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Using Content Federation to create a cohesive backend infrastructure

How backend integration issues negatively impact eCommerce companies and how Content Federation can help solve them.
Jing Li

Jing Li

Nov 21, 2023
Using Content Federation to create a cohesive backend infrastructure

Composable commerce offers numerous advantages for the businesses that get it right. The approach promises faster websites, more customization, improved scalability, and conversion rates.

ECommerce companies know what can be accomplished by incorporating a composable approach and why it’s necessary, with 83% of B2B buyers preferring a digital commerce approach. However, achieving the full benefits of composable commerce doesn’t come without work, and some companies may struggle to adopt it or see the full results.

One of the reasons behind this is the lack of a unified backend infrastructure. In this article, we’ll explain how backend integration issues can negatively impact eCommerce companies and how Content Federation can help solve them.

#The backend challenges facing eCommerce companies

Many eCommerce companies have already begun adopting a composable approach or undergoing a digital transformation to make it happen. Unfortunately, they continue to face challenges with maximizing a composable approach. There are a few reasons for this:

Reliant on legacy solutions

Digital transformation aims to modernize IT solutions to support new initiatives (such as composable commerce). However, many companies, even those undergoing digital transformations, continue to rely on legacy infrastructure. These legacy systems contain volumes of data that cannot be migrated and will remain relevant, at least in the short to medium term.

A monolithic suite foundation

Businesses eager to complete a digital transformation or launch a new digital store may have hastily turned to a monolithic suite to make everything a reality. However, on top of these solutions being expensive and adding the problem of vendor lock-in, it becomes difficult to integrate them with other tools in the technology stack, whether existing legacy systems or other modern solutions.

Integrations issues

In an attempt to modernize their entire tech stack, particularly with various commerce-focused technologies, companies may have adopted a number of different tools to pair with their existing solutions.

Unfortunately, communication between elements of the eCommerce stack, including CRMs, CDPs, PIMs, personalization engines, etc., isn’t uniform. The tools selected may solve individual problems on the frontend but don’t work together well enough on the backend.

As eCommerce businesses continue to struggle with these issues, it leads to knock-on effects which can cause further harm to the customer experience and the bottom line.

Data silos

With a disjointed tech stack, the critical issue that companies will encounter is the formation of data silos. Instead of a cohesive and unified ecosystem where data is easily shared between tools, information in one system gets trapped or isn’t visible when needed.

For example, if the CMS and CRM aren’t properly connected, new data from customers shopping on the website doesn’t automatically get synced with the CRM. This creates challenges for the customer success, marketing, and sales teams when they need that data.

Poor shopping experience

When the backend infrastructure isn’t properly connected, the shopping experience for customers on the frontend suffers. For example, a customer ordering a product that is actually out of stock might be in for an unpleasant surprise when they discover they won’t receive the item and have to process a refund instead. Additionally, a lack of customer data can limit the ability to deliver personalized experiences and adjust campaigns.

#Why backend cohesion needs to be found

Organizations need to unify their backends to rectify many of their challenges. The most critical issues that can be solved include:

Eliminate data and content silos

A unified backend infrastructure enables companies to remove the data and content silos that prevent proper data sharing. Companies can implement policies and standards to be followed to improve data governance. Additionally, smoother integrations enable data to flow easily between systems.

Enables an omnichannel buying experience

A cohesive backend ensures that eCommerce companies can provide the omnichannel buying experience their customers desire. Access to customer data is democratized so that it can be used to create personalized and engaging experiences across multiple channels. ECommerce brands can also avoid any mixups with inventory levels, pricing, and promotions. This enables them to deliver the type of experience that increases conversions.

Removes internal communication and collaboration challenges

If the backend infrastructure isn’t connected, it can lead to communication and collaboration challenges for internal teams. However, backend cohesion removes those challenges, providing more visibility into what each department is doing.

For example, the sales team can see real-time updates on inventory levels from the warehouse, while the marketing team can access customer data from the CRM. This improved communication also extends to workflows so that duplication of effort is reduced and teams can move faster, whether launching new products or campaigns.

#Selecting the right tools to build a backend agnostic architecture

For eCommerce companies to solve their backend challenges and unite their various tools and technologies, they need to leverage a backend agnostic architecture.

Why backend agnostic infrastructure is a must

Backend agnostic infrastructure is characterized by system components that are independent of specific technologies or platforms. The system is completely interoperable, offering increased flexibility, adaptability, and scalability.

With a backend agnostic infrastructure, eCommerce companies can easily integrate the various tools that make up their technology stack. It also allows them to avoid vendor lock-in since they aren’t restricted to a particular set of tools or technologies. They can also quickly adapt to changes in customer behavior or technology without overhauling the entire infrastructure.

The merits of composable systems

Additionally, a composable architecture should also be considered. Composable architecture provides a modular platform for companies to select best-of-breed tools to handle their needs. In addition, these tools can be swapped out or removed as necessary if they no longer serve the needs of the business.

However, while composable systems can generally be considered backend agnostic, businesses must note that some vendors offer composable systems, but integrations remain challenging outside of their vendor ecosystem, which could see the same backend challenges re-appear once more.

The MACH solution

MACH architecture provides the ideal backend agnostic system. Companies can gain the benefits of composability without the risk of vendor lock-in thanks to the presence of microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless technologies.

Hygraph is a MACH-certified vendor that allows businesses to adopt a modular architecture and integrate various best-of-breed tools. Hygraph also offers Content Federation, enabling businesses to avoid many backend challenges, such as overly reliant on legacy systems.

#How Content Federation solves backend challenges

Content Federation brings data from multiple sources and backends together via API. It puts that data into a central repository without migrating that content. Through Content Federation, businesses can access up-to-date data from various sources without being able to manipulate or alter the data.

Content Federation helps to create a cohesive backend infrastructure in multiple ways: There is no need to migrate from legacy systems immediately. Businesses that can’t retire those tools just yet can pull the data from them into their modern tools. Content Federation provides a single source of truth by aggregating content and data assets into one unified layer, which helps to preserve data integrity. Silos between multiple backend systems are removed, and integration becomes easier as well.

#Wrapping up

A disjointed backend infrastructure can be problematic for modern enterprises in a number of ways, particularly for eCommerce companies that want to adopt or get the full benefits of headless commerce. With Hygraph’s backend agnostic architecture and Content Federation, however, it is possible to overcome those challenges and realize the full potential of headless commerce, including increased speed, performance, and conversions.

Learn more about how Hygraph uses Content Federation and a native GraphQL API to achieve flexibility and agility.

Blog Author

Jing Li

Jing Li

Jing is the Content Marketing Manager at Hygraph. Besides telling compelling stories, Jing enjoys dining out and catching occasional waves on the ocean.

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