The world of Commerce is constantly evolving. As omnichannel shopping journeys increase in popularity, business owners have to work twice as hard to stay ahead of the curve to offer their customers the best possible experience.
As part of its efforts to stay ahead, Sitecore has been steadily acquiring software companies and platforms. This includes Four51 and its headless commerce platform, OrderCloud. It is now Sitecore’s MACH-certified, fully hosted, and cloud-native SaaS headless commerce solution.
Originally built as a B2B-first platform, OrderCloud’s extensible nature now enables ecommerce stores to cater to multiple verticals beyond B2B, including B2C and B2X. Sitecore OrderCloud offers nearly limitless customizations and endless freedom for growth. Prior to the acquisition, Sitecore’s ecommerce offering consisted of Sitecore Commerce. This article will give an overview of OrderCloud, what makes it different from Sitecore Commerce, and how it can help store owners improve their ecommerce operations.
What is Sitecore Commerce?
Sitecore Commerce has been around since 2014 as a result of Sitecore acquiring Commerceserve. Since then, the platform has substantially changed, even more so with version 9 helping to sunset older technologies and integrate the management experience into the Sitecore XP console.
The platform brings enterprise-grade ecommerce tooling to cutting-edge ecommerce stores looking to build next-gen shopping experiences. Sitecore XC offers marketing automation, segmentation, A/B testing, and personalization features through its tight integration with Sitecore XP.
Key Features of Sitecore Commerce
Specifically, Sitecore Commerce offers features such as:
- Multilingual and multi-currency
- Inventory and order management
- Out of the box support for third-party software
- Post-purchase customer support and order management
- Personalization based on learned and earned customer data
- Email automation for cart abandonment and order confirmation
- Analytics that enable a single commerce view of your prospects
- Connectivity to back-office systems via Commerce Connect and Sitecore API
Sitecore Experience Commerce is a great part of the Sitecore suite, but the company is moving toward composability. Enterprises that rely on it should prepare to transition to the new OrderCloud commerce platform in the future. This will ring in a new wave of composable, API-first commerce services.
For now, it doesn’t mean enterprises with Sitecore Commerce will be stranded, but it’s best to start planning for this eventuality.
What is Sitecore OrderCloud?
Right off the bat, we can see that OrderCloud has several advantages and differences from Sitecore Experience Commerce. This comes primarily from OrderCloud being headless, cloud-native, and an API-first ecommerce platform.
Its headless nature empowers developers to build shopping experiences using their preferred tech stack and frontend frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue. With the surge in popularity of headless solutions, the headless architecture is gaining momentum.
The headless architecture offers developers increased flexibility and the possibility to build shopping experiences using familiar tooling. Also, the possibility of connecting with the backend through API calls affords them the chance to use different databases, separate content from presentation, and reuse components. To make things even more straightforward for global brands to build digital experiences, OrderCloud also offers store starters that enable rapid start using pre-configured components.
Let’s take a closer look at OrderCloud’s platform architecture:
Sitecore OrderCloud Documentation
Developers can manage OrderCloud documentation by publishing the OpenAPI or Swagger specifications. That way, developers have a mapped route of resources to work around OrderCloud’s API. The Swagger specification is the basis of the public documentation and auto-generation of all development tools and SDKs.
OrderCloud enables developers to use their favorite tech stack. Releases are automatic and non-breaking. They maintain a clear, inherent boundary between Sitecore’s code and yours, enabling developers to use nearly all modern web and mobile frontend frameworks.
With OrderCloud’s headless capability, you can use multiple frontend frameworks to present your business logic and functionalities across mobile apps, web, storefronts, and more. This gives your developers the flexibility and freedom to build with several frontend frameworks of choice. Moreover, it helps to future-proof your platform, preparing you to meet modern frontend demands.
OrderCloud’s authentication system is built on top of OAuth2, which is the de facto industry standard for security and permission-based application experiences. Plus, OrderCloud supports OpenID Connect, an authorization standard built on top of OAuth2 for SSO.
