Every part of the buying journey has changed from how customers engage with brands to where brands need to show up. To keep up with the change, flexibility and agility are the two most indispensable features and headless commerce is the holy grail for achieving them.
What is headless commerce?
You might be quite familiar with headless commerce, but sadly, headless commerce is the most discussed and least understood buzzword in the eCommerce world.
Headless commerce is the separation of the front and the back end of an eCommerce application, wherein APIs bridge the gap. The architecture gives brands freedom of expression. They can build whatever and however they want. Headless commerce helps in enriching customer experience. Also, it gives developers the speed to build and complete autonomy of tools.
The hallmark features of headless commerce include the use of APIs, experience managers, and tools like Heroku & MuleSoft.
In this post, we shall discuss how Salesforce Commerce API (SCAPI) helps brands to push beyond traditional commerce using headless commerce.
Salesforce Commerce API
The specialty of SCAPI is to build headless commerce experiences fast with a modern developer toolset. Whether you are looking at building an online storefront, engaging with shoppers on social media, or developing a new commerce app, Salesforce Commerce Cloud developer tools accelerate the implementation of headless architecture and provide the requisite flexibility and scalability to engage in contextual commerce.
Key Features of SCAPI
- Quickly Launch Headless Apps: Deploy the headless sample app and create-commerce-app tool to easily build and extend headless experiences
- Enhanced Productivity and Trust: Accelerates the implementation of headless architecture with APIs. It improves efficiency, like CDN. The API rate limits and CDN caching offers predictable performance and reliability
Besides, SCAPI is a new RESTful API for Salesforce B2C Commerce. The API provides access to the B2C Commerce resources so that developers can create device-agnostic commerce experiences.
What are RESTful APIs?
Headless commerce uses RESTful APIs to connect and interact with cloud services. A RESTful API is a set of functions that perform requests and receive responses using hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). HTTP defines standardized request methods, such as GET and POST.
REST technology uses less bandwidth for communication compared to Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) technology, making it a better fit for the internet. Sites such as Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter use RESTful APIs.
RESTful APIs are stateless. Hence, the client and server (in this case, the front and back end, respectively) are required to be independent of each other. RESTful APIs are one of many options in headless commerce architecture.
The Salesforce Commerce API has been built on a new API-first platform that can develop new commerce services with:
- A new API gateway with multi-tenant support
- Built-in monitoring, metering, and logging
- An eCDN layer in front of the APIs
- Support for headless development across multiple use cases for shopping and administration
The good news is that as and when SFCC goes on adding enhanced capabilities to the platform, the capabilities will immediately be exposed through the Salesforce Commerce API. Trust is the cornerstone for the building of SCAPIs. The focus of its design includes protection of shopper data and absolute compliance with all the regulations.
SCAPI: The Two Primary Categories
The Salesforce Commerce APIs is divided into two groups:
Shopper APIs: Shopper APIs target the persona of a storefront shopper. These APIs are accessed either as guest or anonymous users or as authenticated users against a customer authentication system. Shopper APIs are built for high-scale usage within a storefront.
To Note: They are primarily read-only APIs, with exceptions being Baskets and Orders.
All Other APIs: All other APIs are protected and accessed by “high privileged” users that access the Commerce Cloud system via Account Manager. These APIs are often used for merchandisers, advertisers, site operators, support agents, developers, and so on. These APIs are often not as high-scale as Shopper APIs, as they are not accessed often.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to use the Salesforce Commerce API with B2C Commerce instances?
Anyone can review the API reference and use the mocking service endpoints to try the Salesforce Commerce API, and Commerce Cloud customers can use the Salesforce Commerce API against their B2C Commerce instances (production, staging, and sandboxes).
How is the Salesforce Commerce API related to OCAPI?
SCAPI differs from the Open Commerce API (OCAPI). As there are new services (such as Inventory services), the Salesforce Commerce API platform provides the layer that exposes these new services. In addition, the new API gives the abstraction layer that is needed to continue with the innovation on the existing APIs.
Is there a cost involved in using the Salesforce Commerce API?
There is no cost to existing Salesforce B2C Commerce customers to use the Salesforce Commerce API. When the APIs are available, existing customers will have access to them.
In the future, the API will have usage-based pricing models that could be adopted for headless implementations. These pricing models will allow customers to “subscribe” to the APIs. A timeline for a usage-based model is unknown.
Is there an SDK available?
There is an open-source TypeScript SDK, an Isomorphic SDK focused on the Shopper APIs and a Node.js SDK that can access all the endpoints of the Salesforce Commerce API.
You must be keen to get ahead of the innovation curve and carve out compelling customer experiences and for that to happen you may go headless with the support of Salesforce Commerce APIs. It shall give you the opportunity to etch out pioneering experiences, which are essentially part of the next-gen retail world.
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