Wednesday, January 24, 2018
byte5 finds partnerships with other companies extremely rewarding. We value our selected partners very much and benefit mutually from the intensive cooperations. This is the only way we can achieve our goal of always offering our customers a made-to measure solution according to their needs.
When it comes to content commerce, byte5 does not only work with Ucommerce, but since recently also with commercetools, which offers system-independent tools for web shops. In the first part of our interview, byte5 COO Chris Köhler explains the technical background of what makes commercetools a strong partner for Umbraco and what he particularly appreciates about this toolset.
© Peter Obermair
At the beginning of January, our blog featured an article on the trend topic of content commerce. This is the marketing method upon which modern web shops are. What is the basic idea behind it?
A few years ago, content marketing was the trend topic. This form of marketing has become the standard, so to speak.
Today, the focus is rather on guiding the customer on their way through the product sites all the way to check-out. There is this desire for content and commerce to merge. Ucommerce is very different from commercetools.
Ucommerce is a standalone e-commerce solution that works within Umbraco. In addition, it offers many other options for connecting third-party systems. commercetools, on the other hand, is a cloud solution that offers commerce functionality regardless of the system used. This is one of the main differences between the two: Ucommerce is much more compact. Nowadays, the content strategy and the use of different channels – often the term omnichannel is used for this – are much more important than the actual shop engine. A shop engine consists of a shopping cart, the ordering process and so on. But that's only the core. Everything that happens around it is what leads the customer to go through with the purchase process. In the future, the integration of stationary retail and web shops will become increasingly important. Our partner commercetools already offers solutions that provide, for instance, mobile integrations that link the stationary to the online commerce. Different scenarios include apps, for instance connected with Google services.
How did you find out about commercetools? And why is it so strong in the Umbraco environment?
In our projects, we often have an insight into the web and IT landscape, especially for larger clients. Content commerce is often a two-part thing: there is often a content management system and an e-Commerce system. There is a large amount of data exchanged between these two systems, but there is no real integration. One of Umbraco’s strengths is that e-commerce systems can be seamlessly integrated into it. This fusion is an important basis. With Umbraco, this option had been available for a long time using Ucommerce. However, with larger customer projects, Ucommerce reaches its limits. So, we were looking for a solution how we could integrate a commerce system with Umbraco seamlessly, which has no limitations and is very open in its possibilities. That’s how we came across commercetools. Umbraco and commercetools are ideal partners. Both systems approach the topic of content commerce from different sides, they are very open and are characterised by a high level of integration. From a certain size and complexity of client projects upwards, we now offer commercetools as an alternative to Ucommerce.
What exactly is commercetools and how does it work in practice?
commercetools is a complex commerce system, so it is suitable for any type of transaction. All processes in which products are ordered or booked can be handled using it. What is special about commercetools is that it is scalable without limitations and it’s completely open. It works, for instance, with a CMS, but also with a framework or any other application that offers a frontend and allows user interaction. What kind of system they use is up to the user.
commercetools is a collection of various commerce tools. On the one hand, it can handle a product database that can have any complexity in terms of price, distribution and categorisation. On the other hand, there are options to interact with apps or with other third-party systems that are already in use. commercetools offers many individual modules from which you can choose what you need. If you are looking for a specific service, you will find it in the wide range of tools the toolset offers. Since its possibilities are so varied, commercetools does not have that one use case.
How would you describe the added value of commercetools brings?
commercetools begin where the possibilities of a normal e-commerce system end. Its openness is one of the reasons why we love working with commercetools. The system is super complex. Two of the things that commercetools is best at is providing omnichannel solutions and microservices. The omnichannel option is as modern as content commerce itself. In the future, it will be increasingly important to use different channels at the same time. Microservices are just as important in a comple digital infrastructure. They break down processes into various individual services. Each service has a specific function, for example check-out. commercetools offers a system whose individual parts can communicate with each other. There are many tools, especially in the field of e-commerce, that do not work work well with other systems at all. For Umbraco and commercetools, however, this is not a problem.
Another clear added value is the scaling of commercetools: It doesn’t matter how many items the shop contains or the complexity of them, it doesn’t matter how many page visits or orders there are – due to the cloud infrastructure and the platform independence, there are no limitations in technology or in size, be it horizontal or vertical.
On Friday, the second part of the interview will be published where Chris talks about the added value that the toolset means for customer projects and the advantages that the partnership between commercetools and byte5 brings our clients.