The OrderCloud API supports user-defined HTTP callbacks —or webhooks. Webhooks are helpful in registering for your entire organization or on an application-specific level. You can choose exactly which OrderCloud API endpoints will trigger your hook, the roles to be passed onto the configured Base URL, and any additional configuration data OrderCloud may need to authenticate into third parties.
In the end, both Sitecore Commerce and the newly added OrderCloud platform are great solutions for global brands looking for a cutting-edge platform to drive their ecommerce business. Each offers distinct features and capabilities to empower your business. To choose between them, you need to closely audit your needs and see which parts you need and which don’t and your architecture, hosting, and technology needs.
Read More: Sitecore OrderCloud Feature Guide
Why Are Enterprises Turning to OrderCloud?
OrderCloud’s HeadStart is a selection of pre-configured components that give users a rapid quick start. Headstart gives you commerce management and buyer and supplier experiences and integrations and development tools that allow you to create your own solution on OrderCloud.
Hosted SaaS Offer
OrderCloud offers a fully hosted SaaS platform that can be integrated with other third parties to create a best-of-breed headless commerce platform. The difference between OrderCloud and other SaaS commerce platforms is that it follows the principles of the MACH architecture and it doesn’t sacrifice customizability like other suite-based SaaS offers.
Integrating with third parties can be a gargantuan task for commerce platforms, but not for OrderCloud. Sitecore’s headless commerce platform has a supplier-specific logic layer that synchronizes and orchestrates supplier product information and order information to bridge the gaps between the marketplace, the supplier, and your store. This involves mapping data and pushing it to Sitecore so you can make informed decisions with it.
Part of Sitecore's Composable Future
The latest developments in Sitecore’s roadmap show that they’re going composable. Their flurry of acquisitions and messaging displays a plan to add composable options to their product portfolio to cater to this growing market. If composability is in your company’s future, looking at OrderCloud to fulfill your ecommerce management needs could be a good business idea.
What Problems Does OrderCloud Solve?
In addition, OrderCloud solves several issues that traditional commerce platforms face. Let’s take a look at these issues and how OrderCloud combats them:
- Limited Commerce Flexibility: Suite-based commerce platforms are often less flexible than headless ones. OrderCloud’s API-first architecture supports the creation of omnichannel shopping experiences. It enables global brands to create custom storefront experiences.
- Lack of Scalability:Monolithic ecommerce platforms aren’t really good at scaling beyond a certain point. For enterprises that aim to grow and scale their business globally, this is not enough. They need a composable, headless architecture which allows you to scale almost infinitely as you can swap components that have reached their limits.
- Security Issues:Monolithic commerce platforms aren’t very secure because they present the attacker with too many surfaces they can gain access to. Plus, the coupled nature of most stores can make it even simpler for hackers to gain access and wreak havoc. OrderCloud secures multi-site stores with PCI, SOC2 Type 2, GDPR, CCPA compliances, as well as a robust architecture that prevents hackers from gaining access to all your infrastructure.
- Poor Visibility Over Store Processes:Lack of visibility can cost global brands millions of dollars. With hundreds of employees scattered across hundreds of locations, brands without the right ecommerce platform will fall into disarray. OrderCloud’s pre-configured components enable brands to quickly set analytics that track every step of the supply chain to ensure that nothing goes wrong or missing.
How Sound United Jumpstarted Their Ecommerce Project With Sitecore
Oshyn are helping Sound United a global commerce, multi-brand platform to deliver unique shopping experiences to multiple personas. We aided Sound United to leverage geo-targeted personalization, multilingual content, and flexible search using Sitecore Commerce’s editor interface. It allows them to integrate with other third-party tools and platforms to extend its capabilities.
At Oshyn, we have extensive Sitecore experience and the tools to help you implement Sitecore Experience Commerce or Sitecore OrderCloud depending on your brand’s needs. We are a certified Sitecore Partner equipped with all the tools and expertise global brands need to maximize their ecommerce. Our team of Sitecore experts helps companies maximize the value of their marketing efforts by implementing Sitecore.
If you want to learn more about our Sitecore expertise, read more here: Sitecore Development and Integration.