Headless vs. Composable Commerce

It is no surprise that ecommerce is still on the rise. The ecommerce landscape today is almost unrecognizable compared to a couple of years ago. The percentage of consumers shopping online is increasing tremendously and according to Forbes, online retail sales as a percentage of total retail sales have skyrocketed to 35% in 2021. Just one year before, in 2020, online sales had already grown significantly to 19% of total sales. These numbers show the huge increase in online sales in the last two to three years. 

As you can imagine, there are massive shifts in consumer behavior and online retailers have to pull out all the stops to stay ahead of their competitors. It’s not about selling a product anymore, it’s about meeting and exceeding customer expectations. That’s what modern commerce is about: Start building a future-ready ecommerce platform that’s flexible, modular, and that scales with you. So what about headless and Composable Commerce? How does it help and what is the difference between these two? 

Headless commerce 

A very first, logical step towards a modern approach is going headless: a huge buzzword in ecommerce and an eye-opener for fast-growing online retailers that encounter limitations in their ecommerce setup. Headless commerce is the ecommerce approach by which the backend from a webshop is decoupled from the frontend, which means that the frontend is a stand-alone application. By doing so, it helps ecommerce merchants to innovate faster on the frontend and to deliver compelling, high-quality experiences.

Better performance: Improve website performance with headless PWA technology for a better, faster, more agile, adaptable shopping experience. 

True omnichannel experience: Deliver best user experience on any sales channel, whether it’s on desktop, mobile device, tablet or any other touchpoint. Headless commerce enables online brands to build new experiences at any time. 

Highly customizable: A headless approach offers limitless potential on the frontend. Fully customize your frontend experience based on your business goals and needs. 

Flexibility and adaptability: The frontend is decoupled from the backend which makes it easy to make changes in the frontend without it affecting any other service in the backend. 

Of course going headless is a good first step towards a fully optimized ecommerce setup and it has many advantages compared to a monolith, but it’s important to remember that these advantages only apply to the frontend of a webshop. Do you want complete freedom, flexibility, and scalability? Then it’s a must to look at your backend setup as well. That’s where Composable Commerce comes in: get complete freedom from frontend to backend and build your shop the way you want. 

Composable Commerce 

So, what if we also apply this strategy of decoupling for unlimited flexibility, scalability, and freedom to the backend of a webshop? That’s what Composable Commerce is all about. It gives you complete freedom to select best-of-breed commerce components and compose them into a  fully customized ecommerce setup, adapted to your specific business needs. This approach unlocks unlimited flexibility, scalability, and it gives you full control over your business, from frontend to backend. This way organizations can deliver innovation and adapt more quickly to the ever changing ecommerce market.

Incredible user experience: Create supreme shopping experiences throughout the customer journey; from first touchpoint to an actual purchase. 

Vendor flexibility: Work with the software vendors and technologies that fit with your business needs. From the commerce platform of your choice, to a headless CMS, to your preferred payment service provider. Every combination is possible. 

100% future-proof: Create an ecommerce platform that’s not only ready for today, but also for tomorrow. Not happy with a specific software vendor anymore? Not a problem! Your tech stack is clear and switching is easy. 

One source of truth for your data: Synchronize all your data seamlessly across the platform and all your channels within milliseconds.

This image shows a visualisation of the difference between headless commerce and composable commerce.

So, is your online business fast-growing, are you open to new technologies and are you looking for an ecommerce setup that is ready for the future? Then you should consider Composable Commerce. This service-oriented architecture gives you complete freedom to build the ecommerce platform your business needs, without adding complexity. Going headless with a decoupled architecture is a good first step towards a full composable setup and it gives you many advantages on the frontend side. Do you want complete control over your frontend ánd backend? Then it’s time for Composable Commerce! 

How to get started 

At first glance, the switch to Composable Commerce seems to be a huge step for online businesses. However, it doesn’t require a big bang replatforming. The advantage of this approach is that it’s a process, you can gradually transition from a monolithic to a composable structure without throwing away all the valuable business logic you’ve acquired over the years. A good first step towards composable is headless. Start decoupling your frontend from the backend and when you’re ready, take the next step. Start slow and keep on building the platform that your business needs. And the good thing about this best-of-breed world: Every player in ecommerce has its own focus and expertise.

Don’t start building everything from scratch but stand on our shoulders. Contact us. 

4 promising approaches to ecommerce

Few industries are undergoing such constant change and evolution as the ecommerce industry. Customer requirements are constantly changing, new technologies are introduced, and new tools and ideas are constantly being launched on the market, which online retailers in particular can use to further establish themselves on the market. In the following article, we have taken up four innovative and important topics from the industry and would like to give you an understanding of their advantages and possibilities.

 

#1 Headless and Composable Commerce 

If you’re active in the ecommerce market you’ve probably heard of terms like headless and Composable Commerce. But what exactly is it and how can online retailers benefit from it? Let’s start with the difference between those two: 

Headless is the ecommerce approach by which the backend from a webshop is decoupled from the frontend, and by doing so, it helps ecommerce merchants to innovate faster on the front-end, the user experience side, only.

Composable Commerce is what comes next. It gives you complete freedom to work with the software vendors you prefer by also separating the backend services from each other.  It gives you unlimited flexibility and scalability to build the ecommerce platform your business needs, from frontend to backend. 

Now you can imagine that both bring many advantages for online retailers that want to grow but are held back by their current ecommerce platform. They often face challenges when they haven’t made the switch yet from their monolith to a headless or even Composable Commerce approach.

Think of: 

  • You have issues with your frontend’s performance like page speed 
  • You want to work with different software vendors for best user experience but your platform doesn’t connect with them 
  • You worry about downtime on big days like Black Friday
  • You feel locked-in because you don’t want to do a full re-platforming
  • Building custom features is not even an option, it costs you too much time and money 
  • You want to serve new markets but your current platform doesn’t allow you to 

It’s time for Composable Commerce

Huge brands like Zalando and Bol.com are already relying on a composable approach and it’s time for mid-market to enterprise merchants to make the shift to Composable Commerce as well. It is the logical step towards delivering on customer demands across multiple touchpoints. Gartner says: ‘Composable Commerce must be adopted for the future of applications.’ and ‘By 2023, organizations that have adopted a composable approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation.’ And this future is already here. Jump on the train now while it’s starting and get miles ahead of your competition. 

