Commerce architecture is your mix of software components and how they work together.

The correct commerce architecture is required to be successful in this new digital commerce world.

Businesses must understand that the architecture dictates tech choices, integration structure, deployment methods, and desired customer experience.

Architecture is shifting away from what is dictated and controlled by proprietary commerce platforms to a structure that is more flexible and modular to adapt to a business’s evolving needs.  

We’ve devised a set of questions that will help you identify the type of architecture you should likely explore for your business.

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Your ideal architecture is

Based on your answers, this is the ideal commerce architecture for you!


A solely turnkey ecommerce solution relying on core competencies and a predetermined partner ecosystem for enhanced functionality. 

Examples: BigCommerce*, Shopify, WooCommerce, Volusion, Squarespace

Suitable for companies:
  • With minimal products and product variations
  • With lower transaction and revenue numbers
  • With limited or no IT/Development support
  • With easy order management processes
  • Who need quick market access and easy implementation

We often find clients are improperly using a commerce-led architecture because they are still relying on the commerce platform that they had chosen during the start-up phase. As they continue to grow they try to force their business model into a platform that was never meant to house a full fledged digital business. 

* BigCommerce can be used as a commerce-led architecture, however, unlike the other platforms listed, 90% of BigCommerce platform data is exposed to API’s!


A seamless integration of a content management system, commerce platform, and 3rd party software(s). This architecture focuses on your customers, their experience with you and their buying journey through your commerce site.

Example: BigCommerce for Drupal (link opens in a new window)

Suitable for companies:
  • Who want to differentiate their brand through personalized shopping experiences
  • Who want to showcase products outside of a standard product page
  • Who want the power to develop a content-rich experience AND have an industry standard checkout process
  • Who want to sell across multiple channels and third-party marketplaces
  • Who need to develop and execute cohesive and synchronized marketing campaigns across multiple channels

The experience-led architecture is the best option for companies looking to take that next step out of the start-up phase and into establishing themselves as leaders in their industry. We find a lot of companies are wanting the experience-led architecture but are trying to build it on top of a commerce platform (see commerce-led architecture) that was never intended to manage the complexity of content delivery, multi-channel management, customer intelligence, and data connectivity.


The ability to build your own front-end, integrate into saas, legacy, and homebrew platforms, and deconstruct commerce components for deeper development and innovation for specific features. 

Example: Open Source Architecture

Suitable for companies:
  • With multiple business models (D2C, Broker/Wholesale, B2B) that all require unique digital commerce capabilities
  • Who have a complex web of internal and external workflows that require a number of third party integrations
  • Who want the ability to add/remove/modify the platforms they integrate with easily and without major disruption to the business
  • Who need to have complete control of their data and how it is aggregated and disseminated 

The API-led architecture is more often used by companies large enough to have internal IT teams and/or agency support. It offers complete technological agility and freedom for innovative development. It is not uncommon for companies to take an architecture approach that falls within the spectrum of both API-led and Experience-led.

Next steps

Now that you know your ideal architecture, here are some next steps.