This blog post was co-authored by Jon Panella, GVP, Global Commerce Practice, Publicis Sapient, Saurabh Raisnghani, VP of Technology, Publicis Sapient, Cloud Native Commerce Capability Lead, and Sudip Mazumder, SVP, Head Retail Delivery, Publicis Sapient North America.
Today’s consumers are using more devices and channels to interact with retailers than ever before. Seamless service across all channels is the expectation, not the exception. Digital-first brands are raising the bar for hyper-personalized experiences through their test-and-learn approach to rapid delivery of modern commerce capabilities. As we all know, traditional brick and mortar retailers are under significant pressure due to high fixed costs associated with managing traditional store infrastructure, material decreases, and flat year-over-year comp-store revenue. A consequence of this pressure is the inability to innovate and create new, competitive user experiences. One answer to this problem is the introduction of a new service on the Azure Marketplace.
You say monoliths, I say microservices.
It’s estimated that more than half of retailers still operate their businesses on monolithic, on-premises commerce applications. Those monoliths inhibit speed and flexibility to build hyper-personalized experiences. They lack agility to support new business models to differentiate. Other drawbacks include all night deployments, six months from concept to go-live, 24 hours to deploy one line of code change, and the requirement of significant rollout and readiness planning.
Unless retailers revamp their platforms, they will be challenged to keep up with new competitors who are operating in the cloud. Retailers need a solution to expedite modern commerce efforts. The Rapid Commerce solution, developed in partnership with Publicis.Sapient, DataStax, Acquia, and Microsoft, offers a comprehensive blueprint to solve this challenge holistically.
What is the Rapid Commerce solution?
This solution provides the flexibility and innovation to help retailers deliver relevant and intelligence-driven experiences. It is a fully cloud-native solution leveraging microservices and “headless” architecture with the power of Azure cloud and AI services.
The Rapid Commerce solution enables:
- Speed to market
- Leverages a headless approach enabling a highly customized user experience
- User-friendly ecosystem that encourages experimentation
- Free source code to reduce total cost of ownership
- Data-driven architecture supports the ability to individualize the customer experience in real time
- Cloud, mobile, and IoT first
The platform offers visibility into data, to enable insights, and iteration with speed. The entire source code is offered for free without a license. Only implementation and enhancements are commercialized.
Rapid Commerce solution benefits
Low barrier approach to enabling high competitive value
Experience, tools, and templates are leveraged to do an evaluation of a retailer’s current state. Insight and best practices—not theory—are embodied throughout the approach. The following phases are conducted over a seven week timeframe to provide a recommendation on how to attain the digital channel business imperatives:
- Alignment on vision and goals to understand needed capabilities.
- Assessment of current commerce ecosystem to identify priorities.
- Development of a pilot to showcase value. Scope includes capabilities such as browse, search, content management, user profile, promotions, order management, inventory, payment integrations, and more.
- Roadmap creation with business case and key data for cost of ownership, return on investment, approach, and budgetary guidance.
Valuable artifacts included
The figure below shows a sample of the interface. It features a scalable, micro-services pilot architecture with decoupled experience assembly applications to enable channel-specific experiences.