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Jan 25, 2022 | 8 minute read

2021 Elastic Path Product Innovations

written by Hannah Jarrett

The dawn of every new year provides an opportunity for reflection. I, like many others, find some time in January to reflect on my personal wins (and fails!) from the previous year. At Elastic Path we’ve been taking some time to reflect, and one area that brings us immense pride is our product innovations of 2021.

In a year where the demand for flexible, fast commerce solutions continued to accelerate, we released 140+ new features, capabilities, and solutions that will change the lives of eCommerce teams for the better.

In 2021 we also saw the increased popularity of Composable Commerce, an approach that leverages multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete, business solution. Throughout 2021 Elastic Path sought to create products, features, and solutions that make Composable Commerce more accessible by de-risking multi-vendor solutions and increasing usability for business teams.

In doing so, we focused on innovations that make it simple for brands to bring their complex requirements and unique experiences to life. In this blog we will cover:

  • New Elastic Path Commerce Cloud Capabilities & Features
  • New Pre-Composed Solutions™
  • Composable Commerce XA™ Launch
  • New Elastic Path Commerce Capabilities & Features

New Elastic Path Commerce Cloud Capabilities & Features

First, I would like to cover the latest product innovations in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. For those that are not familiar with Elastic Path, we have two commerce platforms each of which meet the needs of different customers.

Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is our composable, API-first, microservices-based Headless Commerce platform. This product is for digitally-driven branded manufacturers who need the control to go-to-market and quickly optimize across business models (B2B, B2C/ D2C, B2B2C), geos, brands, and touchpoints with ease. Some of our Elastic Path Commerce Cloud customers include Pella Windows & Doors, and Hobie Kayaks.

Scroll down to read more about our other commerce platform, Elastic Path Commerce.

Below you will find some highlights of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product innovations from 2021, including new capabilities and features. That being said, this won’t cover everything we released; you can take a look at all product innovations in our Changelog.

Product Content Management Capability

In May we released a new Product Content Management (updated June 2022: now part of EP PXM)  capability which enables merchandisers, marketers, and product managers to import, enhance, and organize product data. This capability decouples product, price, and hierarchies, empowering brands with ultimate flexibility to create the unique product experiences that meet their complex requirements, such as creating hundreds of variations in seconds or assigning multiples prices for the same product. Subsequent enhancements since launch include:

  • Variation Builder which enables eCommerce teams to build hundreds of variations in seconds.
  • Support for bundles so that merchandisers can create and manage groups of products into bundles for purchase.
  • Addition of volume pricing to price books, enabling a store to offer different pricing for minimum quantities of items.
  • Shortly after release of this capability we expanded local support for product and hierarchies to support the needs of our global clients.

Catalog Composer Capability

After hearing consistent feedback from brands on their lack-luster catalog management capabilities, we reimagined catalog management. This year we brought that to life with the launch of our Catalog Composer capability (updated June 2022: now part of EP PXM.

This new capability finally lets teams design the product experiences they’ve envisioned but their technology has held them back from achieving. With Catalog Composer, brands can compose unlimited unique catalogs for every route-to-market and use case they can dream up.

We have continued to release small updates since launching Catalog Composer, such as the ability to revert unwanted changes in a catalog release. We’ve also optimized Commerce Manager, our business user tooling, making it easier for merchandisers and marketers to compose and launch catalogs.

New Features to Cart Capability

We added a collection of new features to our cart capability based on feedback from customers. These updates increased the use cases that brands could support with the Elastic Path cart capability. Features include:

GraphQL Server

We released a GraphQL Server that enables brands to build shopping experience with Elastic Path Commerce Cloud using GraphQL.

Enhancements to Promotions Capability

This year we also focused on building out our Promotions capability with the addition of new promotion types, additional features, and increased flexibility for merchandisers to create and manage promotions. These enhancements include the ability to add a free gift, limit promotion usage, exclude specific product from promotions, and more.

