Everything you need to know about Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront

Everything you need to know about Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront

We live in an economy where experiences matter more than attributes. Traditionally, businesses sold their product features to customers. Fast forward today, there are over hundreds of businesses selling almost-same products and services, providing modern users with more choices than they can handle. It is here that businesses encounter the challenge of how to sell a unique experience to their customers. Your usual digital storefront doesn’t consider the diverse needs of shoppers and hence fails to curate a personalized experience. But not anymore. Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront is here to change all that for you. 

What is Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront?

Released by Salesforce in 2022, Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront is a frontend solution that replaces the SFCC SiteGenesis and Salesforce Storefront Reference Architecture platforms. It was originally released as PWA (Progressive Web Application) Kit with pre-built packages and accelerators for headless implementations. Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront leverages modern technologies to deliver native app-like and mobile-optimized experiences to shoppers. The toolkit also contains subscriptions to other Salesforce Cloud tools and APIs required during implementation. 

The best part, it expands on the current trend and opportunities around modular, API-led enterprise solutions, most importantly being composable and headless commerce. 

Headless salesforce

Headless Commerce: The frontend architecture banks on the headless commerce concept with disconnected frontend and backend architectures communicating only via APIs, leaving more room for speedy customizations and high scalability. When eCommerce brands can change their customer-facing layer as per trends and evolving user demands as fast and as much as they want without touching their backend layer, it results in high-scale personalization, superior digital storefront performance, and high-level flexibility that shoppers desire and love. 

Composable Commerce: Another important feature of this architecture is its composability. In layman’s terms, composable frameworks allow you to pick-and-assemble tools from search to content management, thus accelerating time-to-market and reducing the overall cost of ownership and implementation. Whenever you feel like adding/removing implementation tools, that can be easily accomplished by a developer without any overhead costs. 

Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront features and tools

Salesforce currently provides various approaches for enterprise eCommerce merchants, from SiteGenesis and Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) approach to a complete Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront one. 

For retailers thinking of going headless, this PWA toolkit helps build a unique frontend experience seamlessly integrated with a secure backend, thus improving performance and reliability. Its composable nature results in separate deployment for all components and its pre-built packages and APIs can be leveraged by vendors to build custom frontends. All of this is achieved by Headless Salesforce Commerce Cloud via two elements - PWA Toolkit and Managed Runtime. 

#1: PWA Toolkit

Designed to cover both development and business aspects of an eCommerce store, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) toolkit empowers online merchants to deliver native app-like experiences across all devices with less to no friction. PWA Toolkit comes loaded with pre-built packages and ready-made components that makes a move to the headless architecture a seamless one, while promising native app-like experiences across devices. All developers have to do is move around components, add the desired packages/components to their online stores and build a customized architecture. This makes the Salesforce PWA toolkit a flexible solution for organizations who don’t want to rush through composable and headless eCommerce architectures but still stay relevant, scalable, and agile. 

#2: Managed Runtime 

Managed Runtime is how you host your headless digital storefront. Although a complimentary feature with Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront, Managed Runtime provides the infrastructure/environment to deploy, host, and manage your PWA Toolkit frontend. You might want to keep in mind that Managed Runtime only supports apps that are created via the Salesforce PWA toolkit. Some important segments of managed runtime include: 

  1. Environment: All of the cloud infrastructure and configuration attributes for the frontend of your store hosted by Managed Runtime is defined as an environment. You can have different environments for production, deployment, and testing. Usually, developers build different environments as it separates different stages of development, and can be easily deleted when not needed, or doesn’t result in additional costs. 
  2. Bundles: The immutable code framework that runs in a Managed Runtime environment is called a bundle. Developers are already provided with tools in the PWA toolkit to generate a bundle and push it to Managed Runtime. Once deployed, you can mark it the same via Runtime Admin or Managed Runtime API. 
  3. User & Roles: A Managed Runtime user possesses the capabilities to browse, manage redirects, deploy, manage team, and access logs. Each user is assigned to a project in the organization, deciphering their abilities. 
  4. App Server: The combination of React, Node, and Express for rendering and routing requests is called App Server. 
  5. Edge Services: An App Server is supported by edge services such as application firewall (WAF), content delivery network (CDN), and edge functions. 
  6. Admin tools: These consist of Managed Runtime Admin (for code deployment) and Managed Runtime API (for program-specific controls) to manage the settings of projects, environments, bundles, and organization. 

Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront benefits 

For B2C and D2C businesses, the benefits of Headless Salesforce Commerce Cloud are the same as any headless architecture. This framework has been designed keeping the evolving needs of merchants in mind.

  • Its modular architecture makes every component independently deployable. 
  • Its open architecture allows expansive customization possibilities via open integration patterns. 
  • It consists of an customizable API architecture that allows for API-led integrations to develop a tailored storefront and deliver responsive experiences. 

Let’s talk about the benefits of Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront and Ranosys. 

#1: Improved overall online store performance 

The thing about composable architecture is it accelerates your website speed and performance. As the only form of communication between your frontend and backend is via APIs and the former consumes the latter’s data via JSON, it results in efficient and highly responsive page load times. A point to note over here is that SiteGenesis and Salesforce Reference Architecture Storefront (SFRA) employs server-side rendering, which involves loading entire page blocks, hence increasing the page loading time. 

The significance of such performance improvements translates into higher conversion rates and top search rankings, which is why Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront has become a platform of choice for online retail and eCommerce brands. 

#2: Better tools lead to higher productivity 

When you leverage a competitive API-based architecture such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud headless, it allows you to employ the same headless APIs to create multiple features and capabilities, thus saving time and money spent in creating such experiences from scratch. This accelerates your time-to-market, allowing online retailers to deliver seamless, personalized multi-channel experiences without having to write code from zero. 

#3: Leverage a future-driven architecture 

With so much talk around composable and headless architectures, it makes sense for retailers to consider modern eCommerce architectures such as the Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront. As requirements expand and trends change, retailers would find it freeing and easy to invoke new features and customizations by taking the API-first approach. The best part about this architecture is that it allows you to deliver engaging experiences across native mobile apps, in-store, web store, VR/AR, and other IoT devices. Salesforce Commerce Cloud headless is how you can future-proof your online selling business and evolve with time. 

#4: Establish a higher control over your online store 

Most critics believe that when you take a headless or composable approach, you lose control of your team, online store, and key goals. A majority of online stores run on common templates of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce, Shopify Plus, or commercetools. Over time, it results in a homogenous experience across brands. Headless commerce is how you can diversify your brand, move out of the clutter, and develop an online store that speaks about your brand. 

Of course, you have to involve a lot of custom coding and developer indulgence, but leveraging our expertise in SFCC headless PWA toolkit, you can reduce the overall time and cost-to-market. As a trusted SFCC partner, we help you manage content, assets, and experiences across channels and platforms too. 

Who is Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront for?

Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront is a compelling option for B2B, B2C, D2C brands who wish to leverage the UI/UX flexibility and stay immune to the ever-evolving number of devices, channels, and operating systems. However, remember that headless is not a low-code approach, and therefore involves a considerable investment in a good team of developers well versed in React, Node.js, and Jamstack amongst a few. Our team of headless Salesforce Commerce Cloud certified experts can help you leverage the architecture from scratch or migrate your existing Salesforce framework to it.

Migrating to the Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront 

Once you’ve decided to migrate to the Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront, all that’s left is to select the approach you wish to take. 

  1. Complete replatforming involves moving your entire architecture to the headless composable stack. As a trusted partner of choice, we help you move to the fast and mobile-first frontend solution of headless Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 
  2. Partner with tech vendors like Ranosys to construct your own composable architecture from ground up via APIs. As it is a complete custom solution, you get to choose the tools, platforms and modules as per your business needs. As each module is deployed independently, it requires extra maintenance and support. 
  3. Leverage our frontend-as-a-platform services to build a cloud-native API-first architecture for superior performance and scalability. 

Whatever be the approach you wish to take, our SFCC experts ensure successful implementation and ROI-driven outcomes. 

Want to explore more on Headless Salesforce Composable Storefront?

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