The difference between headless and composable commerce explained.

#2 Customer Centricity 

Placing the customer in the center of attention instead of the product or service is basically what the term customer centricity means. But why is this important and how can this be focused on from the perspective of an online retailer?

When a company states that they work with a customer centric approach, this should in the base case not only mean that they focus on their customers in a slightly different way than their competitors but more like a complete strategy and philosophy behind their everyday business. The company’s goal should be to provide their customers with long-lasting added value. This can take various forms and usually follows the goal of retaining customers in the long term and thus also increasing the customer lifetime value.

One example showing how a company can focus on the customer and build long-term relationships is by offering attractive loyalty programs. However, this does not mean a one-time benefit that customers receive when they sign up for a newsletter, for example, but rather an engaging loyalty program from which customers can benefit in the long term. Many companies already offer a credit point system, in which customers can collect credits for various actions, which can then be used in the online store in the course of selected actions in order to get products cheaper or to be granted earlier access to limited editions. These credits can be collected with every purchase, when subscribing to the social media channels, when recommending products to friends or similar.

Another aspect that focuses on the customer and can contribute to a long-term relationship is personalization. It is becoming increasingly important to target each customer with those products or services that are really relevant to them. A one-size-fits-all solution is no longer sufficient to satisfy the individual wishes and preferences of different customers in such a way that they are permanently happy with a company. This already starts with the fact that companies should take care to adapt their newsletters to different target groups of the company. However, this does not only include the distinction between men and women, but rather interest-based targeting, which allows those contents to be delivered that are relevant to the respective customer.

There are many more ways companies can manage to adopt a customer-centric approach. Ultimately, the most important thing is that companies have a clear strategy and philosophy, and if this is designed to put the customer at the center, this should also be reflected in the company’s activities.

#3 Augmented Reality for live-shopping experiences in online shops 

Another important topic in ecommerce worth mentioning is Augmented Reality. With fierce competition in almost every industry, it’s more important than ever to provide best-in-class shopping experiences. Online retailers are experimenting with new technologies every day and Augmented Reality is one of the reasons why online retailers are successful. And why is that? Let’s have a look at the following example: AR makes it possible for customers to use virtual try-ons. These try-ons show the customer how a certain product will look when they wear it. A real shopping experience directly on your phone! Nike is one of those brands that allows their customers to try on new sneakers with AR. The campaign aimed at bringing together a creative community and the technology allows people to try on their favorite sneaker without having to leave the house. Another example of successful try ons are beauty brands, who give their users the opportunity to virtually try on various make-up products. 

A visual showing how you can do try-ons in online shops with augmented reality

Customer experience goes beyond a well-performing webshop. With the constant changes in consumer behavior, it’s crucial to provide excellent experiences throughout the complete journey; from the first touchpoint to an actual purchase. 

#4 Storytelling 

Why is storytelling so important? Doesn’t it unnecessarily exaggerate topics that could also be explained in a very simple and straightforward way? You can almost say “it depends”. After all, storytelling is not the most appropriate approach to spread information in all areas of a company. However, if we take a closer look at the content sector of a company and all aspects of external communication, we can see that storytelling clearly plays a major role and offers companies a new way of communicating information to the outside world. Storytelling does not mean telling untrue stories that promise the wrong things just to get people to take certain actions, but rather it means wrapping information in compelling and engaging stories to communicate on a more emotional level. In this way, founder stories, information about new products or services, presentations and much more can be shared in a way that makes it easier to absorb information. It is now scientifically proven that people’s brains are oriented towards telling, understanding and retaining stories and that stories are remembered up to 20x better rather than observing clear-cut business inputs. 

So how do you start the “storytelling” project in your own company? First of all, it is a good idea to listen to and learn from well-known personalities who are pioneers in telling good stories. Think about which stories fit your company, your products or services and how you can communicate them in a compelling and still professional way. It’s also important to get feedback so you can improve your storytelling and keep developing when it comes to maintaining excitement and telling stories. A story is usually divided into five parts which should be considered when figuring out a way to communicate it to the outside world:

A hero.

A goal. 

Conflict. 

A dramaturgy. 

Resolution. 

Have you already gathered experience in one of the topics mentioned or do you plan to do so in the future? We are looking forward to your input and the interaction! Contact us!

Deity partners with Talon.One: Personalized promotion on a global scale

Modern customers love memorable, people-focused promotions that reward their curiosity and loyalty. In fact, 63% of consumers modify their spending habits to maximize the benefits of a loyalty program. However as promotion evolves and competition grows more fierce, not all loyalty programs make the cut. A SmarterHQ survey indicates that 80% of those who classify themselves as frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands who personalize their experience. There are serious rewards for those who can capitalize on these changing expectations, while businesses that can’t adapt risk being left behind. 

Talon.One was designed to both allow small companies to create enterprise-level promotion campaigns while also allowing large companies to take a flexible, creative approach to promotions that tends to be difficult to implement at an enterprise level. Their goal is to be a solution for companies, at every level, struggling to adapt and scale to match the potential, or even the basic demands, of their promotional strategy. 

Talon.One’s features include loyalty programs, coupons, discounts, product bundling, geo-fencing, gift cards, referral programs and more. Each of these features works in harmony as part of Talon.One’s Promotion Engine, combining seamlessly with the rest of your tech stack to make every promotion possible.

Customers expect more, so should you

Modern customers love memorable, people-focused promotions that reward their curiosity and loyalty. A recent SmarterHQ survey indicated that 80% of those who classify themselves as frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands that personalize their experience. 

