Headless or API-first content management solutions have been in massive demand as organizations shift from their monolithic architectures and embrace new solutions. These content-driven, API-first solutions offer enterprises top-class functionalities, increased flexibility, scalability, and easy integration into the rest of the software stack.
Yet not every CMS includes the headless capabilities you need to effectively produce and deploy engaging content-driven experiences.
Bloomreach Content is a popular CMS platform that is part of the Bloomreach Experience Cloud, and many organizations choose it due to its commerce-driven use cases. However, this commerce-focused functionality means that it may not be suitable for a variety of enterprise use cases, and as a legacy platform, it may not provide all the API-driven capabilities of a modern headless platform. In this article, we'll look at some of the major drawbacks of Bloomreach and dive deep into an enterprise alternative - CrafterCMS.
What Is Bloomreach Content?
Bloomreach Content is a legacy CMS that combines traditional with some headless capabilities added on. As a commerce-focused platform, Bloomreach Content helps businesses manage their digital storefronts with drag and drop tools, collaboration, and scheduling features.
Bloomreach Content comes as part of the Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud DXP, which includes Bloomreach Discovery for AI-driven search capabilities and Bloomreach Engagement, a CDP and marketing automation solution. Bloomreach integrates with several digital commerce vendors. However, despite its notable features, Bloomreach doesn't come without problems.
Problems With Bloomreach Content
Although many enterprises choose Bloomreach for its commerce capabilities, it has several limitations.
Built for Commerce
Bloomreach Content is a CMS built for commerce. Despite having headless functionality, the content and commerce components of the platform are tightly coupled together. Consequently, Bloomreach is an expert in one vertical, perfect for eCommerce stores but restrictive for everyone else.
Steep Learning Curve
The learning curve for Bloomreach, according to reviews on G2, is extremely steep. Mastering the software requires you to opt for exhaustive training courses, which can be time-consuming. This can be challenging for both content creators who want to publish to different channels and the developers who have to help create the front-end experiences that customers enjoy.
As a growing suite platform, one of the challenges of working with Bloomreach is that the documentation sometimes isn't up-to-date and can be complicated. Some users note that it needs to be more simplified, self-explanatory, and detailed so that users can get the most out of a comprehensive platform.
No Server Side Personalization
Bloomreach lacks server-side personalization to help clients deliver digital experiences directly through their server and not through client-side libraries. Unfortunately, Bloomreach doesn't support tools and processes for server-side rendering.
Limited SPA Functionality
Another issue that Bloomreach suffers from is that it is difficult to build single-page applications (SPAs) as they aren't easily compatible with the platform. For organizations that want to capitalize on the benefits of SPAs, such as improved user experience and faster loading times, then Bloomreach comes up short.
Challenging UX for Users and Developers
Bloomreach lacks a fast-loading intuitive user interface, which can also be difficult for content creators to use. In addition, Bloomreach's ease of use features affects developers, given that integrations (even with other products in the suite) and the overall implementation can be challenging.
Why Enterprises Choose CrafterCMS Over Bloomreach Content
CrafterCMS is an enterprise-ready CMS solution that allows businesses to create faster and more innovative digital experiences. It enables companies to keep up with the demands of modern audiences and future-proof content with a highly flexible, secure, and scalable solution.
It is an API-first, Git-based headless CMS that you can leverage to create and deploy feature-rich, content-driven applications across a variety of digital channels. It offers myriads of intuitive features and a wide range of functionalities, making it a better choice than Bloomreach.
Here are some of the top reasons why CrafterCMS is a better choice for enterprises than Bloomreach Content:
Developer-Friendly, API-First Headless Platform
CrafterCMS provides a true API-first, headless CMS platform as compared to legacy CMSs such as Bloomreach. Moreover, CrafterCMS takes it a step further as it offers a headless "plus" platform. Headless+ refers to a truly developer-friendly platform that allows easy back-end development, seamless API extensibility, faster integrations, a wide variety of content APIs (including HTML templating). Extensible APIs enable developers to integrate third-party software and customize back-end functionality easily, and to deliver server-side rendered applications.
