Commercetools, a provider of headless commerce technology deployed by B2B and retail companies, has acquired Frontastic to expand its ability to more quickly deploy ecommerce front-end interfaces on top of its headless commerce technology platform.
Commercetools has emerged in recent years as a leading provider of headless commerce technology. Headless commerce uses an extensive array of application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect its ecommerce engine to virtually any ecommerce front-end interface chosen by its client companies, industry analysts say.
The acquisition follows a $140 million funding round commercetools secured in September and supports the company’s efforts to broaden its market reach among companies who may want a faster and easier way to deploy a headless commerce platform that interfaces with their customers. Munich, Germany-based commercetools did not say what it has agreed to pay for Frontastic, also based in Germany.
Industry analysts say Frontastic brings to commercetools an easier way to deploy a customer-facing front-end interface in what can be a challenging deployment of headless commerce technology.
“The acquisition shows that even headless solutions must offer enhanced front-end capabilities now,” says Andy Hoar, CEO of consulting firm Paradigm B2B. “Frontastic gives commercetools the ability to streamline what can be a complex and time-consuming orchestration process. The tools enable developers to accelerate their time-to-market creating commerce experiences, a critical need today.”
Frontastic will appeal mostly to ecommerce practitioners that want the benefits of an “API-first” headless ecommerce platform but don’t have the resources to handle what can be a challenging and time-consuming deployment project, says Jordan Jewell, research director and lead analyst covering digital commerce and enterprise applications at technology research and advisory firm IDC.
As a headless commerce platform, commercetools provides an ecommerce engine integrated with such features as a product catalog, order management, and customer data management. But instead of providing a built-in customer-facing interface, the commercetools platform provides an extensive set of APIs that client companies can use to orchestrate or compose multiple vendor applications in a “best-of-breed” strategy. This technique lets them connect to any customer-facing front-end interfaces, such as a website, mobile app, social media page, or voice-activated ecommerce tool.
Why companies choose headless commerce
But a headless commerce option can take “a lot of work to get it up and running,” Jewell says. He adds that if a headless best-of-breed website goes down, it can be a challenge to identify which component and vendor is at fault.
But “companies using headless commerce usually know that; they’re invested in it and view it as their differentiator,” Jewell says. Companies such as Dawn Foods and Mission Linen Supply have deployed commercetools for the ability it offers to build a highly customized ecommerce presence.
Dirk Hoerig, CEO and co-founder of commercetools, says he sees a “huge market opportunity” worldwide for Frontastic’s composable front-end ecommerce platform. “We’re bringing the MACH (microservices, API, cloud and headless) movement to the mid-market as well as to digital business teams so that more companies can benefit from modern commerce experiences,” he says.
“We created Frontastic to help enterprises build the best shopping experiences—regardless of which commerce platform they use,” adds Thomas Gottheil, CEO and co-founder of Frontastic. “By joining forces with commercetools, we can support even more brands on a global scale.”
Commercetools says it has experienced a surge in growth during the pandemic as companies used its technology—including a cloud-based design that relies on extensive application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect an ecommerce engine to customer-facing front-end interfaces—to respond to changing markets with flexible ecommerce strategies. The company has raised a total of more than $308 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase.
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