Talon.One’s Promotion Engine allows for the use of all available customer information, drawing both session data and user profile data, to personalize promotions based on their interests and behavior. Customers get a service tailored to them while businesses gain essential insights into what’s driving their best customers. 

Future-proof your promotions

Your promotion strategy could look totally different in five years’ time. In fact, it should. When it comes to promotions, creativity and innovation is vital to businesses maintaining customer interest. This is why Talon.One’s entire range of features are available to every customer, allowing them to not only increase the scale of their existing promotional campaigns but explore new avenues of promotion as their business evolves and their customer base grows. 

The Rule Builder, the central driver of Talon.One’s campaign manager, allows for targeted promotions to be created using business-specific custom attributes. Crucially, the Rule Builder’s intuitive interface means campaigns can be created and edited without any developer involvement, significantly streamlining the process.

Many companies find that, due to the ease of testing and deployment of more advanced campaigns using the rules builder, they become open to promotion strategies that are a lot more creative.  

Flash Coffee’s extensive loyalty program is available via a bespoke Flash Coffee app. The app features daily promotions, discounts, wallets for customers to save loyalty points, badges, and much more, all powered by Talon.One’s Promotion Engine.

Car-sharing app WeShare used Talon.One’s rules engine to offer free parking to any customers who visited any of the lakes around Berlin. Innovative promotion solutions like this meant that during a pandemic, a difficult time for a car-sharing business, WeShare was still able to boost promotion redemptions 420% after switching to Talon.One.

Talon.One’s flexibility also means it can easily accommodate stacking promotions, a process that causes difficulties with most systems, and other complex promotional approaches. This is why businesses with dynamic, flexible pricing systems like Australian premium craft drinks company Mighty Craft regard Talon.One as “a foundational building block — without it we wouldn’t operate.”

Scalability and security

Innovative promotions are only effective if they work correctly.  Promotions often suffer when created in-house because the core product will always take priority over the development and maintenance of promotions. A Wharton School survey showed that in the early days of the pandemic, many loyalty program members actually had a less satisfying experience than regular customers. These issues stemmed from poor internal contact between departments and technical implementation. 

Empowering marketers to create promotions without developer involvement shouldn’t come at the cost of vital infrastructures like data encryption, autoscaling and GDPR compliance. This is why Talon.One emphasizes making sure its service is both optimized for peak performance and protected by the latest enterprise-grade security. Even at the enterprise level, a system with the same kind of power and attention to detail as Talon.One provides would prove extremely difficult to develop in-house and even more difficult to maintain, upgrade and support. 

Omnichannel Marketing

According to Marketing Revolution, Omnichannel marketing is the integration of “the various channels organizations use to interact with consumers, with the goal of creating a consistent brand experience. This includes physical (e.g. stores) and digital channels (e.g. websites).”

A recent Omnisend survey revealed purchase frequency is 250% higher after switching from single-channel marketing to omnichannel automation. However, this kind of cohesion isn’t easy to achieve. In fact, in the same survey, 50% of retailers cited internal coordination and data issues during omnichannel implementation.

Talon.One’s Promotion Engine is designed with omnichannel marketing in mind, allowing for promotional campaigns that are consistent in-store, on an app and in a browser. Talon.One’s solution avoids the usual omnichannel difficulties of integrating several legacy systems developed separately, especially when used as part of a composable commerce platform like Deity.

Deity Integration
Integrating Deity with Talon.One’s Promotion engine is a powerful way to provide diverse, meaningful rewards to your customer. Talon.One can harness the wealth of information Deity’s Composable Commerce platform puts at your disposal to create infinitely personalizable promotions. Use data from any of your integrated services to build innovative promotions fast, without the need for complicated development or deployment. 

Learn More About Talon.One x Deity: Click here to learn more about how a Talon.One/Deity integration could transform and streamline your promotional campaigns.

Another Milestone: The first ever PWA with Push Notifications on iOS

mobile device with iOS push notifications for pwa

In Fall 2021, we proudly broke barriers by introducing Deity PWA in the App Store. Now, just a few months later, we are elated to launch Push Notification functionality for the Deity native PWA for iOS. With our latest solution, we’ve unlocked yet another feature previously unavailable to PWAs on iOS devices.

Until today it’s impossible to get PWA features such as web Push Notifications working on iOS. But that did not discourage us. After all, we’re used to being first-in-our field trailblazers when it comes to headless, PWA, and Composable Commerce. And our newest innovation marks a huge step forward in our work to make PWA part of the iOS world (and vice versa).

Deity is THE first to offer merchants and webshops a PWA which is also downloadable in the App Store and provides native-app capabilities. Now, thanks to our newest update, this includes native Push Notification functionality. Push Notifications massively improve user experience and the overall effectiveness of applications. So if you’re in ecommerce and don’t have or can’t afford a native app, you no longer have to miss out on the part of your customer base using iOS.

iOS push notifications for pwa

Deity’s acronym-busting guide to our latest breakthrough

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web application that uses the latest web capabilities to deliver users a native app-like experience. PWA’s are reliable, incredibly fast, and highly engaging without the cost of additional customized coding. And at Deity, we’ve been building and launching them on live stores even before the term gained popularity.
We can get caught up in the jargon or we can cut to the chase: Your customers want to find you not just on the web but increasingly expect to interact and shop through apps, no matter what kind of phone they use. As merchants, you need to decide how to invest in, develop, and build this functionality (PWA or native app).

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on budget and other factors, but one drawback to PWAs is that some crucial functionality (like web push notifications) is not yet available on Apple devices (iOS), Then we stepped in.

While it’s still impossible to use (PWA) web push notifications on iOS directly – only Apple can change that – our solution closes the gap between PWA and native apps by publishing the PWA directly into the App Store as a native app.

Our solution weds the benefits of a PWA with the mobile-first native-like experiences and tons of dynamic flexibility AND is downloadable from the App Store. This means your customer reach goes way beyond the standard web, being available not only on Android, but also iOS. And once your app is downloaded, you can directly communicate with your clients through timely, cost-effective Push Notifications.

