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2022-10-19 5:00 pm

Voucherify for commercetools

  • Learn why you should integrate Voucherify into your commercetools store in the first place.
  • Discover the most common ways to connect both platforms.
  • Explore different migration frameworks to successfuly migrate to Voucherify without downtime.

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Why and How to Integrate Voucherify with commercetools? The Strangler Fig Approach
Kate Banasik
Kate Banasik
January 24, 2024
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Why and How to Integrate Voucherify with commercetools? The Strangler Fig Approach

In a rapidly evolving ecommerce landscape, the flexibility and customization offered by promotion engines are key to staying competitive. As businesses scale, they often encounter limitations with the built-in promotion engines of ecommerce platforms. 

This article delves into why and how to integrate Voucherify Promotion and Loyalty Engine with commercetools. It also outlines a strategic approach to the gradual migration of legacy commercetools promotions to Voucherify following the Strangler Fig Approach.

Let’s first dive into why you need an external promotion engine on top of commercetools in the first place. 

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Limitations of commercetools promotion engine

commercetools offers a built-in promotion engine, however, it may quickly fall short when faced with rising scale and more complex use cases. Thanks to the API-first build, commercetools can be easily extended with microservices like Voucherify to support custom promotion and loyalty scenarios and help enterprises scale campaigns easily. 

Here is what the Voucherify integration commercetools enables on top of what’s readily available in commercetools:

1. Limitless promotional scenarios

commercetools built-in promotional scenarios are limited as commercetools does not support dynamic bundles, loyalty programs, referral campaigns, or customizable gift card options as Voucherify does. It also has more limited promotions stacking possibilities. Campaign rules are not very flexible either and any non-standard scenarios will require workarounds. This is where the Voucherify Rules Engine helps – with customization options on top of custom events and metadata.

One example of commercetools limits is Breville’s subscription promotions for loyal customers. Breville offers a coffee beans subscription and wanted to give a free item if a customer is subscribed to their service for a set number of months. Such a promotion was impossible to implement with commercetools, so they used commercetools and Voucherify integration to do so.

Migrating commercetools promotions: example of Breville's campaigns

2. Robust personalization features 

As research shows, personalized promotions increase the efficiency of marketing spend by up to 30%. They also save your marketing budget from quickly going to waste and your margins from fully disappearing.

Migrating commercetools: Personalized promotions with metadata

commercetools has more limited options than Voucherify for advanced customer segmentation, targeting, or real-time personalization on top of custom business attributes. If you need more personalization options, it’s worth considering connecting Voucherify to your commercetools platform. 

3. Better CX for customer-specific promotions

commercetools does not offer an out-of-the-box way to display all available promotions to an individual customer (check Qualification API by Voucherify). This feature lets you quickly move the needle in terms of conversions, AOVs, or even cross- and up-selling. 

Migrating commercetools promotions: Discount qualification for enhanced CX

What’s more, commercetools does not offer customer wallets displaying all available promotions – something that could be easily built with Voucherify APIs.

4. Real-time price and discount calculations

Real-time updates on discounts and prices are crucial for both CX and compliance reasons. By default, commercetools applies the promotions and discounts in the cart but if the cart content changes, it updates the promotions only at the checkout stage, not straight in the cart, which can lead to compliance issues and poor customer experience. 

Voucherify calculates promotions whenever a customer updates the cart or applies promotions (e.g., promo codes, gift cards, loyalty points) ensuring good customer experience and correct end price. If the promotion is not valid any more or the cart does not qualify for a certain discount coupon which was previously applied, a warning (error) message can be displayed.

5. More out-of-the-box promotion distribution channels

When you create promotions in commercetools, you can extend these campaigns to other customer-facing touchpoints (web, mobile, chat) using the API. However, commercetools does not offer integrations with distribution platforms like CEP or email providers. To do so, you would have to set up promotions in separate applications using commercetools API, resulting in extra manual work making the time-to-market of promotions longer.

Creating promotions in Voucherify allows you to easily share them across your commercetools store, mobile app, and other channels. With Voucherify's features like email and SMS, CEP integrations, or other tools, you can ensure a consistent omnichannel customer experience. Plus, you have complete control over promotions using just one tool.

Migrating commercetools: Voucherify omnichannel promotion capabilities diagram

6. No limits on active campaigns 

commercetools cannot handle a large number of concurrent campaigns, as be default they allow for: 

  • 500 active product discounts within a project at any time.
  • 100 active cart discounts independent of store.
  • Up to 100 cart discounts per store.

