Introducing our new Demo Store: helping developers launch Commerce Layer powered stores quickly

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Introducing Microstores.

August 11, 2022 Daniel Oh

Our vision at Commerce Layer is to make any interaction with customers a shoppable moment. What that means is that any time a brand crosses paths with a customer, whether it’s through an online ad, a print ad, a pop-up, or even a conversation between a support agent and a customer, there should be an option to drive a transaction immediately.

Today, we’re proud to say we’re closer to that mission with the release of our Microstores.

Microstores are self-contained stores that are configured and spun up instantly, with no development required, that can then be configured via URL query strings, which can then be printed as QR code. As a self-contained store, Microstores can be used to immediately drive transactions from the first moment of contact with a customer. For instance, marketers can append Microstores onto social or display ads as a landing page, with the Microstores containing the very products featured within the ad. They can even go a level further - creating Microstores for specific limited edition products and distributing them through QR codes to VIP users at pop-up shops.

How Microstores work

The Commerce Layer Microstore is powered by three separate commerce applications that function as microfrontends:

By leveraging these applications, we can configure a Microstore by combining some key ingredients:

  • The Sales Channel access token, which is how the Microstore application authenticates the Sales Channel and Market IDs that are being used for the Microstore. From here, the application will also pull in branding information set up within the organization settings - such as a logo or primary color - to input within the Microstore as well.
  • Your SKU List ID, which contains the SKUs you want to showcase in your Microstore. The Microstores application will also use the SKU List name and description attributes to populate the headline and description of the store, which can provide more context to the customer.
Note: The Access Token expiry determines how long the stores will stay active, once the Access Token expires, the URL will no longer configure the Microstore and you will have to generate a new one.

Once you have the above, you can put all of them into a URL, which helps configure how our Microstores application will render. Let’s take our example organization - Dia Records, an online vinyl record store - and create a Microstore that will sell a curated catalog of records for hip-hop enthusiasts. We’ve gathered the access token and SKU list from our organization here:

// Access token
accessToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzUxMiJ9.eyJvcmdhbml6YXRpb24iOnsiaWQ...

// SKU List
skuList=BJzwmIVYdn

If we plug all that into our Microstores application URL like this:

https://dia-records.commercelayer.app/microstore/list/BJzwmIVYdn?accessToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzUxMiJ9.eyJvcmdhbml6YXRpb24iOnsiaWQiOiJXeVpQb0ZrRG1uIiwic2x1ZyI6ImRpYS1yZWNvcmRzIiwiZW50ZXJwcmlzZSI6ZmFsc2V9LCJhcHBsaWNhdGlvbiI6eyJpZCI6ImxwdlBYaXl2ZUciLCJraW5kIjoic2FsZXNfY2hhbm5lbCIsInB1YmxpYyI6dHJ1ZX0sInRlc3QiOnRydWUsImV4cCI6MTY5MTY3OTUyNiwibWFya2V0Ijp7ImlkIjpbIlZvV1hPaHJaV2oiXSwicHJpY2VfbGlzdF9pZCI6IkFMZWJ5Q1pSQUIiLCJzdG9ja19sb2NhdGlvbl9pZHMiOlsiYmtFZVF1UllRayJdLCJnZW9jb2Rlcl9pZCI6bnVsbCwiYWxsb3dzX2V4dGVybmFsX3ByaWNlcyI6ZmFsc2V9LCJyYW5kIjowLjU4MzI2ODIwNzI0MDAxNjN9.NYZZ_8QCOxOCjLQevvltVbjAJ9PSS7RQp6V9B_paQnNZlMLh3XBBh5de0vzHG__kpYf6ne9fMp5cXBKLtudvcQ&all=true

The application will then process the Access Token (and its expiry period, for this example we’ve created an access token that will last until August 2023) and SKU List ID to configure a self-contained Microstore for users to access, which will look like this:

Tip: Microstore URLs can be shortened using any URL shortener, which is useful if you're sharing in environments that have character limits or truncate URLs.

Some Innovative Ways to Leverage Microstores

The ability to spin up a self-contained store adds a new dimension to ecommerce - both in how brands sell and service to their customers. Some innovative ways you can leverage Microstores include:

  • Curating a customer’s selection of products and sending a Microstore with the customer’s requested products to their WhatsApp, SMS or email to complete a purchase
  • Using QR codes to push a transaction anywhere - pop-up stores, display windows, TV campaigns, billboards, and much more
  • Using Microstores to service VIP customers by creating unique catalogs and sending it to their emails, SMS, or handing them out as QR codes at exclusive events
  • And much, much more!

Microstore Documentation

Our documentation on Github also has more documentation that goes into more detail about our Microstores, be sure to check it out here.

While most of our products are built with developers in mind, we’ve designed Microstores to be leveraged by anybody in your organization. In the future, we will release a URL configurator tool that will make it very straightforward for anyone within your organization to configure their own Microstores.

If you’d like to try making your own Microstore, sign up for a Commerce Layer account and start configuring your own by manually pulling together the URL, or by using the documentation above to interact with the API and do so programatically. Since we’re always going to be free to test with, we’d love to see you play with our Microstores and give us feedback on how we can make them even better!

Want to see it in action? Request a demo.

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