What the heck is the Open Commerce Architecture?!

Technology constantly changes the face of commerce. This undeniable fact creates a great opportunity for retailers and developers alike to create the open commerce landscape that brings together only the best-of-breed set of commerce capabilities - from shopping carts, to payment gateways, inventory management systems, tax calculators, and more.

Through the Open Commerce Architecture that provides commerce technology in an open, and easy to use and access format, developers will drive force behind the next wave of retail innovation.

The Open Commerce Architecture provides the freedom to implement, customize and scale the technology stack at a pace tailored to the needs of the individual business, rather than offering a generic packaged solution. This modular approach to commerce technology allows developers and technical decision makers to select any 3rd party solution that matches the unique business requirements.

Some context as to why the Open Commerce Architecture is so relevant today:

The average modern consumer uses six touch points before buying an item. Each touch point is an opportunity to inspire consumers with product information or brand experiences. The smoother the transaction, the more chances the goods will land in the hands of the consumer.

Omnichannel is now the new norm. It’s shaping the way consumers shop and how retailers map their journey. Consumers don’t want or expect to feel constrained. They may want to try a product out in a physical store, read reviews online and pay through their mobile wallet.

Omnichannel post

24/7 seamless customer journey is more than just providing individual access to your brand via multiple channels. Many interfaces customers use to interact with their favorite brands do not have 360-degree view of their customer. Customers expect frictionless road to buying. Slow-loading page, non-consistent and confusing digital channels or inept in-store customer service all have harmful impact on the shopping experience.

“After pursuing omnichannel for almost a decade, over 85% of organizations have fragmented customer engagement channels, leading to inconsistent customer experience (CX)”

Olive Huang for Gartner

Modern commerce...

Modern commerce is all about being there for the consumer in the right moment, allowing them to decide and purchase whenever they want, wherever they are, using whatever means best suits their situation.

Delivering great digital experiences is an essential strategy and business imperative. From a technology perspective, this is much easier said than done.

Commerce solutions

...in a connected world

The digital aspect of retail should not be treated as a separate niche but instead, an integral part of it. The notion of connectivity has evolved throughout the years and software as an elemental part of a service needs to be well-defined, easy to use, and most importantly for any growing business, reusable across many platforms.

Open commerce is customer owned

Meeting consumer expectations of consistent and flexible shopping processes between and across channels is as important as providing unforgettable experiences. A customer expects to have access to the same inventory, product price or assortment regardless of how they interact with the brand.

A growing business needs the ability to combine technology and great experiences in a way that allows the brand to stand out. Encourage a wide range of consumers and at the same time keep one individual customer at the focal point of the moment of interaction.

Technology is the gateway through which a modern customer typically interacts with a brand

Today’s market demands flexibility. Being innovative is the ability to adapt swiftly to the ever-changing behavior of consumer demands.

Independent applications developed in-house are expensive and hard to maintain. This is why more and more CIOs and CTOs are turning their gaze toward APIs that are much quicker to develop, cheaper to maintain, and much more flexible.

APIs allow for the decoupling of data and provide exactly what’s currently needed, a service-oriented logic that can easily be broken down into individual services and then reused across multiple channels. This is the Open Commerce Architecture at its finest! Easily scalable services that can be plugged into any platform and displayed on any device at an incredible speed to market.

Retail winners invest smartly

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and demolish the existing infrastructure, especially if it was profitable, just for the sake of being innovative.

Drastic changes frustrate customers, especially if they break their routine or habitual behavior. Business must evolve and keep their customers in mind while doing so.

Grow your business around your needs and the needs of your consumer base without compromising to match requirements dictated by complex technology or destroying your current platform. Headless and flexible APIs, an integral part of the Open Commerce Architecture, can be implemented seamlessly into any existing technology framework or deployed on any device. With the right API solution, you can bring to life any complex idea with an elegant and easy solution.

APIs explained

API

Application Programming Interface is an interface providing communication between other systems. It lies on top of an application or library and warrants continuous interaction between two or more structures.

Webservices

web-based applications that provide resources in a format consumable by other machines. These are basic request-and-response interactions between clients and servers. Web APIs (most commonly referred to as REST APIs) call multiple remote services on the web, and are currently considered the most flexible approach to any system architecture.

Microservices

architectural approach to creating applications in an iterative fashion. An application developed from a set of microservices will consist of multiple loosely coupled units that each draw from their own data set (typically stored in a database), each capable of functioning individually as well as coherently interacting with each other

APIs must-have features in any Open Commerce Architecture

Key benefits of the Open Commerce Architecture

Cacheable

Why it's great for business:
This extremely vital feature of the API allows for a much faster, smoother and reliable performance.

Stateless

Why it's great for business:
Excluding the use of state in an application greatly improves the modularity of that app and makes it easier to scale out. Stateless apps are also easier to manage and can
be worked on by individual developers independently.

Multiple integrations

Why it's great for business:
A retailer can cherry-pick the functionality they’re interested in, and implement just the parts that are absolutely necessary for the healthy growth of their business, knowing that in time they can easily change or expand the approach taken.

Independent and flexible

Why it's great for business:
This is great news for all those companies locked into big legacy platforms that want to expand their functionality. Building a software or a service around one's business is more cost-effective than buying rigid, pre-packaged, third-party programs.

