Contextual Commerce and Drupal

In a crowded digital world, making user experiences easier and more enjoyable is crucial. Users expect seamless web experiences and eCommerce is no exception. Even as online shopping becomes the new normal, the average shopping cart abandonment rate stands at 67 percent. With long check-out processes, poor navigation and a lack of clear calls-to-action to blame, clearly there is room for improvement in the realm of eCommerce experiences.

When it comes to addressing this problem and improving the rate of eCommerce conversions, Drupal has shown that it’s up to the task. For long-time users, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Drupal framework’s robust content management capabilities and open source ecosystem have long made it an ideal fit for dynamic commerce solutions. Drupal Commerce, a series of modules maintained by The Commerce Guys, exemplifies this. The Drupal Commerce suite integrates standard eCommerce functionality with Drupal’s enterprise-level CMS, all while allowing for integration with third-party modules.

Now, Acquia is taking commerce on Drupal to the next level. Earlier this year, the Acquia Commerce Framework (ACF) open module was released, adding a new level of functionality for commerce on Drupal. Developed in coordination with partners Elastic Path and BigCommerce, the ACF utilizes a decoupled eCommerce platform in coordination with Drupal’s backend to enable “contextual commerce” experiences.

Contextual commerce is a new model for eCommerce that directly addresses user issues like complex navigation or long processes. Basically, contextual commerce refers to the integration of purchase environments into everyday environments. An example of contextual commerce would be if a customer were to see a product that was posted on social media and could buy it directly from the post instead of having to be redirected to the vendor site. By reducing friction and the number of points where a potential customer can drop off, contextual commerce makes eCommerce experiences easier to navigate and complete.

Still in its early stages, the idea of contextual commerce holds great promise for retailers looking to meet buyers where they lie, so to speak. With the ACF, Drupal users can now create their own contextual commerce solutions for their sites. As a reference architecture, the ACF cuts dev time significantly by allowing users to create these experiences quickly. The ACF pulls data from the decoupled eCommerce platform and then is able to automatically generate contextual commerce react blocks that can be added to any page on your site. Once installed, the ACF provides a bold new take on eCommerce that takes advantage of Drupal’s robust backend and seamless API integrations. Watch the video below for a demo, or download the ACF yourself form Github.

While this new framework offers countless new opportunities for site owners to expand their commercial potential, the ACF is a culmination of a trend that has long been brewing in the Drupal space. Headless and decoupled Drupal solutions ae becoming more and more popular, especially in the wake of the addition of JSON:API to the Drupal core. Thanks to the constant improvements being made to Drupal 8 and the thousands of modules on offer from the open source environment, Drupal users have never had more options for creating dynamic and innovative web experiences.

With so many options, it’s important to make the right decisions regarding your site. Contextual commerce may be a good fit for your site, but you don’t want your platform to have every bell and whistle imaginable; the goal is to improve your site’s UX, not create clutter. Choosing a partner like Duo can help you avoid any missteps. Our process involves an in-depth study at your user base, the results of which we use to create unique web experiences tailored specifically to your brand. With web users more discerning than ever, taking the time to work with a partner can offer the best outcome for you and your customers.

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