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Published On: July 16th, 2020



What are Microservices and how do they support Omnichannel Retail?

Many technology companies are talking about Microservices, when what they really mean is a database, wrapped in standard code, with a data structure and an API. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, it just doesn’t unlock the real power of Microservices, is not particularly innovative and is something retailers could easily do themselves.With this model functionality is still restricted and inflexible, largely because hard coding is still required to make changes, as opposed to the “low-code” approach offered by a Microservices orientated architecture.What’s needed is not just Microservices as, on their own, they are a standard piece of code. What retailers need, to be completely flexible and agile, are the tools required to manage Microservices. Why?Enterprise software needs to flex and change with the business, and needs to enable granular change as consumer behaviour changes. Software involves a lot more than just UI and database, it’s everything in between that delivers common functionality. Headless Commerce, powered by Microservices, provides a way to not just have a common data store feed for each channel, but also common functionality and business logic. This means it doesn’t have to be built multiple times for the UI of each channel.

For example, a new mobile OS gets released and retailers need to make their Omnichannel customer journeys compatible, or a new payment platform such as Klarna gets released, and retailers want in on the action.

In the traditional technology world, this requires a lot of planning and weeks of expensive hard coding by the technology provider, as it’s too complex for the retailer to manage, and vast amounts of hard-wired coding would be impacted.

Tooling is critical:

With Microservices and the WYSIWYG tools to manage them, retailers can quickly make changes and build new services that can be used multiple times by any channel, without needing to involve the technology provider. Because the Microservices are set up granularly, it’s feasible to drag in a new process element into a workflow and off it goes.

You can create and stitch together reusable Microservices in any configuration needed, and change them on the fly. This Low-Code development & flow-based programming approach saves time and money, and means that the retailer can catch up quickly as things change.

Tooling plus pre-built

A blend of build vs buy offers the most flexibility in any situation, so a platform that delivers pre-built Microservices for process such as build a basket, promotions, loyalty, customers and orders means retailers get up and running quickly and can self-manage going forward.

Microservices should not be a black box, off limits to the retailer. A Microservices tooling capability gives the retailer a way to low-code flexibly, and a common business logic layer, becoming the common engine for all stores, online channels and apps.

Don’t be headless about headless!

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