Developers can even extend the backend with Node.js, Next.js, Nuxt.js, Groovy, and even Java (if required). Furthermore, CrafterCMS allows you to create custom APIs to meet the unique application-specific needs and makes integration with third-party tools and other content repositories easier. In addition, the API-first, lightweight, and open-source MACH architecture houses modular packaging and out-of-the-box scripting support to help you build faster and more immersive digital experiences.
Best-in-Class Content Authoring Tools
Content authors and developers need intuitive and robust content creation and content experience tools that are just as easy to use as in traditional CMS, but are now available on a headless platform that works with any frontend technology. CrafterCMS offers an excellent content authoring suite of tools as part of Crafter Studio, including a drag-and-drop experience builder, WYSIWYG content authoring, and in-context previews for every digital touchpoint. It is also a composable platform that can meet content authoring/editing teams' unique and growing requirements.
Multiple Use Cases
While Bloomreach is geared towards eCommerce, CrafterCMS serves as a general content platform that powers a wide range of digital experiences. CrafterCMS runs some of the world's largest eCommerce experiences, but it also runs global enterprise websites, large-scale employee intranets, customer and partner portals, mobile apps, microsites, SPAs, OTT live streaming experiences, digital signage, digital assistants such as Alexa, and more.
Git-Based Content Repository
Git is one of the most widely used version control systems for application source code, and most developers are accustomed to it. CrafterCMS headless architecture goes one step ahead of Bloomreach (and all other database-centric) CMSs by using Git to store and manage content in a single source of truth repository.
CrafterCMS's Git-based and feature-rich platform helps you seamlessly develop and model numerous content-driven digital experiences. It also supports CI/CD/CP (Continuous Integration, Delivery and Publishing) workflows, feature branching, auditing, robust security, better version control, and historical access (and rollback if needed) to all previous content.
DevOps has been used to bridge the gap between developer and operations teams to accelerate the seamless delivery of software applications. However, CrafterCMS takes DevOps to another level by offering support for DevContentOps, integrating content management seamlessly into the DevOps processes. With this, software development teams can create more innovative content-driven software products and digital experiences, without interrupting the content authoring/editing/publishing processes of the business users.
A DevContentOps culture creates a highly collaborative environment where content teams work closely with software development and operations teams to continuously release the latest application features, publish software upgrades, and accelerate digital experiences for customers. Teams are able to collaborate and work in small batches and automate their business-critical workflows by integrating with CI/CD tools and pipelines.
Serverless Content Delivery Architecture
For those enterprises that want to self-host/self-manage their CMS, IT teams often find it daunting to manage servers at scale manually. Serverless architecture resolves the issue of having to manually manage servers, redundancy, scalability, uptime, orchestration, and other tasks critical for modern applications.
CrafterCMS also includes Crafter Engine, which offers native support for Kubernetes and Docker to leverage containers and container orchestrations. It does not require a database. As a result, it can seamlessly deploy large volumes of content at scale through its serverless architecture. Developers can quickly scale applications up or down as per the varying requirements.
And for those enterprises that want a fully-managed SaaS/PaaS solution, CrafterCMS offers Crafter Cloud that fully leverages its serverless architecture to provide a very cost effective turnkey solution.
Open source provides several long term advantages over proprietary software such as Bloomreach. As an open source project, CrafterCMS is an open platform supporting open standards. Consequently, CrafterCMS users and customers benefit from a larger community, a more secure platform, and a much more cost effective investment. Open source is simply a better way to develop and distribute enterprise software, which is why open source adoption within major enterprises continues to grow steadily.
CrafterCMS: Composable Digital Experience Platform for Enterprises
The ability to create highly engaging and visually appealing omnichannel digital experiences for end-users is a critical business goal for most enterprises. Choosing a highly flexible, API-centric, and headless+ platform like CrafterCMS helps enterprises create best-in-class digital experiences of all varieties.
For those looking for a headless CMS for E-Commerce, CrafterCMS meets the demand for DTC, B2B and B2B companies. As one example, Thalia Bücher GmbH used CrafterCMS to increase sales of its 11 million strong inventory of digital and physical products in Europe. Read the Case Study - Thalia Bücher GmbH: CrafterCMS Enables E-Commerce for Bookselling Leader.