Benefits of Deity’s Native PWA for iOS

  • Your customers can now also find you through the App Store and reach your business through their preferred ways.
  • NEW: Send Push Notification to users on iOS (instead of or in addition to newsletters, coupons, etc.). Carry out mass marketing and convert sales easily and cost-effectively with our near-native PWA and Push Notifications on any device.
  • Add value by cutting duplicate development and maintenance costs: One code-base, one application, and one maintenance point for the web, Google Play, and even the App Store.
  • We’re always here to lend a hand with tech support and business advice.

Ready for some more good news?

Along with our PWA solutions, we are pleased to report there are early indications that larger changes may be afoot. While Apple has made no official announcement, early investigations into the 15.4 iOS beta release indicate they have built the groundwork for additional functionalities like Push Notifications. For the tech-heads out there, it appears Apple has added a “Push API” toggle in the Experimental settings page for Safari. 

Apple push notifications

This has set the tech world abuzz guessing whether Apple will implement this or not. If they choose to take this live, then it would be a huge step forward. They would join the likes of Google which implemented this over five years ago, by bringing web-based notifications to its mobile devices. It would finally allow for an ecosystem where most features of PWAs are available on all devices. 

In the meantime, while Apple decides which way to go, we’re here to help you bridge the gap. Ready to implement our PWA solution with Push Notifications for iOS? Have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re ready to work our magic.

Enter Deity: Go Composable with Contentful as your headless CMS

“In the future, Gartner sees the composable approach becoming the norm across enterprise Applications.”

Enterprise ecommerce is pivoting towards a modular and customer-driven future, and all serious ecommerce services and platforms are making their APIs ready to be implemented in this transforming ecommerce world. Modular commerce focuses on building a commerce stack from a set of stand-alone ecommerce services rather than using a pre-packaged platform, giving the flexibility to any online merchant to fully customize their webshop with the best services out there. 

Contentful is the leading content platform for digital-first business, allowing their customers from all over the world to make customizable commerce possible. They help thousands of brands around the globe to create and manage their digital experiences across any channel. They integrate seamlessly with hundreds of other tools through APIs. But how can they assure a smooth flow of data exchange for their customers between the frontend and backend? And also between different backend services? Read it in this blog! 

contentful

How Deity integrates with Contentful 

In October 2021, Contentful became an official Deity partner with the common goal to enable a composable approach for all their customers. 

‘Contentful has their APIs ready for Composable Commerce.’ A common phrase in ecommerce, but what does this mean? APIs are direct and non customizable connections, allowing you to directly connect with other services that have their APIs ready and that are compatible with each other. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that these different services can smoothly and efficiently send data to the frontend and to other backend services. That’s where Middleware comes in. 

visualisation of composable commerce with contentful as headless cms

The Deity x Contentful integration allows Contentful customers to connect with any other ecommerce service, even if this was never possible before. These services communicate with each other through the Middleware, assuring a fast and efficient flow of data from the backend to the frontend, but also between backend services. Most middleware services either only allow pre-integrated services OR any API-based service, but in that case you still need a lot of custom integration development time. Our middleware allows you to easily unplug one service and plug in the other, but still gives you complete freedom to choose any other API based service, no matter the platform and their possibilities. This is what makes it really platform agnostic, and enterprise level software, with the ease and speed of saas. So in short, Contentful is a piece of this Composable puzzle, and Deity allows you to put together all the pieces of the puzzle. The out-of-the-box integration speeds up this process for you, leading to faster time-to-market and less development time.  

Juan Montoya, Technology Partner Manager @ Contentful says:

The new integration between Deity and Contentful opens the possibility to connect to any ecommerce service quickly and securely. We are excited about working together to help our customers make the jump from legacy systems to a composable commerce architecture.

Benefits of the Deity x Contentful integration 

Choosing and implementing Contentful as your headless CMS in a modular world has become fast and easy, without any hassle. No matter what platform or other services you’re using, Contentful can be one of them because the integration is already there. No building from scratch, just plugging it in. 

Also the other way around; do you wish to use a specific service with Contentful? Everything is possible! Even though the platform you’re using doesn’t have all the possibilities, with Deity you can integrate anything. That’s the power of true Middleware! Choose, integrate and swap any API-based commerce service freely and hassle free. Become platform-independent, future proof and achieve complete freedom of choice, without the risk and complexity of being locked-in to a specific vendor. And not to forget, it gives you 100% control over all data streams. Synchronize all your data-holding systems within microseconds. Control, combine and enrich data flows to any touch point of your commerce ecosystem. 

visualisation of API-first software services for composable commerce

But that’s not all, the integration comes with a super-fast and reliable Headless PWA storefront that is built for amazing online experiences which seamlessly integrates with Contentful. No longer worry about having to build it from scratch. Use Deity’s UI components to quick-start or create your own and get full control over your frontend. To top it off, with the Deity x Contentful integration you get instant content updates on the frontend through real time, automated updates from your APIs. How does that look? Change something in your content and before you know it, this change is visible in your frontend. Simple as that! 

Last but not least, serve all your customers from one codebase. Our PWA Storefront is deployable as native app on all Android, Microsoft, and even on iOS devices, so no need to build and maintain two codebases. 

visualisation of high performing headless pwa

Deity’s role in Composable Commerce 

Composable Commerce is a modern ecommerce approach of selecting best-of-breed commerce solutions and combining them into one custom platform adapted to specific business needs. We believe that such a level of control over your online business is a must for enterprise success. Deity is here to give you that full control. Create and maintain a composable tech architecture and see the full advantage of best-in-class user experiences. Deity’s Middleware and PWA Storefront make a modular, best-of-breed and customer-driven commerce possible, without the hassle associated with it. 

All major platforms and commerce services, including Contentful, make sure to have their APIs ready for this new approach. Next stop: all these connections and all the data have to be controlled, monitored, and managed from one central place. That’s where Deity comes in! The actual composer of your commerce. 

