Skip to main content goes next generation with successful headless commerce launch

Jan 22 '16

benefit homepage headless commerce


Last year we alluded to a project that involved Drupal as a front end with headless Hybris for commerce. I am pleased to announce that project has launched: Drupal is being used to power five sites, multiple languages, checkout, the product details page, promotions, and order management.

Under the hood Drupal uses a variety of APIs to communicate with Hybris. The marriage is working beautifully: Drupal does what it’s great at (content and rendering) and Hybris does what it’s great at (ecommerce and back office integration). The public never hits Hybris directly, Drupal serves every public request. With Drupal’s robust API writing code to integrate with Hybris’ APIs was easy and scalable. Akamai, Varnish, and Redis round out the mix to provide caching at every layer.

Benefit runs sites in multiple countries with multiple languages (with more to follow) so a sane translations workflow was critical. We rewrote the Drupal integration module as part of this project and contributed our work back to the community as an official module: GlobalLink. The excellent translation platform combined with Drupal’s Workflow modules make language translations handling work seamlessly.

Congratulations to Eric, Diana, Steve R, Steve H, Chris, Johnny, Daniel, Basilio and the rest of the Benefit Cosmetics team on the successful launch!

This mashup of Drupal for content and Hybris or Magento for ecommerce is the latest release in a series of projects Third & Grove has worked on over the last year for a variety of publishing and retail clients. This is a trend our CSO spotted several years ago and he first blogged about in 2014, and in the last year the number of actual content and commerce marriages is picking up pace. We expect this to continue in 2016.

The reality is that ecommerce platforms have not been able to keep up with the pace of change and the growing needs of the marketing team for leveraging content to sell products. Likewise, the leading content management systems (Drupal and Wordpress) have been unable to keep pace with the growing needs and complexity of commerce and all of its downstream integrations. Digital is far more complex than it used to be and the demands placed on it by business are more today than ever before.

For us, the marriage of best of breed content and commerce tools is the most compelling model for an organization to maximize its investment in digital commerce by empowering their teams with the best tools to do their jobs.

From the perspective of technology the model is also very compelling. Unlike a side-by-side approach (where both the content and commerce platforms face the Internet and users move between them), a headless commerce approach requires only one theme be written. The pressure for front end performance that mobile usage demands will only grow with time as mobile adoption continues to outpace desktop usage, so having to maintain one theme instead of two is a major efficiency win.

The future is mobile, the future of commerce is headless, and the future is here today.

Need help solving the content problem with a commerce platform? Get in touch.