Language agnostic

Why it's great for business:
It’s great for companies that have multiple teams with different programming language preferences. As long as they communicate with each other through HTTP, it doesn’t matter if microservices are developed in Ruby, JavaScript, Python, PHP, or any other language or framework. Your in-house developers don’t need to learn any new programming languages but instead utilize their existing expertise to focus solely on the feature, not on the tools.

Headless

Why it's great for business:
Headless offers a truly innovative way
of managing the web content and user experience. Frontend developers can focus on providing highly innovative content without the need to worry about the backend.
Due to a separate display logic, any headless application tends to work faster, is more
responsive, and easier to maintain or update. It is also better prepared for localization and translation to reach the global audience if need be. This flexible approach is ideal for brands that aspire to evolve and grow in the future or all those who need a very specific frontend.

Scalable

Why it's great for business:
Any API-driven application is scalable and can handle an exponential growth of online traffic and increased load. Additionally, as a single service starts to experience more load, it can easily be scaled in isolation and without downtime. Requests will then be load-balanced across all available instances of this service. To that point, if a single instance of a service experiences issues, it can be automatically
removed from the pool to ensure minimal disruption for users. Services can be deployed to multiple geographic locations, meaning an issue in one availability zone does not have to affect the full application.

Lightweight and multidisciplinary

Why it's good for business:
The lightweight nature of an API allows for fast development and deployment time. Functionality contained within limited lines of code can be reused and injected into multiple devices, from traditional websites to social platforms, wearable devices, IoT, etc.
An expected loading time can start from a few milliseconds with a load as little as a few kilobytes. Microservices due to their reduced programmatic complexity and size are easy to use, fast to load, and straightforward to update.

Open Commerce Architecture is secure

Communication via HTTPS protocol

The encrypted HTTPS protocol ensures that all data passed between the web API and browser remains private and integral with no additional strain on system performance. Most modern browsers use HTTPS as a preferred means of communication, following that trend makes the browsing experience faster and smoother.

Authentication through an API Key

An API Key is typically generated per user, and it’s a unique value that authenticates a user. Without an API Key, it’s relatively easy to exploit the system and steal user data, like usernames and passwords.

Authorization through a Token

Authorization regulates a set of actions permitted per user type and complements authentication. The most common method is oauth, which combines authorization and authentication. It imposes a token that authenticates a user, and then, as part of the authorization process, expires with time and revokes privileges. A user needs to verify credentials so that a new token can be generated. Token types allow developers to impose further restrictions on the system, read-only permissions (implicit) or full access (client credentials).

Agile APIs drive the digital business

What is Moltin?

Moltin is the leading commerce innovation engine powered by headless APIs. It enables you to create unique retail experiences for any device, channel or application. Built with simplicity and flexibility at the core, Moltin API-based microservices give you everything you need to enable fast development cycles and launch new applications to the market in a quick and hassle-free
manner. If you can imagine a commerce experience — in-store or online — Moltin is the fastest way to make it a reality.

Take a look at a sample Open Commerce Architecture of the mobile self-checkout experience that uses Moltin API to plug into a third party POS system, payment gateway and product inventory management platform to create a progressive web app allowing customers to follow a simple URL to scan and checkout a product on their mobile without having to wait in line.

Mobile self-checkout page

Moltin offers the opportunity to reinvent commerce

Use our APIs to provide a flexible approach to innovation and create cutting-edge new experiences. With Moltin, there is no need to change your existing platform. Our headless commerce approach means you can add capabilities to your existing commerce and corporate technology platform with minimal effort.

Moltin gives your business freedom to reinvent without restraint

To complement its APIs, Moltin offers a wide variety of pre-built applications, SDKs and accelerators to help developers, retail business leaders and innovators quickly translate ideas and inspiration into customer-facing experiences.

Developer help page

To read more about open commerce and API-oriented retail solutions, download our Moltin API Commerce Trilogy

eBook #1: Experience-driven commerce

The average modern consumer uses six touch points before buying an item. Whether it’s a social media platform or an interactive display, each one of these touch points is an opportunity to inspire consumers with product information or brand experiences. The smoother the transaction, the more chances the goods will land in the hands of the consumer.

Read the eBook

eBook #2: APIs and microservices

It is imperative to evaluate potential API candidates first, not just jump feet-first into any solution. A well-written API can provide some very important long-term benefits, but a hastily built one can harm the security of the entire framework and introduce major inconsistencies.

Read the eBook

eBook #3: APIs in practice

The retail industry has been turned on its head. Traditional retailers are struggling to adapt to online commerce while retaining their historic merchandising skills. Old and new sellers are on the alert for what Amazon does to their business. And even the newest online-only brands are learning that a physical presence still matters when trying to stand out in a crowded field.

Enter Moltin. As you will learn through this eBook, Moltin is helping to reinvent commerce by giving retailers the ability to innovate on top of existing commerce and corporate technologies. Unlike other platforms, it takes weeks, not months, to implement the APIs and solutions with Moltin, giving retailers the unique ability to turn new experiential ideas into reality and the flexibility to build fast, test quickly and adapt as necessary.

Read the eBook