The Next Chapter: ITG Adds Commerce Layer As A Platform Partner

Today we are announcing a new partnership with Commerce Layer.  

Here at ITG Commerce, we built our business over the past decade primarily as a Magento / Adobe Commerce implementation partner. That’s where we started from, and still represents the majority of our revenue today.  In 2018, Adobe acquired Magento and took the Magento platform in a new direction, focusing more heavily on serving enterprise clients leveraging the full suite of Adobe Experience Cloud products.  Since this time, Adobe has enjoyed success in the enterprise market, but this has come at the cost of being a viable solution for unique medium sized businesses with complex requirements (what was once Magento’s sweetspot).  While we continue to invest in our future as an Adobe Solution Partner, we’ve also broadened our business strategy to make sure we are providing market leading solutions for these mid sized clients facing commerce complexity.  

Two years ago, we started a new journey with Shopware.  This was a natural first step for us for several reasons.  Shopware is an open source, PHP based platform that looks and feels like a modern day Magento might have, if it had remained independent.  Many key players from the Magento ecosystem have found their way to Shopware and it’s been a natural progression for us.  ITG’s business is split pretty evenly between Europe and North America.  As a mature German organization, Shopware’s capabilities in Europe are well established and the 2022 investment of $100 million by The Carlyle Group and PayPal has been heavily pointed towards North America growth.  We’re well off the start line with this partnership having achieved key Shopware wins with YT Industries and Good360 Australia.

This year, we’ve shifted our thinking aggressively in the direction of composable commerce.  Adobe Commerce can certainly be run headless, with Adobe themselves leading the charge with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) powering the content layer for many large enterprises.  There are also many examples of 3rd party CMS platforms (Contentful, Sanity, Amplience, etc) being used in conjunction with Adobe Commerce.  Shopware 6, released in 2019 was a total rewrite of the monolithic codebase of Shopware 5, bringing a modular approach, with a headless backend API separate from its frontend.  We’re doing exciting, modern and flexible projects with both Adobe Commerce and Shopware, and will continue to be a leading partner in Europe and North America, delivering composable solutions for both platforms in the years ahead.  

Today we’re announcing a new partnership with Commerce Layer.  We see this as an exciting and incremental offering for ITG clients, yet again focused on medium sized businesses with complex requirements.  But now with a completely different technological approach… Before we talk about the fundamental difference in technology, and why they matter, let’s answer the question, “who the heck is Commerce Layer?”.

Commerce Layer was founded in 2017 in Tuscany, Italy by Filippo Conforti and Massimo Scardellato, two guys who spent years together at Gucci trying to make monolithic commerce platforms do what Gucci wanted them to do (and struggled).  Side note, if you’re not inspired alone by the idea of Tuscan commerce technology, I’m not really sure what else to tell you here…  Anyway, Filippo and Massimo left Gucci thinking there had to be a better way to do experience led commerce and unable to find it in the marketplace, figured they’d build their own solution.  A short 6 years later and you’ll find 50+ of some of the worlds best online brands using Commerce Layer to power their online businesses.  Companies like Coca Cola, LEGO, Rapha, Big Green Egg and Brioni to name a few.  This is a young, small company that is yet to crack a Forrester Wave or Gartner Magic Quadrant (I’d expect that in 2025 perhaps), but the ability to deliver innovation at scale and speed is what small org’s do best and Commerce Layer is no exception to that.  

So what makes them different from a composable solution from Adobe or Shopware?  Or from any of the other composable solutions available in the marketplace like Commercetools or Elastic Path?  You can read their 8 reasons here, but what ITG sees as unique is how they handle the product catalog.  Simply put, they don’t handle the product catalog at all.  The philosophy (err, perhaps religion) at Commerce Layer is:

“We believe that in order to maximize the benefits of headless, like flexibility, speed, and scalability, merchandising and product discovery should be separated from the commerce platform. That’s why we’ve developed the most powerful and flexible transactional engine, leaving content and catalog management to more specialized tools like a CMS or a Product Information Management (PIM) system that can better support the creative vision of the brand.”

You have to choose a CMS like Contenful, Sanity or DatoCMS to manage the product catalog in a Commerce Layer project.  Or leverage a PIM solution if you have the needs and complexity that warrants that.  This approach is a u-turn in the other direction from every monolithic platform and still uniquely different from other composable solutions too.  Many of us have spent the past two decades watching commerce platforms get bigger, more feature bloated, more complex and more expensive in a battle to be one of the most important key pieces of technology a business will buy.  Commerce Layer is striving to be simply that… The commerce layer.

So here at ITG Commerce we’re excited to see where this new approach goes.  We feel our heritage in Magento, combined with our Shopware offering, and now adding Commerce Layer presents a really compelling portfolio of options, all specifically chosen with one type of client in mind, mid-sized businesses facing complexity.  

We’d love to hear from you on where you see Adobe, Shopware & Commerce Layer fitting into the market today and we’ll keep you posted on our journey in the months ahead.