Contentful: Using reverse headless as an approach to headless

Case Study

While selling with content is nothing new, the delivery of content, the continued domination of mobile usage and, most importantly, the expectations of customers’ shopping habits has changed dramatically.

Contentful & SOG Integration Device Shots

Customers want fast, sophisticated shopping experiences on mobile devices. Building content-rich websites and keeping them performant on mobile devices continues to be a challenge.

A modern website is the combination of multiple systems: ecomm platform, ESP, CRM, BI, etc. Content delivery is no different. The top ecommerce platforms (BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, SalesForce) all sell products very well. But none of them are incredible content management systems. One approach to bringing content management functionality is through an architecture called “headless” where a content management system (CMS) loads the pages for a website and passes along the cart and checkout to an ecommerce platform.

Headless architecture supports powerful content management functionality, but it also dictates that the performance of the site is driven by the CMS platform, not the ecommerce platform. This can be an issue because, while most ecommerce platforms are built for speed, the performance of CMS systems can be variable. Not to mention, SaaS based ecommerce platforms have uptime criteria within their hosting; CMS platforms typically do not.

Content management within Contentful is incredibly extensible because we have complete control over the content field which make up a page. Out-of-the-box Contentful has a number of field types available, such as pull-down, radio buttons, rich text editor, check box, etc. Additionally, UI extensions allow us to create custom field types. For example, we wanted a stronger wysiwyg editor and were able to create a UI extension using CK Editor. This extension can now be applied to any multi-line text fields, providing a very easy to use page builder. Contentful also has the standard CMS feature set with the ability to preview content, save drafts, etc.

SOGKnives.com was recently built using reverse headless. As part of a migration to BigCommerce, we introduced Contentful as the CMS to allow content to be built to match the new designs. Products and stories each have separate channels with templates built to support the various pages on the site. This also provides the ability to relate products to stories and the opposite reducing the need to duplicate content.

Bringing it all together, the benefits of reverse headless are

  1. The ability to easily create highly flexible content models creating bespoke brand experiences

  2. Leveraging BigCommerce’s hosting and template frameworks (Stencil) for fast performance.

  3. Easy-to-use content management for marketing teams.

Here is a video of Mercutio’s Senior Developer Jordan building content in Contentful for our upcoming BigCommerce implementation with Kokatat (check it out here).

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