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Headless CMS Integration vs. Built-in Page Builders in eCommerce

Ana Ilievska
Try Storyblok

Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

eCommerce platforms with built-in page builders have become quite popular in the market. These platforms offer an integrated solution that allows businesses to create and manage their online stores in a relatively easy, quick, and cheaper way. Yet, these integrated Content Management Solutions (CMS) come with limitations. So, we ask: is it worth sacrificing your brand by compromising on storytelling? We don’t think so.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the characteristics of these eCommerce platform-integrated CMSs. We'll show you why one should go with specialized eCommerce and CMS solutions instead.

Section titled You can’t be everything to everybody You can’t be everything to everybody

In business, there's a simple rule: you can't be everything to everyone. Many try to offer a lot of different products and services to reach a big audience. They think this reduces risk and keeps their options open - making them feel more confident. But in reality, it does the opposite. Resources are easily exhausted and a business loses focus and its differentiation value.

The focus should be on simplicity, originality, and quality. That’s why Storyblok’s focus is on content management and delivery only. We work hard to deliver the best content management experience. No compromises. Do you know why we don’t need to be everything to everyone? Because we have exceptional Technology Partners who complement us. Together, we help our clients build the best composable solutions for their specific needs.

Quote from Alin Tanase, Technology Partner Manager at Storyblok

Like musical notes harmonizing into a masterpiece, composable architecture empowers organizations to create a dynamic and personalized experience that resonates with their unique vision and customer needs. That’s exactly why we created Storyblok’s Tech Ecosystem.

Alin Tanase
Alin Tanase
Technology Partner Manager at Storyblok

On the other hand, eCommerce platforms with built-in page builders deliver an all-in-one solution. These solutions are easy and quick to set up, scalable to a degree, and convenient. But, they come with limitations. They can be restrictive, with limited customization options, and lack flexibility.

Storyblok has integrations with many eCommerce solutions

Storyblok Integrations with best-of-breed eCommerce platforms

Section titled eCommerce platforms with page-builder vs. integrating specialized CMS and eCommerce solutions eCommerce platforms with page-builder vs. integrating specialized CMS and eCommerce solutions

Integrating a headless CMS with an eCommerce platform and using an eCommerce platform with a built-in page builder are two different approaches to managing content and building online stores. Let’s take a look at a brief comparison between the two:

  • Flexibility and Customization
    • Headless CMS with eCommerce Platform Integration: This approach provides greater flexibility. You can use a headless CMS to manage content separate from the eCommerce platform. This allows you to customize the front-end presentation layer, making it easier to adapt to various devices and channels.
    • eCommerce Platform with Page Builder. While page builders offer customization, they may have limitations compared to a headless CMS. The customization options are often within the constraints of the provided templates and modules.
  • Content Management
    • Headless CMS with eCommerce Platform Integration: With a headless CMS, content creation and management are decoupled from the eCommerce platform. This separation enables content updates without affecting the eCommerce functionality.
    • eCommerce Platform with Page Builder: Content management is often integrated into the eCommerce platform. While it provides a unified environment, it may have limited content flexibility and the ability to reuse content across different platforms or channels.
  • Scalability
    • Headless CMS with eCommerce Platform Integration: This approach is typically more scalable as you can scale the CMS and eCommerce systems independently. It allows for easier adaptation to changing business needs or adding new features.
    • eCommerce Platform with Page Builder: Scalability might be more tied to the capabilities of the built-in page builder. Upgrading or scaling the platform may involve considerations specific to the chosen eCommerce solution.
  • Development and Maintenance
    • Headless CMS with eCommerce Platform Integration: Development may require more effort initially to set up the integration, but maintenance can be more straightforward. Upgrades to either the CMS or eCommerce system can be done independently.
    • eCommerce Platform with Page Builder: Development might be quicker initially due to the integrated nature, but long-term maintenance might be more complex, especially if there are limitations in the built-in features or templates.

Ultimately, the choice between integrating a headless CMS with an eCommerce platform and using an eCommerce platform with a built-in CMS depends on your specific requirements, the level of customization needed, and your preferences for content management and scalability. But, compromising on the ability to tell the story behind your brand and offerings should always be priority number one.

Section titled The best of both worlds: Storyblok x Commerce Layer The best of both worlds: Storyblok x Commerce Layer

The Storyblok & Commerce Layer Integration makes it easy for businesses to power their entire eCommerce experience. By focusing on a best-of-need solution powered by Commerce Layer and Storyblok instead of an all-in-one solution, organizations can leverage a best-of-breed architecture. One that comes with much lower cost, increased flexibility, and enhanced personalization.

Quote from Seth Bindernagel, VP of Marketing at Commerce Layer

A brand that uses Storyblok to create brand storytelling with beautiful product detail pages can use the Commerce Layer integration to pull in all transaction data. Now, a brand can use both tools in tandem, but streamline workflows and scale content production.

Seth Bindernagel
Seth Bindernagel
VP of Marketing at Commerce Layer

Let’s take a look at how a specialized eCommerce solution like Commerce Layer can help businesses deliver the best experience when combined with a specialized CMS like Storyblok:

  • Composable architecture
    The commerce industry has moved beyond headless and monoliths. So, why go backward? With composable solutions like Storyblok & Commerce Layer, users can enjoy faster time to market, cost reductions, omnichannel experiences, faster websites and apps, and scalability. With the help of Storyblok and Commerce Layer's "unopinionated" APIs, users can integrate best-of-breed technologies in the blink of an eye. This allows you to bend your eCommerce business in any way needed instead of being stuck in an all-in-one solution.
  • Hyper-focused commerce and storytelling
    Commerce Layer is 100% focused on commerce — the “transactional layer”. Storyblok is 100% focused on content management and delivery. By connecting the two solutions via SKU, users get the best of both worlds. No compromising. This approach enables content and commerce data to be cleanly separated between teams. Marketing is centered around storytelling and commerce is centered around the transactional layer. No friction or confusion.
  • Low cost of ownership and scalability
    Storyblok and Commerce Layer offer transparent pricing models that don't penalize businesses for their success. Both solutions are scalable by design, so small teams can start and grow into global brands for a fraction of the cost.
  • Our focus is our strength
    Commerce Layer is focused on orders, checkout, and order management. The solution doesn’t come bloated with a lot of other services that are not core to their mission. The same applies to Storyblok. We are dedicated to empowering all teams to create standout content experiences across any digital channel. Simple and effective.

Check out our integration and see how it can deliver the best possible solution for your business.

Section titled Key Takeaways Key Takeaways

When you're choosing how to set up your online store, think about what your business needs. Consider what you sell, the kind of experience you want customers to have, and how much you want to customize things. If having a lot of control over how your store looks is important and you want a unique design, a headless CMS is a great choice.

A headless CMS, when used with an eCommerce platform, gives you a lot of flexibility. It makes it easy to change things as your business grows, and your website will work well on different devices. This means you can offer your customers a smooth and personalized shopping experience, no matter how they choose to shop.