Have we caught your attention? We’re more than happy to start a conversation and tell you everything about our partnership with Contentful, our platforms, our integration, and Composable Commerce. Would you like to explore what a composable approach can do for your business? Reach out to us! 

 

About Contentful 

Contentful, the leading content platform for digital-first business, helps over 30% of the Fortune 500 and thousands of brands around the world create and manage digital experiences for their customers across any channel. It enables greater speed and scale than traditional CMS solutions. Contentful unifies content in a single hub, structures it for use in any digital channel, and integrates seamlessly with hundreds of other tools through open APIs. Companies such as Gucci, Plaid, Goodrx, Intercom, Notion, Staples and many others rely on Contentful’s platform. For more information, visit https://www.contentful.com/

How Deity and commercetools are building the future of ecommerce

At Deity we’re constantly looking for partners who are equally passionate, innovative and eager to think bigger. That’s how we are repeatedly challenging the status quo, together. Reason for us to join forces with commercetools, also operating in the enterprise tech industry, to fulfil our common goal: to build the modern world of ecommerce. 

commercetools is one of the world’s leading headless commerce platforms focused on creating powerful, highly customized commerce experiences. With a count of more than 250 customers worldwide and 60+ integrations, they are a true worthy player in the world of composable commerce. 

So what do we have in common: 

We do everything with a strong passion for modern technology and innovation, always with our customers as our number one priority.

Our joint vision on modern commerce 

Unfortunately, there are many fast-growing businesses out there that repeatedly run into problems with their tech stack, not being able to keep up with their growth anymore: 

  • Not having the flexibility to provide your customers with best experiences 
  • Not being able to integrate with the services of your choice because you’re stuck on one software package 
  • Problems with reliability, leading to downtime on the most important days of the year, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Getting in the way of your own growth by not being extensible 

And why is that? Well, this question has one simple answer: if you want to grow, a traditional monolithic architecture for a webshop is often not sufficient anymore, and that’s exactly why we believe in modern commerce. With modern commerce we mean that any business should always be in control over their ecommerce stack. Only when being in full control, can they achieve ecommerce excellence for their customers. No surprise that the well-known modern MACH principles play a huge role in this. 

Visualisation of the FIRE principle: flexibility, integrability, reliability, and extensibility

 

But what exactly are these principles and how have they taken over ecommerce? 

MACH architecture (Microservices based, API-First, Cloud-native SaaS & Headless) was born out of the belief that any ecommerce merchant needs a high level of control over their business to meet the needs of their customers, now and in the future. To a large extent these MACH principles provide this open, modular environment that enables commerce experiences on any touchpoint, leading to highly differentiated and customized online shopping. However, for us modern commerce goes way beyond MACH, it’s the ecommerce world in which any merchant out there can choose the business services that fit best with their, and their customers’, needs. To create combinations for their shop that we’ve never seen before, without limitations and without the need for re-platforming.

MACH vs Composable Commerce 

If you’re involved in the ecommerce space, whether it’s because you’re a vendor or just because you show interest in the latest trends and technologies, you’ve probably heard about terms like MACH (including headless) and Composable Commerce. But what is the difference between these two? 

MACH is basically just a collection of different technologies: 

  • Microservices
  • API-first 
  • Cloud-native SaaS 
  • Headless 

To understand what MACH does we’ll explain each component separately. 

Microservices are a collection of loosely-coupled services, making the services independent of each other. 

APIs are, purely explained, connectors between different business services, allowing them to talk to each other. 

Cloud-native SaaS simply means that you’re applying a SaaS model, or subscription-based model, allowing users to just deploy the capabilities that they need. 

Headless is the approach in which the front-end of a webshop is decoupled from the back-end, giving you the ability to deliver continuous customer journeys across multiple touch points, without having to worry about your back-end slowing you down. 

Now Composable Commerce is what brings it all together, it leverages modern software technologies by which ecommerce merchants are empowered to select and assemble various “best of breed” commerce solutions and compose them to satisfy their exact business requirements. This enables them to create best-in-class user experiences, without limitations and without re-platforming. Leading to a tremendous increase in average order value, conversions, and site speed.

So as you can see, it’s hard to make a direct comparison. Headless is just a small part of MACH and MACH is one of the things that Composable Commerce enables you to do. 

Together with commercetools, we fully embrace Composable Commerce and we are strongly convinced that this is the modern world of ecommerce, the future. 

composable commerce

 

Commercetools and Deity: Making the Impossible Possible

With this modern approach to ecommerce we actually make the impossible possible for our merchants. From now on, commercetools customers are able to keep using their favorite ecommerce platform, but with all the back-end services of their choice. Think of stock management, payment service providers, search and many more. We’ve got you covered!  

Ivo Bronsveld, Head of Integrations at commercetools, says:

Deity opens up the world of composable commerce for commercetools merchants by providing a powerful set of building blocks. Deity is a solution to watch, they are one of the next big things in ecommerce.

We help fast-growing online businesses to truly build what’s best for their shop. Work with the services you need, scale limitlessly, release new features in an instant, make your developers happy, and achieve astonishing sales results. Just with the power of a robust and high-performing Middleware! 

Compose, connect, grow, succeed. With Deity as the true composer of your composable commerce and commercetools as one of the world’s leading enterprise platforms. 

Are you ready to revolutionize your ecommerce? Deity and commercetools are ready to help you achieve this. Contact us!

composable commerce API-first commerce services

 

About commercetools

commercetools is a next-generation software company that offers a true cloud-native, headless commerce platform that provides the building blocks for the new digital commerce age. The commercetools leading-edge API approach helps retailers create brand value by empowering commerce teams to design unique and engaging digital commerce experiences everywhere – today and in the future.

More information at commercetools.com.