As businesses grow, these limitations become more noticeable. Voucherify doesn't have these restrictions and can scale limitlessly with your business expansion.

commercetools built-in campaign limitations

7. Extensive self-service options

Depending on developers for managing promotions in commercetools will eventually put the brakes on your marketing efforts and increase costs. One very common use case where commercetools customers need to involve developers is generating unique promo codes in bulk. With Voucherify, it can be solved in a few clicks straight from the Dashboard. Creating custom solutions to run on top of commercetools to give you more promotional scenarios increases the risk of buggy setups and fraud. 

Voucherify offers a visual Dashboard where all campaigns can be set up, managed, and analyzed with little to no coding skills required reducing the risk of manual errors and slashing the time your teams need to spend launching and managing promotions. 

No-code campaign management with Voucherify

8. Enterprise-scale campaign management on a granular level

Market- and brand-specific campaign isolation 

commercetools keeps all campaigns within one promotion editor which may be cumbersome to work with if you have a multi-region or a multi-brand company with many local campaigns running.

Voucherify allows you to separate your region- or brand-specific campaigns. You can, for example, keep them in separate projects or separate them by adding a region- or brand-specific metadata to the campaigns which can be used as a filter when browsing, analyzing, or editing campaigns.

Robust campaign search options

The search feature in commercetools can be difficult to navigate. Voucherify offers partial match search functions and advanced filters based on campaign category or tags – allowing you to troubleshoot much faster. Also, Voucherify campaigns can be separated through projects which means that search is always narrowed down to the campaign from the specific region or brand.

Custom access permissions and workflows

commercetools has fixed access permissions for the entire project and doesn't allow setting permissions separately for different channels, stores, or countries. This can be challenging for businesses operating in multiple countries or with various brands that want to grant access to local discounts only for local teams. Additionally, there's no simple way to activate or deactivate user accounts.

Easier mass campaign management

commercetools built-in promotion engine does not allow for bulk creation or deletion of promo codes. Cloning campaigns is difficult and can only be done by creating templates.

9. More efficient validation rules processing

commercetools checks all validation rules of all promotions to apply a promotion which may lead to longer processing times at scale (multiple regions, stores with region- and store- specific promotions). For example, if someone buys a mattress in France using a promotion only valid in France, commercetools checks validation rules for all promotions available to customers in Poland, Germany, USA, etc. unnecessarily. 

Voucherify offers creating separate projects per region or brand which allows separate teams to work on a separate subset of campaigns. If a validation or redemption of a promotion is made, only the validation rules for that specific project are being processed, and only until one of the rules is not met (then others aren’t being checked and are skipped) reducing the load and increasing the performance of the API calls being made.

Integrating Voucherify with commercetools – migration how-to guide

We have written a Voucherify implementation guide that explains how to get started with Voucherify and commercetools and Voucherify integration guide. However, we have not covered there the case when you have live promotions powered by commercetools promotion engine and plan to migrate those, at scale. This is what we aim to cover below:

In general, you can run a “big-bang” integration of Voucherify with commercetools if:

  • You are not running many promotions in commercetools yet. 
  • You have just started using commercetools and you are still in configuration process. 

If you rely on promotions in commercetools, it's advisable to gradually shift to Voucherify to minimize disruptions and risks, speeding up the time it takes to see value. The Strangler Pattern and the Parallel Change Pattern may be what you need to successfully run the migration.

The Strangler Fig Pattern, as defined by Martin Fowler, is a software development technique used for gradually transitioning from a monolith to microservices. Whereas, the Parallel Change Pattern involves incrementally replacing specific functionalities of the old system with those of the new system while ensuring both systems operate in parallel during the transition.

How to complete a migration of existing promotions from commercetools to Voucherify using these patterns? 

The migration can happen for example using a parallel change pattern in three phases: expand, migrate, and contract. 

  • Expand – In the initial stage of expansion, create and implement updated interfaces (version 2.0) for consumers. Operating both version 1.0 and 2.0 concurrently sets the groundwork for the migration phase. This allows consumers to transition, while the integration team focuses on developing the Promotions API and integrating Voucherify.
A diagram showing how Voucherify integrates with commercetools
A diagram showing how Voucherify integrates with commercetools on a basic level (skipping among others data sync, distribution mechanism, qualification API).
  • Migrate – Once consumers on the initial market are using the new versions and Voucherify is integrated, start migrating different markets. It's advisable to initiate market rollouts one at a time before progressing to larger, more complex bulk rollouts.
  • Contract – Finally, you can remove the connection to the previous, commercetools-provided promotional endpoints used and decommission the commercetools promotion engine. 

How to migrate commercetools promotions to Voucherify?

