Interview with Elastic Path: Headless Commerce

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2. How does it differentiate from other services already out there, including commercetools?

Not every commerce platform on the market that includes APIs is actually headless. Most platforms were architected to be full stack with APIs added as afterthoughts in a so-called “headless mode.” With this approach, businesses often discover that certain commerce functions, business logic, and data are inaccessible, and that APIs perform poorly, requiring business logic to be included in the front-end where it doesn’t belong and making the benefits of headless elusive.

Both Elastic Path and Commercetools were built from the ground up to be headless and both embrace a service based approach to commerce. However, at Elastic Path, our Cortex API does more than simply expose commerce data and functionality; it orchestrates and choreographs these experiences, which make API navigation and consumption easier. Headless for some companies still sounds scary, but Cortex aggregates commerce resources and manages dependencies between services, simplifying the task of building and maintaining customer experiences that rely on many independent commerce services.

Additionally, Cortex is version-less, meaning Elastic Path Commerce services can be updated without impacting front-end applications. Developers can also extend Cortex to orchestrate resources that exist outside Elastic Path, so all resources are accessed and managed in a consistent way. Consider the situation where a business needs to connect with a third-party credit bureau to verify customer credit worthiness. Cortex can be extended so the business can make a credit check a required step in the checkout flow. Cortex will enforce the process natively as a next required action, so any device whether it’s a store POS, a website or a chatbot will be required to go through the same purchase flow. Other headless commerce platforms don’t provide this level of flexibility and quality of service with their APIs.

continue to: 3. What are the benefits for companies using this approach?