One BigCommerce instance with multiple storefronts: it’s possible with Deity

‘Can I add multiple storefronts to my BigCommerce instance?’ The answer has always been a bitter pill: No. This is simply not possible. Of course you can run multiple stores and use separate BigCommerce instances per store, but that requires setting up and maintaining all of those instances separately, which is very inefficient and time consuming. But not with Deity! Our core business is to cater for use cases like these, in this case allowing multiple storefronts from one single backend. Why is this such a big deal? This leads to an enormous decrease in license and development costs and opens up new possibilities for amazing user experiences. In this blog we’ll tell you everything about multistore and how this was implemented for a fast-growing American online retailer. 

 

Back to the basics, what exactly is a multistore? 

Multi-store means that you can control multiple storefronts from one backend. Manage all stores from one single database with full control over each store. Add and edit all your connections, settings and data only once, then share them across multiple frontends. You choose which frontend shows which information and uses which data. You only have one source to maintain. Add as many storefronts as your business requires, it’s very easy! 

visualisation of multi storefront for bigcommerce

 

Benefits multistore 

You can imagine that multistore functionality brings along many benefits. I think the main benefit for all ecommerce businesses is that having multiple stores on one backend saves you an enormous amount of time in developing and maintaining your site. But also customizations play a huge role in this. You can completely customize your storefronts, that’s where full multi-x comes in; it allows you to change the language, currency, country, warehouse and so on.  

All of these supposedly simple steps will have a positive impact on your SEO. If your site content is relevant for your visitors, they will likely stay, resulting in a decrease in bounce rates and therefore better rankings in search engines like Google. With multiple storefronts you’re also able to improve SEO with internal linking, use your own stores to link to each other. And last but not least, the more storefronts you have, the greater your chances of having multiple listings on the first page of search results. 

I can hear you thinking: ‘But how do I add multiple storefronts to just one BigCommerce instance if they don’t have that functionality in their platform?’ We made it possible for CONSORTIUM: an exclusive marketplace for customizable fashion and lifestyle brands. Read their story below. 

CONSORTIUM’s success story 

CONSORTIUM is a brand and retailer marketplace where brands and retailers can transact, it’s a technology for retailers who don’t have ecommerce or who want to improve their ecommerce and who may not have a point of sale by themselves. 

So, what’s important to mention is that CONSORTIUM doesn’t use the multi-storefront functionality like most ecommerce sites do. Multi-store is usually used within a single company, but they are actually using the different storefronts for different companies. This means that each retail store within the marketplace has its own storefront that is being managed from the backend by CONSORTIUM. 

About one year ago CONSORTIUM was only helping physical stores but a number of events made them realize that moving to ecommerce would bring them dozens of benefits. They explored the options and possibilities for ecommerce platforms, best suitable for their marketplace. Which backend fits best with their goals? Which platform could give them what their business needs, including a headless PWA storefront? And most importantly: how could they build a multi-site platform, giving all brands and retailers their own storefront? That turned out to be the biggest challenge so far: finding an existing ecommerce platform that could pair with a really good headless PWA and at the same time support multi-site functionality. BigCommerce aligns with Consortium’s business goals in many ways, especially their headless setup and prices fit best with CONSORTIUM’s goals, but they don’t support unlimited storefronts on just one backend. So the question is: which technology is able to connect to any major commerce platform in a multisite manner?

Deity to the rescue 

They compared all major players in the field of PWA and Middleware technology and Deity turned out to be the only solution being able to provide a really good headless PWA in a multi-site manner, directly integrated with BigCommerce. 

Sam Payrovi, CEO at CONSORTIUM says:

Deity created for us a pre-packaged PWA that we could rely on. They diligently helped us with the integration and we can now lean on their team for continued development. It really has eliminated the load of building an entire front-end team to develop our own PWA from scratch.

Where BigCommerce requires a licensed instance per storefront, CONSORTIUM was able to connect and manage multiple storefronts on just one instance, paying only one BigCommerce license. This empowers them to use the platform of their choice without having to compromise on other points. 

What did it bring them: 

  • A super strong Middleware added to their webshop 
  • The ability to manage an unlimited amount of storefronts from just one BigCommerce backend, with just one BigCommerce license
  • A direct, out of the box, integration with BigCommerce 
  • A 100% headless PWA storefront 
  • Significant lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to alternative solutions

The implementation of this project was completely done by Absolute Web, and what an amazing job they did! Sergiu Tabaran, COO at Absolute Web says: 

Deity was the right PWA platform that directly integrates with BigCommerce and allows building multiple storefronts, which is essential to CONSORTIUM’s business. But that’s not all: we also implemented StoryBlok for content management, we created a completely customized checkout flow and we integrated price lists. Our developers are very happy with the Deity platform, they’re excellent in support and the flexibility is amazing!

visualisation of multiple pwa storefronts with BigCommerce

Why it was a success

Well, first of all the solution gave them the possibility to pursue their goal: to build a headless, multi-site ecommerce marketplace for brands and retailers. One of the reasons for the success of this project was the tremendous decrease in ecommerce costs. Instead of needing a separate BigCommerce license for each storefront, CONSORTIUM was now able to achieve their goal with just one license covering all their storefronts. Time to market and ecommerce costs like the total costs of development, management, and support were significantly lower than alternative options, due to more efficient development. Altogether, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is expected to be much lower than with any other solution. 

Simultaneously, the company is seeing huge increases in traffic each week. CONSORTIUM’s webshop was launched a couple of months ago and in two months time they’ve seen their traffic grow exponentially. An amazing result! Besides, they’ve seen conversion rates like never before! 

Ready for multi-x? 

At Deity we do not limit ourselves to multistore, but rather support full multi-x functionalities. Multistore, multi currency, multi language, multi everything. You name it, we’ve got you covered! Are you ready to take the next step? We’re here to help you make your ecommerce dreams come true.

So reach out to us, we’re here to help! Contact us

How to know you’re outgrowing your ecommerce monolith?

