E-commerce platforms like Fabric provide the customer-facing frontend components needed to sell through multiple channels, along with the backend functions such as order management, product information management, and customer service capabilities needed to run business processes.
With so much going on in a single ecosystem, there are several different parties that need to be able to collaborate to ensure the system functions efficiently while still producing the intended end-user experience.
User types inside commerce platforms
The different parties who must work together inside commerce platforms can be broken into two broad groups: 1) developers who create the foundational structure, update different components, and debug performance and security issues, and 2) business users who need to access the platform to perform functions essential to the business.
Some of the common types of business users include:
- Marketers: Marketers need to create unique frontend experiences to ensure that product messaging and imagery aligns with the brand's overall identity and is relevant for each touchpoint.
- Merchandisers: Merchandisers perform a variety of tasks inside commerce platforms including displaying products and arranging catalogs to drive traffic and higher sales for particular items. They also unify the offline and online shopping experience by ensuring in-store and online promotions are congruent by featuring similar banners (signage) and pricing.
- Business analysts: Business analysts need to access data from the commerce solution’s analytics platform to generate sales reports, analyze trends in customer behavior, and pinpoint bottlenecks in the purchase journey. They will need to present their findings to marketing leaders to help guide decision making and collaborate with developers to ensure an optimized end-user experience.
- Customer service reps: Service staff needs to access multiple backend components to review order details and communicate with customers.
Business users do not have the same level of technical skills as developers and often need assistance from the latter when performing different tasks.
Collaboration inside different commerce platforms
The structure of e-commerce platforms plays a big role in determining how different parties work together to perform their specific functions.
Traditional e-commerce setup
A traditional e-commerce architecture functions as a single integrated solution where the backend that contains logic and product information is tethered to the frontend that is responsible for the user interface.
With these setups, content is usually managed by tools that make it easier for non-technical business users to make changes. While these tools help users visualize changes being made, they are very limited in layout options.
If marketers want to customize the frontend experience beyond what is offered by the tool, they must communicate their ideas with developers who can then dive into the platform’s code and make the necessary changes.
Headless e-commerce setup
A headless e-commerce setup utilizing a microservice architecture decouples the backend functionality from the frontend presentation, enabling developers and marketers to work more efficiently as they are able to make changes independent of each other.
Because there isn't a single codebase, developers can provide continuous deployment of new features and are able to scale applications without bringing the whole system down.
While a true headless system brings added flexibility, it also comes with added complexity. The typical distributed infrastructure focuses more on performance and scalability and doesn't provide the same tools for improving ease of use for marketers and other non-technical users.
This makes it harder for marketers to edit and preview content without assistance from a developer. A solution exists for this issue in the form of digital experience platforms (DXP). A DXP like Fabric’s Experience Manager allows marketers to create personalized buying experiences across multiple touchpoints in a headless setup without the help of frontend developers.
The result is a streamlined workflow for both marketers and developers as they are able to work both synergistically and independently at the same time.