Feb 20, 2019 - Justin Emond

Why Acquia + BigCommerce Will Succeed Where Others Have Failed


We’ve integrated Drupal with MagentoShopify PlusHybris and more which has made this truth abundantly clear: combining content and commerce is tricky business. Having a team build a content and commerce platform that can fit many use cases? Now, that’s just cruel.

Most organizations have been reluctant to build out commerce features in content platforms and those that did try have not been (and won’t be) successful. We’ve been pessimistic for many attempts but we’re excited to say that the Acquia + BigCommerce partnership is likely the best solution to finally create a unified platform that can handle content + commerce.

The Acquia + BigCommerce partnership is likely the best solution to finally create a unified platform that can handle content + commerce.

Why Acquia + BigCommerce will do what others have failed

To understand why this partnership with BigCommerce is likely to succeed, you have to understand why Acquia’s last commerce partnership was not as successful as it should have been.

Announced more than two years ago, Acquia’s last major commerce partnership was with Magento. While there have been and continue to be some great brands leveraging Acquia’s Magento connector to build great customer experiences, the momentum of the partnership never really took off. In retrospect, it’s clear why.

Magento was reluctant to give up the glass—to give up the experience layer that Acquia wanted to own. Sure, Magento had robust APIs that made it technically possible, but Magento was never really comfortable talking about going headless. Worse still, instead of seeing the Acquia partnership as a way to address a gap in their platform, Magento worked in parallel to the partnership to enhance Magento’s rudimentary CMS through acquisition and product development. Actions speak louder than words.

Magento never wanted to share the experience layer with any platform, let alone Acquia, and thus, and only with the benefit of hindsight, is it clear that the partnership was doomed to fail from the beginning. The partnership with BigCommerce, however, is a completely different story.

Just take a brief look at BigCommerce’s own site and you will see a clear focus on Commerce-as-a-Service, a fancy way of saying “headless”, that simply does not exist with competitors Magento and Shopify Plus. From a business perspective, the strategy makes sense: Loudly supporting headless is an easy way for BigCommerce to differentiate itself from Shopify Plus, their major competitor.

Because BigCommerce is ready, willing, and able (the sum is greater than the parts here) to go headless, the collaboration with Acquia is very likely to be successful.

A bright future for your customer journey… if you do it right

For non-browse-and-buy commerce experiences (like buying concert tickets or only ever selling one model of toothbrush), Acquia + BigCommerce will offer a quick way to inject commerce capabilities directly into your content experience, no matter how complex or ambitious your existing Acquia site is. You will be able to do this without exposing the BigCommerce experience layer to your site visitors, saving effort by not having to maintain two theme layers.

Conversely, for organizations that want best-of-breed content and commerce experience—meaning organizations that definitively want browse-and-buy experiences with many SKUs, promotions, and collections pages—the partnership will offer ways to meaningfully establish product data flow and seamless customer experiences while using two different platforms to serve different parts of a unified experience. Put simply, a shared cart, single sign-on, and a unified account dashboard are some of the benefits you should expect.

But here’s the kicker: the most important decision an organization can make when leveraging Acquia and BigCommerce is whether to go side-by-side or headless. Even though the integration component and the technology piece are going to be handled by two heavy-hitters in their respective areas, you can still run into issues if you choose the wrong approach.

Read our guide on how to figure out if a side-by-side or headless integration is right for your BigCommerce + Acquia project.

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