You can follow these steps to perform the migration: 

1. Identification of components for replacement

By default, promotions and checkout are tightly coupled together in commercetools. To temporarily keep promotions coming from both systems without disrupting the checkout process, you should decouple checkout from promotions and enable a connection to both Voucherify and commercetools for promotion handling.

2. Decoupling functionality

The core of the Strangler Pattern is to gradually decouple the old system's functionality and redirect it to the new system. This way you can initially deploy the new promotion engine to one market to test and experiment whether everything works as expected and only then deploy it to more markets. 

You can start by creating a new, separate orchestration layer, let’s call it commerce API. This commerce API will act as an intermediary layer between the ecommerce platform (cart, product, checkout APIs) and temporarily communicate with both, commercetools APIs and Voucherify APIs for promotion validation, redemption, etc. You can create this new commerce API as a new API or within back-end for front-end (API endpoints in Next.js) or update an existing orchestration layer if you had one created previously. 

You can then leverage the new commerce API to associate carts and line items with discounts and discount codes. 

You may also need to edit the back-end/connected services. Before these services that were managing promotions were using built in commercetools promotion fields. For example, OrderCreated event was carrying information about applied promotions and discounts in the default fields defined in commercetools. You can still use these fields (functionality) to apply promotions using external systems, using the Direct Discounts mechanism and then skip modifying the back-end services. 

You may also choose to remove those fields and use the new promotion objects coming from Voucherify. You will need to update, among others, the fields within Order and Order Items schema. The updated schema enables you to migrate while the integration team is integrating Voucherify.  

3. Redirecting calls

Over time you can gradually start using Voucherify API alongside the built-in commercetools promotion API, for example by flagging which promotion API, Voucherify or commercetools should communicate with the commercetools commerce API. This allows you to migrate functionalities piece by piece, rather than all at once.

4. Parallel running

During the migration, both the old and new systems (commercetools and Voucherify) will operate in parallel, meaning the discount is calculated by both, commercetools and Voucherify. This is crucial for maintaining business continuity and reducing the risk of service disruption. 

As more promotional functionalities are successfully migrated to Voucherify and proven stable and effective, the reliance on the old promotion engine can be gradually reduced. 

5. Complete migration and retirement of the old system

The final step in the Strangler Pattern is the complete migration to the new system and the retirement of the old system. Once all promotion functionalities are successfully running on Voucherify and you are confident in the stability and performance of the new system you can fully stop using commercetools built-in promotion engine.

Here's a timeline example of the changes needed for the integration as described earlier:

Timeline: An example of the changes needed for the integration

How Voucherify supports gradual integration with commercetools?

Voucherify facilitates a seamless, gradual migration of pre-existing promotions through:

1. Independent and market isolated APIs

We offer separate APIs for different functionalities which allows for gradual and controlled integration. For example, you can start by integrating only the validation and redemption APIs for promotions and add referrals, loyalty programs, and other APIs later on.

We offer APIs that are market-isolated, with each API responsible for a specific market, which allows you to connect different stores gradually. 

2. Data migration support

Here is what you can expect from our migration services:

  • Our team’s non-stop support for data migration. 
  • Data security and no downtime for end customers. 
  • Flexible data storage mechanisms (metadata) that allow for a complete implementation of any business-specific objects and corner cases.
  • Options for bulk import with CSV files or via APIs of customer data, product data, voucher codes, gift card codes, custom events, and metadata. 

We offer dedicated technical migration support services if you need additional support in translating your legacy data to Voucherify properties or have other migration-related questions.

3. Out-of-the-box integrations and partners

A suite of pre-built integrations streamlines the migration process, ensuring compatibility and reducing development time. Besides the integration with commercetools, we offer integrations with CEP platforms, ERP systems, CMS providers, and more. 

You can check the full list of available integrations here

Voucherify's out-of-the-box integrations and partners

Our experienced partners can provide additional support and expertise during the migration process.

Voucherify's experienced partners

Conclusion

Integrating Voucherify with a commercetools store can transform your promotional, loyalty, referral, and gift card capabilities. It provides exceptional flexibility and efficiency by eliminating limits and obstacles of the built-in commercetools promotion engine. This shift results in a stronger, more adaptable, and future-ready promotional system.

Companies can smoothly transition existing promotions from commercetools to Voucherify without causing disruptions by taking a strategic and gradual approach. This method lets them prioritize essential functionalities or launch critical promotions first and migrate legacy promotions at a sustainable pace later.

We, at Voucherify, have expertise in moving promotions from old and new commerce systems. We can assist and guide you through this transition to ensure a seamless journey.

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