Part 2: The path to headless on Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC)

In the second of our two part blog, our experts outline the delivery and organisational structure needed to support a move to Headless on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform.

In case you missed it, check out part 1 here.

Delivery – how do you approach going headless with PWA Kit?

Based on our experience, we see two types of businesses embarking on the journey to PWA Kit:
  1. Existing merchants using SFCC Site Gen / SFRA
  2. New merchants who have selected SFCC PWA (from non SFCC tech stack)

We recommend adopting a hybrid deployment approach. This means migrating key engagement browse pages such as Homepage, PLP and PDP to PWA first, with the remainder of the site, such as Checkout and Account, remaining with SFCC core.

This process allows our clients to begin the migration journey at an optimum level of benefits realisation (speed of change and performance) vs potential risk (particularly negating the need for new complex checkout integrations).

Our hybrid deployment approach planning can be summarised by the below checklist we use to support our clients within the migration journey:

  • Technical enablement
    • Managed run time set up
  • Migration discovery workshops
    • Data definition relative to business requirements
    • Integration review and dependency identification
    • Performance optimisation
    • Tagging and analytics
  • Migration governance
    • Cross team / function alignment
  • Cutover preparation
    • Planning when to depreciate development for pages/templates within monolith which will be replaced by PWA

We govern delivery at a programme level via our technical architects and solution architects in order to identify, and manage, cross-system integration and data dependencies. This supports our delivery teams to build out the new PWA capabilities and continue to enhance existing SFCC features and functions which remain on the platform at the given point of our client’s migration journey.

What is on Tryzens roadmap for adding value to our clients through headless?

At Tryzens, we actively invest in research and development to drive richer experiences. Headless is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop new ideas and adapt our existing innovations to be more effective for our clients. Here are a few of the areas we’re working on:

Own the customer experience

Salesforce’s global power to build business is unrivalled. Tryzens headless strategy with our design automation approach will make Salesforce as simple for retailers to own the customer experience layer, and be able to customise and manage this as they see fit.

The holy grail for us in design is to remove all the inefficient, ‘busy work’ from design i.e the need to comb through pages in a site and manually update every design instance when something changes. Our Design System aims to automate designs directly into code. What this means is your design time with us is focused on high value work, and you can save approximately 90% of effort on typical design tasks.

Speed Up

Headless is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate site speeds, so we are experimenting with different rendering approaches, caching mechanisms. Gains in site speed can improve your Google score, conversion and customer satisfaction.

Integrated integrations

Headless will allow us to simplify and speed up integrations for new technologies. For example, consider something as core to conversion as search – with a headless site, you’re looking at an existing integration plan which is independent of any of the complexities of the retail platform.

New shopfronts

When you think about ecommerce platforms, you tend to think about specific shopfronts, for example mobile and desktop. Now, let’s imagine a new opportunity arises, such as in-store touchscreens or an app. Headless changes that and makes it simpler to repurpose existing assets into the new channels. This could dramatically change the business case for expanding into new markets by reducing effort and increasing speed to market.

How do you get your business aligned for headless?

To get the most out of headless approach a slight cultural change maybe required, given that the core benefit of headless is speed of change. Organisations looking to deploy headless approaches will have to ask themselves “are we and our partners set up for this way of working?”, looking specifically at the following themes:

Resources

You will need a strong product owner at the heart of the process coordinating across key stakeholders and working with a team of Content, CRO, UX, Design and front-end development resources. This will allow you to move deploy changes rapidly in a test, measure and learn pattern. Hiring a team of skilled frontend developers is hard for any business, so leveraging your agency partner could be a long-term option or a helping hand as you build an internal competency.

Organisational Changes

It will mean placing customer value at the heart of your feature release backlog vs being driven by technology, individual person/team desires etc. This may mean devolving power from different stakeholder groups. In larger teams and departments, it may mean re-organising around specific feature value streams (search and browse, checkout).

Budgeting Changes

Budgeting around performance will be key. Specifically, exploiting the ability to test a change or an MVP, before rolling it out globally. So, rather than budgeting against large scale releases, budgeting will become more like a venture capital mindset, where investment is released incrementally once evidence or data of potential returns is available.

Other Challenges and Impacts to Consider

Business users should expect their teams to consider impacts to tooling with integrations moving to microservices API approach. This would mean separate tooling interfaces that will need to be managed as opposed to a single interface (I.e., the SFCC Business Manager).

That said, the degree to which different management tools are used is determined by the strategy taken to manage the overall solution. For example, the merchant could choose to continue to leverage powerful existing SFCC Business Manager functions such as content slots to reap the benefits of scheduling, customer group targeting etc.

There is a lot to consider and learn when it comes to taking a headless approach, but we hope that this demystifies some of your lingering questions. Stay tuned for more articles that explore what headless looks like for different platforms and how it differs to the approaches we are used to seeing.

For further insight on how we can support your move to Headless on SFCC, get in touch with our experts today.

Get in touch with our team