A guide to integrating into headless and composable technology stacks
By Emil Nenev – Vice President of Technology at Tryzens
In an era where innovation is the engine of commerce success, technology vendors can act as high-octane fuel to accelerate merchant progress.
Big breakthroughs often pivot on integrations being seamless and efficient, allowing merchants to quickly adopt technology while reducing implementation costs.
Achieving seamless integrations, however, is a complex process. There is no one-size-fits-all approach because much of the development is highly dependent on the specific platform it’s intended. For example, the development and integration process of a cartridge for Salesforce Commerce Cloud is different to an app for BigCommerce.
There is another layer of complexity that is tied to the system’s architecture; whether the integration is for a monolith system or part of a headless or composable stack.
Traditional monolithic systems have a tightly integrated structure, where all components are interconnected within a single, unified framework. While this all-in-one approach simplifies certain aspects, like maintenance, it also makes integrations more inflexible and demanding in terms of implementation effort.
Headless and composable tech stacks offer an alternative architecture. They both share an API-driven approach that facilitates communication between different components. Another core shared aspect is decoupling. With headless, the separation exists between the frontend (user interface) and backend (commerce engine). Composable takes this further by treating every component or service as a separate, interchangeable module, which deepens the level of customisation capabilities.
With rising demand for fast and efficient digital experiences, coupled with the growth of emerging technologies like AI and ML, the retail industry is confronted with “an urgent need to overhaul their tech architecture and operating model to keep pace with the changing landscape,” according to McKinsey.
Part of this seismic shift is the adoption of headless and composable architecture, giving flexibility and customisation in building digital experiences. It’s gaining momentum. Among businesses that don’t currently have headless architecture, 80% plan to implement it in the next couple of years, according to Salesforce’s State of Commerce report.
Brands and retailers that have already made the switch are quick to see the benefits. Tryzens recently sat down with Sweaty Betty to understand its decision-making process to move to Salesforce Composable Storefront, which soon led to an uplift in conversions and acceleration in site speed. Watch the case study here.
Integrating into a headless or composable stack compared to a monolithic system presents technology vendors distinct challenges as well as opportunities. Understanding the specific requirements of integrating into headless and composable tech stacks will set you up for greater client satisfaction and brand recognition.
Let’s unpack the requirements:
- Ecosystem awareness
Understand the architectural landscape. Take the time to get to know the specific needs of the ecosystem you’re entering and the various components within it. This awareness empowers vendors to provide tailored, effective solutions that enhance the adaptability and scalability of composable systems, ultimately benefiting both merchants and their customers
- API excellence
Ensure your solution offers robust and well-documented APIs. In both headless and composable systems, delivering well-documented, robust, and developer-friendly APIs that facilitate smooth interactions between different components is the foundation of the entire approach.
- Client-side or server-side integration
Where are you integrating? Client-side integration involves integrating with the user interface (frontend) of a system. It’s crucial for real-time updates and dynamic user experiences. Server-side integration focuses on the backend processing of data and operations. It’s crucial for data security and maintaining a centralised view.
- Pre-built components
Pre-built components in React are often used in client-side integrations to provide instant feedback and data updates to users. They are often part of a versatile integration strategy. Pre-built components may rely on API calls for data and functionality, so ensure that they support both the client side and server side for a comprehensive approach to integration.
- Front-end recipes
Technology vendors should provide frontend recipes with sample code for client-side integration. This simplifies and accelerates the integration process for merchants by offering a clear, practical guide that helps them understand how to implement the integration effectively, reducing development time and potential errors.
Make scalability a priority in your integration strategy. Whether you’re slotting into a headless or composable tech stack, your solution should be able to grow seamlessly with the client’s needs. These architectures empower businesses to choose and switch components as needed, resulting in adaptable tech stacks.
Configurability really matters. By offering merchants configurability options, vendors give them the ability to fine-tune components, which is the entire basis for headless and composable systems.
Security comes to the forefront in composable architectures. Because of their inherent flexibility and modular approach, they present different security challenges than monolith systems. So emphasise security in your integration and ensure it adheres to industry standards and regulations.
Server-side plugins can handle complex data transformation, validation, and database operations. This approach is used for tasks where security and centralised control are key, such as data synchronisation and user authentication.
- Partner ecosystem
Foster partnerships with other tech providers that complement your offerings. A well-rounded partner ecosystem can facilitate smoother integrations and enhance your overall value proposition.
As a tech vendor seeking to integrate into the ever-evolving world of digital commerce, understanding and navigating headless and composable tech stacks is essential.
By embracing the principles of decoupling, modularity, and API-driven architectures, vendors can position themselves to thrive in a landscape erupting with innovation.
For technology vendors looking to integrate into headless or composable architectures, connect with Fuse. We help innovators integrate into the wider world of commerce, from monolith platforms to headless and composable tech stacks.