Taking the Complexity Out of Composable with Catalyst by BigCommerce

In this episode of Lessons for Tomorrow, Wayne Stratbucker, the BigCommerce Practice Lead at Americaneagle.com, introduces Katie Hoesley from BigCommerce. Katie, the Lead Developer Advocate, has a strong background in developer education, previously teaching at the Air Force and Space Force. She's been with BigCommerce for over two years and is passionate about simplifying ecommerce for developers. This sets the stage for exploring BigCommerce's Catalyst platform, emphasizing how it enables streamlined ecommerce experiences. The focus of this episode is Catalyst's role in simplifying and enhancing ecommerce solutions, aligning with Katie's mission to empower developers and businesses in the digital commerce space.


The Evolution of BigCommerce and Catalyst

BigCommerce's evolution toward Catalyst reflects a significant shift to prioritizing developer experience. Over the past few years, BigCommerce has transitioned to a more open and collaborative approach, actively involving developers in product development. Catalyst, a prominent offering within BigCommerce, exemplifies this shift by engaging developers openly in its creation. Unlike traditional methods of product development, Catalyst is being built alongside developers, with their feedback directly shaping its roadmap. This change has fostered a dynamic community and streamlined the feedback loop, enhancing engagement and responsiveness. It represents a pivotal evolution toward inclusive and developer-centric ecommerce solutions at BigCommerce.

Key Features of Catalyst

Catalyst stands out in the ecommerce landscape due to its unique approach of being built collaboratively with developers. It offers non-prescriptive flexibility, allowing users to adopt or modify integrations according to their preferences. This empowers developers and merchants to embrace composable commerce with ease, simplifying what was traditionally complex and maintenance-heavy. Catalyst makes composable commerce accessible to a wider audience by streamlining upkeep and enhancing usability. BigCommerce's opinionated yet flexible approach ensures that users can leverage recommended solutions while retaining the freedom to tailor the platform to their specific needs — a distinctive feature setting Catalyst apart in the headless ecommerce realm.

How Catalyst Empowers Personalized Experiences

Catalyst enables businesses to create personalized shopping experiences by offering flexibility and customization. It sets up recommended best practices for composable commerce and personalization, yet allows developers to choose alternative solutions that better suit their needs and customers' preferences. BigCommerce emphasizes collaboration with developers and leverages partner expertise to enrich the platform's capabilities. This approach avoids a one-size-fits-all mentality, giving developers and businesses the autonomy to make informed decisions. Catalyst's roadmap is shaped by user feedback, ensuring continuous improvement and alignment with customer needs. This inclusive and responsive approach fosters a unique and dynamic ecommerce environment for creating tailored shopping journeys.

Best Practices for Migrating to Catalyst

Businesses considering migrating to Catalyst can benefit from its open and incremental approach. Catalyst serves as an open-source reference architecture, allowing merchants to adopt features gradually based on their specific needs. Developers can explore and integrate Catalyst's components into existing projects to enhance developer velocity and site performance. This flexibility enables a seamless transition without the need for a complete overhaul. The key is leveraging Catalyst's components and benefits at their own pace, aligning with business objectives and development roadmaps for optimal outcomes in ecommerce enhancement and customer experience.

How Does Catalyst Meet the Demands of Modern Ecommerce?

Catalyst addresses the growing demand for exceptional site performance by prioritizing responsiveness and continuous performance testing. From inception, Catalyst was designed to deliver perfect Lighthouse scores and optimal mobile performance without requiring subsequent optimizations. This approach underscores BigCommerce's commitment to developer experience and site speed. Catalyst's developers have diligently integrated these priorities into its foundation, making it more achievable to attain high-performance standards from the outset. By aligning with these core tenets, Catalyst effectively meets the evolving demands of modern ecommerce, ensuring superior user experiences and streamlined performance.

How Will Catalyst Impact Ecommerce in the Future?

The future of Catalyst in ecommerce is promising and adaptable, driven by continuous iteration and feedback from partners, developers, and merchants. Catalyst's roadmap remains flexible, evolving based on dynamic tech trends and user needs. This responsive approach ensures that Catalyst stays aligned with evolving merchant requirements and developer preferences. As technology landscapes evolve rapidly, BigCommerce remains committed to incorporating user feedback into Catalyst's development, ensuring its relevance and usability for the foreseeable future. This collaborative journey with developers and partners promises to shape Catalyst into an indispensable tool for ecommerce, driven by real-world insights and ongoing dialogue with its user community.

graphic of lessons for tomorrow podcast featuring Katie Hoesley's quote on adaptable development strategies at BigCommerce

How Does Catalyst Support Developers and Web Development Agencies?

BigCommerce's support system for developers and agencies utilizing the Catalyst platform is rooted in open collaboration and responsiveness. By actively seeking feedback from users, including merchants and developers, Catalyst evolves based on real-world insights and user needs. This approach fosters a dynamic environment where businesses can influence the platform's roadmap and contribute to its development. BigCommerce emphasizes the importance of listening to users to build products that align closely with their requirements and preferences. This user-centric strategy not only drives Catalyst's success but also sets a precedent for businesses to prioritize user feedback in shaping their offerings.

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About: The Lessons for Tomorrow podcast is centered around conversations between industry experts sharing insights from the past, to apply in the present, to achieve success in the future. This podcast is the "motivational poster" in your ear; each episode is centered around conversations which motivate you to tackle new initiatives at your organization. We will be talking with some of the best and brightest minds in technology and marketing and will hear from the experts themselves about their latest experiences, their most recent challenges, and the road ahead. Every episode has a different story, a different answer, a different approach.

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About Author

Podcast producer at Americaneagle.com
Bryan Winger is a Podcast Producer with Americaneagle.com. He began his career in broadcasting back in Minnesota, producing for several radio stations and syndicated shows throughout the Twin Cities. He has over 5 years of experience in the broadcasting industry, before joining the team at Americaneagle.com. He enjoys playing golf and hockey, watching football on Sundays, and producing music for fun.

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