User Authentication (OpenID Connect)

This year we implemented support for OpenID Connect to enable user authentication with external identity providers, including Okta, Ping, and many others. This results in a better customer experience and improved security for all parties involved in the process.

Role-Based Access Control

The release of Role-Based Access Control gave teams the ability to quickly and easily assign roles so that each team member could fulfill their responsibilities without disrupting other team’s workflows. This functionality supports brands across business models including B2B, B2C, and B2B2C.

Account Management

In 2021 we added support for managing users and accounts in Commerce Manager, our business user tooling. This enabled admin users to effectively define and manage account structures and hierarchies, assign users those accounts, and assign roles to those users. In addition, it empowered customer service reps or members of the eCommerce team to view the purchase history and addresses associated with an account.

SOC 2 Compliance

In 2021 we were proud to achieve SOC 2 for Security Compliance. The SOC 2 examination assures that brands can rest easy knowing Elastic Path follows the highest standard of security practices and policies.

New Pre-Composed Solutions™

While the innovation and speed-to-market benefits of Composable Commerce are clear, we often hear from brands who are not sure how they will actually build and launch their own “best-for-me" solution. Often, they feel overwhelmed by the task of selecting and stitching various third-party solutions together. In an effort to make this approach more accessible, we launched the concept of Pre-Composed Solutions™ in 2021.

Pre-Composed Solutions™ are business-ready solutions that are built on top of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud and pre-integrate core commerce capabilities, 3rd party solutions, and any customizations so that brands can quickly deploy experiences, with greater flexibility and less risk. Plus, the beauty of Pre-Composed Solutions™ is that while they eliminate the time consuming and expensive task of stitching together solutions, they are still built on MACH architecture making optimizations and updates fast and easy.

In 2021 we launched 10 unique Pre-Composed Solutions™, covering everything from B2B to D2C to subscriptions. Check out this blog post to read all about these new solutions.

New Composable Commerce XA™

While Pre-Composed Solutions™ offer a way for brands to get live faster with a Composable Commerce approach, we knew we needed to de-risk the ongoing management and support of composable, multi-vendor solutions as well. Although this approach provides ultimate flexibility to choose the specific solutions that best meet your needs (like search, CMS, etc.), brands often feel intimidated by the task of managing them all after go-live. A common question we heard was “who do I call when something goes wrong?” This is an especially relevant concern for brands who are used to an all-in-one commerce platform that offers a single point of contact.

We launched Composable Commerce XA™ to de-risk the investment in multi-vendor solutions even further by offering a single place to call when something goes wrong- Elastic Path. Composable Commerce XA™ combines a multi-vendor architecture review, proprietary integration data monitoring, and a holistic approach to resolving issues for applications composed from multiple vendors.

With Composable Commerce XA™, Elastic Path changes the dynamic between API microservice vendor and consumer of that service, shifting to partner with our customers. Rather than raise our hands and say, “it's not our problem”, we work closely with our customers to find a solution together.

New Elastic Path Commerce Capabilities & Features

Lastly, I would like to cover the latest product innovations in Elastic Path Commerce. As I mentioned above, we have two commerce platforms at Elastic Path.

Elastic Path Commerce is our purpose-built Headless Commerce platform for telco, utilities companies, and those who sell regulated goods. This platform gives brands the absolute control over their data and infrastructure with the ability to deploy on-premise or via private cloud.

8.3.0 Release

The highlight of 2021 for Elastic Path Commerce was our 8.3 release. You can check out all of the details of this release in the 8.3.0 release notes. Some highlights include:

  • Extension Point Framework: a new way to build extensions without customizing core code
  • Operational Insights Tool: a smart tool to help you validate your configuration and health of your Commerce environment
  • Support for MySQL 8.0 and PostgresSQL 13.3
  • Performance Insights for Cucumber Test: a tool that provides an easy way to unfold issues early on in the development phase

I am thrilled to see the amazing experiences our customers bring to live with these innovations in 2022. If you’d like to learn more about the Elastic Path offering reach out to book a meeting with one of our commerce experts.