cost savings are in the phases of customizations and changes. To get a better understanding of how cost of changes will compare across traditional legacy platforms and Composable Commerce solutions visit our Total Cost of Ownership Guide. If you have more specific questions regarding Elastic Path costs, please refer to the pricing page here.  Summary  Understanding your total cost of ownership is not straight forward and often times we prioritize certain categories of costs and lose overall sight on our expected total cost in the future. As each vendor has different offerings, it will never be easy to compare them across the board. However, if you follow the guide of assessing each category of cost, this will give you and your team a good understanding to make an informed decision. If you have any questions, we are always happy to help - Just reach out to us.        Stay on top of industry trends with the latest blogs and articles from our eCommerce experts.   i { -webkit-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; -moz-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; -o-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; transition: color .25s ease-in-out; color: rgba(68, 68, 68, 1.0) !important; } .subscribe--bar.module_15628520315781867 .btn:hover > i { color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1.0) !important; } ]]>
    Topics: commercetools, ecommerce, pricing, platform, based, magento, path, costs, solution, tco, comparison, cost, bigcommerce, vendors, commerce, revenue, elastic.
  • ‘Headless’ e-commerce platform Fabric raises $43M - Fabric, a startup powering e-commerce for companies like GNC and ABC Carpet and Home, has raised $43 million in Series A funding. The announcement comes less than four months after Fabric announced its $9.5 million seed round. CEO Faisal Masud said Fabric hadn’t intended to raise more funding so quickly, but given its growth and […]
    Topics: techcrunch, ecommerce, customers, funding, masud, fabric, large, platforms, headless, 43m, team, platform, commerce, raises.