Frequently Asked Questions

Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) provides customers with a starting point for web-storefront design. It combines best practices in site design and technical architecture to provide a blueprint for merchants looking to build and customize their ecommerce storefronts. It includes:

  • A JavaScript controllers development and customization model which allows teams to use a model-view-controller (MVC) development pattern.
  • The popular Bootstrap UI framework to optimize the shopping experience across devices.

SFRA was launched in 2018 as a successor to the SiteGensis framework. In 2021, an alternative to SFRA, PWA Kit and Managed Runtime was launched. Talk to your Account Manager to understand which is the best fit for your needs.

Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions...

Are merchants using SiteGenesis required to move to the Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture?

No. Merchants are encouraged to move to the Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture when it is right for them. It should be considered during planned site-redesigns to ensure brands are utilizing the latest and greatest storefront innovation. Merchants who are not ready for a site-redesign can continue to leverage the existing SiteGenesis—a storefront framework trusted across over 2,700 sites. With native responsive design, a codebase fundamental to modifying the entire user experience based on the shopper’s device, merchants can build mobile optimized sites, and many already have. Commerce Cloud provides merchants resources to optimize their existing storefront environments, and plan for future site redesigns, including:

  • Mobile design best practices, based on data-driven insight into more than 2,000 mobile sites. These best practices, such as a persistent search bar and simplified categorization can be implemented today in the existing current reference architecture.
  • Cloud’s Retail Practice team can provide mobile design consultations and heat mapping to allow merchants to optimize their existing storefront environment. Commerce Cloud Practice Accelerators provide best practices on user experience and visual design.

Who is the Storefront Reference Architecture intended for?

The Storefront Reference Architecture provides merchants with the latest mobile optimized design and architecture components for merchants willing to make an investment in site design or redesign. The new storefront architecture is being created with two main audiences in mind:

  • Merchants who are beginning new site implementations with Commerce Cloud.
  • Merchants who are making a major overhaul of their existing storefront.

Use Cases

For merchants who want to take advantage of the Storefront Reference Architecture, do they have to reimplement their entire digital platform?

Merchants do not have to reimplement their digital platform in order to take advantage of the Storefront Reference Architecture. All the pre-existing data, merchant rules, etc. built in Commerce Cloud Digital will remain unaffected. Merchants who choose to implement the Storefront Reference Architecture are able to evolve their storefront while taking advantage a new underlying codebase. Adopting the Storefront Reference Architecture allows brands to maintain their existing backend integrations, customer data, catalog, rules, and the digital capabilities that marketers and merchandisers already know and love.

Merchants typically redesign their sites every 3 to 5 years, so they should plan to incorporate the new reference architecture into their ongoing development process. As site redesigns can be resource heavy, customers are advised to adopt the new architecture at their own pace during evolutionary site redesigns.

What about LINK integrations?

Commerce Cloud is committed to ensuring that the new reference architecture is ecosystem ready, this includes the LINK technology ecosystem. LINK partners have been engaged prior to GA to ensure they have a head-start building cartridges for the Storefront Reference Architecture. Currently there are over 30 LINK technology providers that have integrations into the Storefront Reference Architecture, this includes essential storefront functionality like payments, tax, ratings and reviews, shipping, and more. As merchants leverage a wide variety of LINK cartridges, it is anticipated there will be cartridges that will not be compatible to the new reference architecture by the GA date. When evaluating new site designs or redesigns, merchants and system integrators should check the LINK marketplace for the latest list of certified cartridges.

What is the upgrade path to the Storefront Reference Architecture?

While the reference architecture serves as a blueprint for building a site, customer developers are free to customize and extend the reference architecture code base. Brands are empowered to design “pixel perfect” sites and meticulously build unique web experiences. Developers bring in new code (both custom and community developed), integrate with 3rd party providers, and progressively iterate on their site designs. As a result, merchants completely own their storefront and the underlying code base. The Storefront Reference Architecture introduces a new Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. The new MVC architecture is component based which means that developers can build new components (e.g., features like Wishlist, Apple Pay, Payment Integrations, etc.) and independently plug them into the storefront. This architecture allows for a more lightweight and cleaner codebase allowing for continuous, iterative, and evolutionary site design. As merchants fully own and customize their reference architecture code base, no two sites are identical. Due to that, along with the new architecture, the Storefront Reference Architecture is intended for merchants who are beginning new site implementations or redesigning their existing storefront.

Can I use SiteGenesis and the Storefront Reference Architecture between brands or regions?

Merchants can use the existing SiteGenesis architecture and the new Storefront Reference Architecture across different brands or regions at the same time. For example one brand or region could run on the Storefront Reference Architecture and another brand or region could run on SiteGenesis. However, this may introduce some additional developer operational and code management complexity that merchants should consider.

Is there feature parity between the Storefront Reference Architecture and SiteGenesis?

The Storefront Reference Architecture will GA with with all must-have features needed to build a Commerce Cloud storefront. Developers can begin a new site redesign project with confidence it has the features they need to build a site. Q3 2018 will bring full feature parity. Merchants can expect three additional features coming Q3 2018 including: wish lists, gift registry, gift certificates. Please refer to the Feature List for more information.

What will happen to the roadmap for existing the SiteGenesis platform after the Storefront Reference Architecture is launched?

Commerce Cloud’s best-in-class SiteGenesis architecture is currently being used by over 2,700 Commerce Cloud sites and is a proven foundation to some of the world’s leading brands. SiteGenesis will continue to be supported and receive maintenance for high priority bug fixes and security-related issues—there is no plan to discontinue support. SiteGenesis customers will also continue to receive platform innovation through the Commerce Cloud API layer. Customers can choose to adopt platform innovation into their storefront through the API layer. The new MVC architecture is built for developer efficiency and to accelerate the feature adoption process.

What other tools will be available, and how can I learn about the Storefront Reference Architecture in advance?

There will be tools, documentation, and guidance resources available to help deploy a new site on the Storefront Reference Architecture. Commerce Cloud will also be building wireframe commentary around Storefront Reference Architecture UX enhancements. This commentary will include descriptions of new features, annotations of UX design placement, and statistics supporting design decisions.

Commerce Cloud will be conducting in-house developer training sessions to help with any architectural design questions and many system integrators have already been introduced to the Storefront Reference Architecture and are participating in the developer preview.