Headless vs Traditional eCommerce Platforms: Introducing Commerce Layer

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In this lighting talk Fabrizio will go through the main highlights of CommerceLayer, comparing the headless approach to the traditional "monolithic" ecommerce platforms. We will speak about security, performances and scalability.

8 min
10 Jun, 2021

AI Generated Video Summary

Commerce Layer is an Atlas Commerce platform that provides global shopping capabilities. It offers a range of endpoints for managing various aspects of e-commerce. Modular architecture, like the one used by Commerce Layer, offers benefits such as flexibility, scalability, security, omnichannel capabilities, and future-proofing.

1. Introduction to Commerce Layer

Short description:

Commerce Layer is an Atlas Commerce platform that allows you to add global shopping capabilities to any user experience. It offers an extensive range of endpoints for managing prices, shopping, cart, inventory, orders, and more. Compared to traditional monolithic platforms, Commerce Layer provides greater flexibility and avoids the performance issues associated with slow websites.

Hello, everyone. My name is Fabrizio and I'm the partnership manager of Commerce Layer. What is Commerce Layer? Commerce Layer is an Atlas Commerce platform and an order management system. And thanks to its Atlas nature, the idea is that you can pretty much add global shopping capabilities to any sort of user experience you have in mind.

So it could be a website. It could be a mobile app, a chatbot. It could be a video. Actually, you name it. And all of these in a very, very simple and effective way. So as our product is an Atlas Commerce platform, of course, the core of Commerce Layer is its API. So we offer a quite extensive range of endpoints to manage all the different aspects of the commerce experience. So prices, shopping, cart, inventory, orders, and so on. So unfortunately, I cannot go through all the list of the endpoints, but you can find them in our documentation.

And I think it's important to stress the fact that Commerce Layer is an Atlas platform. And this is very true if you compare it to the traditional monolithic solution. So I guess you already heard this term, monolithic platform. But what does it mean? Actually it means having a single platform managing all the features of your e-commerce application. So think about the platform that actually manage everything. So it manage the CMS, the product information management, maybe the order management system, everything in just one single box. This, unfortunately, comes with some challenges and we try to summarize them in five main points.

The first one is that such platforms are actually less flexible. Why? You have to think that you have just one single box where everything is implemented. So this means that you can't change any module of your application in your commerce application without actually replacing everything. So this is quite a big problem. So if new needs emerge in your business that might require, I don't know, maybe a new model or a new application, your platform won't allow that without a full re-platforming. So you can imagine this is quite a big problem.

The other problem related to this traditional application is that most of the time the result is that the websites built on top of those are just slow. Why that? That's because given the architecture of those applications it's very difficult to leverage the power of new concepts like dedicated CDNs, for instance. And as you can imagine a slow website can be a big problem especially if you consider the new Google algorithm for ranking the core web vitals, just to make an example. So being fast is definitely a competitive advantage when you're selling online.

2. Modular Architecture and Benefits

Short description:

There are security issues with having a single application as a single point of failure. Traditional applications may lack a mobile-first approach and can be expensive. The solution is to work on modular architectures, such as the one based on Commerce Layer. This approach offers flexibility, scalability, security, omnichannel capabilities, and future-proofing. For any questions, contact us at commercelayer.io.

There are also security issues if you have just one application and everything is inside that box you have a single point of failure, so if that application fails everything fails. This is a big problem.

Another problem is that considering that these traditional applications let's say have been designed quite some time ago. Most of the time they were built for desktop, so they don't have a really let's say mobile first approach for instance. And the last problem is that they are expensive. There is quite a lot in these boxes. Sometimes you don't need some of the stuff that is in these boxes but you are anyway gonna pay for all of them.

So what is the solution? Well the solution is actually to work on architectures that are modular and this actually means splitting the monolith. So this for instance can be let's say an example of a modular architecture based on Commerce Layer. So Commerce Layer would be the transactional engine managing prices, stock information, checkout APIs and customer account APIs. And around Commerce Layer, you will start integrating all the different services that are needed to deliver the commerce experience. So an endless CMS for instance, a static site generator, this is very true if you are going the gem stock direction, a deployment platform to optimize and maximize the performances and then link Commerce Layer to specific services for the needs that you might have. So tax calculation services, payment gateways, shipping carriers and also the legacy systems like the CRM and ERP.

And what are the benefits of this approach? Well, as you can imagine, everything now is extremely flexible. You can swap in and out modules, very easily without doing a full replatforming. The scalability comes, let's say, it's much easier because now you can scale just one specific module and avoid, let's say, very expensive, let's say, expensive upgrades of your central platform. So, you can just selectively scale modules of your architecture. It's more secure because now you don't have a single point of failure anymore. And it's omnichannel by design because all of these modules actually has an API interface. So, you can connect pretty much everything, whatever touchpoint you think about to this sort of architecture. And last but definitely not least, is future proof. Being future proof actually relies in the fact that you can change whatever module depending on your needs without, let's say, doing a full re-platforming.

Thank you very much for your attention and in case you have any question, you can drop me a line at my email or just book a demo of our platform at commercelayer.io.

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