If you clicked on the link to this blog, it most likely means that you already know that the ecommerce market is slowly but firmly moving towards a ‘best-of-breed’ and modular approach, as this is showing many benefits over a monolith, ‘one-stop-shop’ solution. You may have even heard of the terms ‘Headless’, ‘Composable Commerce’, or ‘Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)’. However, you may have questions about the value of this approach for your specific situation and worry about the complexity of the transition. And you might wonder if it is something you should consider. If this is the case, this blog is for you.

Ecommerce on monoliths

Most ecommerce shops you see today run on a monolith ecommerce system: one platform that encompasses all, or almost all, ecommerce services a merchant requires. Services like product -, order -, stock – and customer management, search, some business intelligence, some marketing and of course a frontend. A good example is Shopify, but also Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce and Shopware deliver these ‘one-stop-shops’ for ecommerce. And if you’re a small business, selling a few products, doing low amounts of transactions, not making much changes, you’ll be happy to work with this solution. After all, there are advantages to working with one ecommerce system: you only have to deal with one vendor. Developers that can work with these systems are more readily available than developers who can work with modern technologies such as React, Vue and NodeJS. And you don’t have to think much about what services you’ll use. You just use what’s available on your platform.

But if your use case is a bit more complicated, if you are growing, if you want more products, more flexibility to adapt your offering, your prices, your user experiences, you might find that your one platform is too limited for you.

outgrowing ecommerce monolith

Quick fixing your issues

You might first want to explore quick fixes to solve your problem. If you need more functionality, you could look for plugins or direct integrations to add to your current platform. If you have too much traffic for your shop to handle, you could ask your hosting provider to add more servers. Or you could contract a specialised agency or hire more devs to improve the performance of your webshop. These are all good options that can have a measurable impact on the customer experience of your shop. Mind you, the author of this blog has a Magento and hosting background herself, so she’s fully aware of the possibilities in that area. Especially if you are quite content with your platform, but only have one specific problem with your current store, one of these fixes can be a perfect solution for you.

When is quick fixing not enough?

If, however, you have a more complex issue, or more than one problem area, or you expect growth and want to prevent problems in the future, it’s a different story altogether. To see if this is the case for your shop, check all the issues below that apply to you:

Have you checked ‘yes’ on two or more of these issues? That most likely means that your current platform is not up to your needs anymore. You have outgrown a monolith architecture and are more than ready to explore SOA for your business. Or as it is currently popularly called: Composable Commerce. If you want to know more about this, you can read our blog about Composable Commerce.

In short, this architectural approach, when done right, gives you more flexibility, reliability, easier customization, a better fit between your potential market and your customer experience, happy developers and an open path towards growth. 

What will this cost?

Of course, moving towards a new architecture is a big step for a company to take, and requires a lot of strategic thinking and a shift in people and budgets. Your team needs to be ready for a faster-paced future, where tech is no longer the bottleneck. You will be able to leverage the full potential of their creativity, but the transition requires a different mindset and new internal processes.  

But contrary to what you might think, this transition is not necessarily a disinvestment. With the Deity platform, you can keep using your current system and gradually move parts towards your desired Composable architecture. Working with multiple vendors will mean reorganising your budget, moving parts away from your current platform towards new contracts. But the TCO, Total Cost of Ownership, will in most cases be lower, due to lower license costs, overhead and maintenance costs and cheaper development of new features.  

How to proceed?

Ready to take the first step in your exploration? Contact Deity. We have guided dozens of customers in this journey and can shield you from common pitfalls. We’re friendly people and we don’t charge for a first advisory consultation :). And we can set your shop on F.I.R.E.: endless Flexibility, Integratibility, Reliability and Extensibility. 

modern ecommerce with service oriented architecture

Deity doesn’t just provide the only true and complete SOA Middleware and Storefront for ecommerce, but we’re also renowned for our solid business advice and great tech support. To give you a sneak preview of how we work together: 

  • The first step is to map the services you are using, the services you want to use and what your ambitions are for the future. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear view yet, we’ll support you along the way.
  • Of course we need you to think about what you want your frontend to look like and what customer experiences you want to deliver. This is where you can really excel.
  • Then we create a functional drawing of your desired architecture and help you find a great and trusted agency to build all your custom wishes with. 
  • And of course we support them and you, all the way of your journey.

So reach out to us, we’re ready for you.

Contact us or schedule a demo.

Doing the impossible: A PWA in the App Store

When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, he told developers to just build software for iPhones inside the web browser: “You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today”. At that time, those web apps had serious limitations in terms of performance and functionality – and one year later the App Store for native apps got released.. 

Unfortunately Steve Jobs never saw his vision become a reality, but now, with PWA as the new web standard, we at Deity brought his vision back to life and made it happen. We did the impossible: we brought our PWA technology to the iOS App Store.

 

Progressive Web What?

At its core, a Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web application that uses the latest web capabilities to deliver a native app-like experience to users. PWA’s are reliable, incredibly fast and highly engaging. It is the technology that will bring consistency between web and native apps. It gives businesses the opportunity to target a mass market, and open a whole new world of marketing possibilities.

Since the introduction of Progressive Web Apps in 2015, many companies have taken great advantage of this technology. They are able to deliver highly engaging user experiences, while at the same time reaching new user bases. The most notable use cases have come from large companies like Twitter, Trivago, Alibaba, and Walmart, reporting doubled conversion rates and unprecedentedly growing revenues. All very promising, and with a global pandemic pushing ecommerce faster than ever, we all expected PWA’s to have replaced most consumer facing apps by now – but it hasn’t happened (yet).

And why is that? Well that answer seems to be the same all the time: ‘’A (significant) part of our iOS customers are using our native app, and Apple still doesn’t allow PWA’s to replace the full native app experience.” – hard to argue with that.

From PWA to the App Store

While the world is out there waiting for Apple to finally release full PWA support, like push notifications on iPhone and easy direct downloads, we at Deity took matters into our own hands.

