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SAP Spartacus: New Alternatives to Consider
February 20, 2023
Recently, the eCommerce world was surprised by breaking news: SAP Commerce Cloud announced the end of Spartacus 4.x lifecycle. The product helped users create storefronts for SAP Commerce effortlessly, allowing them to feel SAP’s all-in-one solution extension. Spartacus was replaced with the latest 5.0 version - SAP Commerce Cloud, a composable storefront focused on covering B2B eCommerce needs.
Now, businesses that built their online store around SAP products have a real opportunity to make a choice: stay SAP-powered only or go composable using proven storefronts from other vendors.
What is the best alternative for Spartacus? How can you choose the best composable frontend option for SAP Commerce Cloud? This article aims to provide you with the answers you need.
What is SAP Spartacus?
Spartacus was designed to be upgradable while maintaining full extendability. Users had an opportunity to build the Spartacus storefront with new versions by updating its regularly enhanced libraries. Meantime, the monolithic nature and smooth integrations with SAP solutions only were the core obstacle for merchants to migrate to headless architecture with Spartacus on the frontend.
The newly announced version has the same core as Spartacus - it's also applicable for SAP eCommerce. But SAP has enriched its composable storefront with various useful features for B2B merchants, such as Multi-Site Data Isolation, B2B Unit-Level Orders, Account Summaries, etc.
SAP Spartacus documentation: General overview
SAP has created an extensive knowledge base to make the Spartacus storefront creation easier and faster. The company introduced unique documentation explaining each feature provided from tech and business perspectives, aiming to clarify product functionality for all stakeholders involved. Spartacus source code was open and available on GitHub. However, SAP also offered an Enterprise subscription to deliver more opportunities for merchants.
Among core out-of-the-box Spartacus features were:
- Product details
- Add to cart
- Payment management, and many more
Meantime, despite SAP's effort to deliver an easy-to-understand solution, Spartacus 4.0 seemed to offer very few user-facing features, which made the learning curve steeper.
Spartacus architecture under the microscope
SAP Spartacus was fully API-driven. A split from SAP Commerce Cloud provided an illusion of decoupled architecture and headless-like opportunities. This way, merchants could:
- have separate deployment cycles
- scale up the frontend without affecting the backend
- PWA availability
- apply mobile, tablet, desktop, and wide-desktop breakpoints and well as configure their own ones
It seems like an excellent start to a headless commerce story, but it was impossible to go headless with the Spartacus storefront. The solution had a monolithic architecture, offering ready-to-use integrations only with the SAP tools such as SAP Commerce Cloud (backend) and SAP Commerce SmartEdit (CMS). Therefore, users partially got the functionality for headless commerce but still remained hostages of one system without the ability to try other eCommerce platforms, CMSes, or payment methods.
Core challenges businesses faced building Spartacus storefronts
Lack of flexibility
Due to SAP's aim to make Spartacus an integral part of all-in-one solutions, merchants couldn't choose from various vendors in the market and go headless with Spartacus on the frontend. The product didn't offer ready-to-use integrations with other proven tools.
A steep learning curve
To some extent, the Spartacus complexity was caused by Angular being used as a main part of its tech stack. Merchants needed to involve experts in this technology to learn the product functionality and develop eCommerce storefronts. Usually, the selection process is time-consuming and costly since it's challenging to find Angular developers charging rates comparatively affordable for businesses. This obstacle slowed down the time-to-market and required additional efforts from merchants.
The absence of support services
SAP Spartacus users couldn't count on support services during the frontend development cycle. SAP didn't provide users with SLA, which means it was impossible to define the requirements regarding quality, availability, and responsibilities.
How to build a highly-performant storefront for SAP commerce without SAP Spartacus
The end of Spartacus' lifecycle provided businesses room for options. Some merchants will continue building eCommerce around SAP products only. Others will try to go headless with a costly and time-consuming re-platforming. Meantime, now you have the third option:
- Start a composable commerce journey without re-platforming, using Frontend as a Service
- Save guarantees and privileges you have using SAP Commerce Cloud
- See how a variety of products in your eCommerce stack can boost your business performance
Vue Storefront Frontend as a Service (FEaaS) built a pre-composed setup for SAP Commerce Cloud that allows you to create highly-performant storefronts and count on SAP's robust backend base simultaneously.
You can build a lightning-fast frontend for headless commerce applying over 30 ready-to-use integrations with market-proven CMSes, payment methods, and search tools, as well as 50+ fully customizable templates to achieve:
- High dev velocity
- Faster Time-to-Market
- Reduced Total Cost of Ownership
- Focus on customization
- Elimination of re-platforming risks
The customer journey starts on the frontend side and affects the entire business's prosperity. Therefore, making the frontend transformation your first step towards a headless commerce architecture is crucial. With Vue Storefront setup for SAP Commerce Cloud, you can get the high business performance you are striving for, deliver an excellent mobile-first experience and drive sales from day one after going live.
Go headless with Vue Storefront and SAP Commerce Cloud
Looking for more details on how to start a headless commerce journey with SAP Commerce Cloud and Vue Storefront? Download a whitepaper to find the answers.
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