As true innovation-driven tech enthusiasts in the world of headless, PWA and Composable Commerce, we took on our biggest challenge yet. We challenged Apple and we were able to do what was previously perceived as impossible: releasing our PWA to the App store.

mobile device showing Deity pwa in the iOS app store

The Challenge

Before taking on the challenge, it’s important to know Apple’s point of view regarding PWA’s in their App store: 

“Your app should include features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website. If your app is not particularly useful, unique, or “app-like,” it doesn’t belong on the App Store.”

A PWA, as a repackaged website, is not considered “app-like” by Apple, which is why a PWA is not accepted in the App Store. Some developers tried to make “a PWA for the App Store”, and with that they technically built a different application. Which then by default loses one of its biggest business values for website owners: using one code-base, one application, one point of maintenance for all channels. Web, Google Play ánd the App store.

Deity PWA in the App Store

We at Deity know PWA’s by heart. Even before the word PWA was common knowledge, we were already building and releasing them on live stores. Our platform is more than ‘just a PWA’ with a simple theme and some service workers. True mobile first, native like experiences, with the dynamic flexibility of the web is what we aim for: only the best for the best.

Our new goal was challenging, but straightforward.

  • We want iOS to be part of the PWA ecosystem;
  • And we want PWA to be part of the iOS world.

And so we did. Within just a matter of weeks we were able to work our magic and bring our own demo PWA webshop as a true native app to the Apple App store. Not only were we able to bring our own demo shop to the App Store, we also prepared our platform as such, so any PWA built with our platform can be brought to the App Store. Giving users on iOS a true native app experience while at the same time giving online businesses all the benefits a PWA brings, including cutting duplicate development and maintenance costs and efforts, by working from only one codebase.

Currently, we are working with one of our customers to take this one step further and launch their large webshop, with high volume traffic and transactions coming from native apps, in the iOS App Store. But now fully PWA based. 

With this achievement, we hope to inspire others to push through barriers and build a great ecommerce landscape together. As we proved that the impossible is actually possible: a PWA in the App Store.

A new term in ecommerce: Composable Commerce

About 25 years ago the very first ecommerce websites were launched and a lot has changed since then. Ecommerce went from a completely new and strange concept to an indispensable part of our global retail. Especially with the rising usage of mobile devices, ecommerce is booming. In 2021, smartphones accounted for almost 70 percent of global website visits. It’s not just about running your ecommerce website anymore, it’s also about digital experiences. 

It all started with the traditional and very well-known monolithic, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, followed by the more recent and innovative Headless approach. So what’s next? Earlier we already talked about Headless 2.0, but in order to provide only the best, we have to take the next step. The future is here and it’s time for something new… Composable Commerce! 

But what is Composable Commerce 

Instead of using the ‘one-size-fits-all’ ecommerce approach, Composable Commerce leverages modern software technologies by which ecommerce merchants are empowered to select and assemble various “best of breed” commerce solutions and compose them to satisfy their exact business requirements. This enables them to build what their business needs, without having to worry about ‘’re-platforming’’ ever again. And most importantly, leading to unique and best-in-class user experiences. 

visualisation showing composable commerce with Deity

Gartner states that:

“By 2023, organizations that have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation.”

And this statement doesn’t come as a surprise as businesses are already facing problems with their current ecommerce stack. Think of: 

  • Not being able to handle high traffic peaks 
  • Slow websites
  • Expensive and time consuming re-platforming
  • Not being able to move fast 
  • No flexibility
  • One single approach is no longer sufficient

With Composable Commerce these worries are a thing of the past, allowing businesses to fully focus on best user experiences. 

Composing commerce together

While all major platforms and commerce services, like CommerceTools, Algolia, Stripe, Contentful, Adobe Experience Manager and others have their API’s ready to be implemented into a Composable Commerce environment, often the actual control center, to connect, monitor, transform, regulate and dynamically push the data is missing. And that’s exactly where Deity comes in.  

Deity is a strong middleware with a highly engaging PWA front-end that enables any ecommerce team to assemble, compose and successfully control various tools and services by bringing them all together. Offering a full omnichannel, multi-x and complete headless PWA shopping experience to their customers.

With this unique approach, Deity is the crucial centerpiece with PWA front-end for any team ready to revolutionize their ecommerce business: ready to achieve ecommerce excellence.

Headless vs. Composable Commerce 

We can say that there’s a big, and many times underestimated difference between the Headless approach and Composable Commerce. Composable Commerce is what’s next. The new big thing in ecommerce. The approach every business should embrace. Headless separates the backend from the frontend, and by doing so, it helps ecommerce merchants to innovate faster on the front-end, the user experience side, only. Composable Commerce takes it a big step further by also separating the backend services, creating a multiX layered environment where multiple back-end services can communicate with each other, but also with multiple front-end channels. With Composable Commerce a merchant does not only have full freedom and flexibility to build the best user experience, but also the freedom to integrate fast with any existing (or tailor-made) back-end service. Literally composing their commerce stack from all the best of breed products out there. 

visual showing headless vs composable commerce

So why do you need Composable Commerce?

Composable Commerce is a new and upcoming term in ecommerce and more and more businesses start seeing the benefits of it. This new approach enables commerce experiences on any touchpoint which leads to highly differentiated and customer driven experiences. The ultimate way to engage customers with your brand! 

We believe any merchant should always be in control of their ecommerce business. Only when being in full control over the complete business, from back-end to front-end, can they achieve true ecommerce excellence.

Deity is here to give you that full control. To give the freedom to build what your business truly needs. Like a DJ being in control of the music, who with many different instruments composes a masterpiece, Deity enables businesses to orchestrate all commerce services and data streams, creating a unique, enterprise ready, shopping experience. 

Composable Commerce at its best: not just connecting API’s together, but truly composing your commerce. With Deity as the crucial centerpiece in the composable and headless world. Deity is not just another commerce service or PWA front-end. Deity is a tool, a platform, a control panel, the mixing table. 

Take over true control of all your different instruments, of all your commerce services, with Deity as your mixing table. 

Are you ready to take the next step and see what we can do for you? Contact us.