Software July 20, 2021
Powering the Next Wave of Digital Commerce: Our Investment in Fabric
In the past few decades, digital commerce has grown at an extraordinary rate, and this growth has only been accelerated by Covid-19. Companies of all sizes, whether they sell to other businesses or directly to consumers, have recognized the importance of selling online and providing excellent customer experiences. While there are many platforms designed for businesses looking to sell digitally, they are often built on 15+ year old monolithic technology which limit merchants’ abilities to easily customize their ecommerce sites and deliver the type of experiences their customers have come to expect. For smaller businesses, Shopify is great for setting up stores, but merchants lack the ability to deeply customize the look and feel of their storefronts or deviate away from the simplistic embedded backend functionality. For larger merchants, the dominant platforms provided by the large horizontal software providers are rigid and require lengthy onboarding processes as well as intensive developer resources that dramatically limit a merchant’s ability to move at the pace required in an increasingly digital world.
In recent years, a new type of ecommerce architecture broadly termed ‘headless’ has begun to emerge in order to provide ecommerce merchants with significantly more flexibility, innovation velocity and performance. The basic idea of ‘headless’ is that a website’s frontend (the presentation layer that website visitors interact with) can be disconnected from a website’s backend (the applications that run behind the scenes), unlike in traditional monolithic platforms where the frontend is directly connected to the backend infrastructure. Going ‘headless’ empowers merchants to rapidly make changes to their user experience or their backend applications without re-orienting their entire ecommerce architecture each time. Merchants gain the ability to customize their web experiences to match their brand identity and can separately select backend infrastructure that suits their needs. Many of the very largest online merchants have created their own custom ‘headless’ ecommerce architectures in house over many years, which has given them a competitive advantage in creating high-powered online experiences that can quickly be iterated upon as new technologies and capabilities become available. This modular approach that incorporates many of the best features of modern computing, including cloud-native architectures, feature-rich APIs and fast, efficient microservices has been the bastion of the large-scale digital incumbents that have had the resources to build it all internally for themselves… up until now because of what the team at Fabric has set out to do.
Fabric’s solution is designed specifically to fit the needs of merchants looking for flexible ecommerce architecture without requiring extensive developer resources. Fabric offers a modular solution that is composed of several frontend and backend applications as well as an API layer designed to unify a merchant’s commerce experience across touchpoints. Merchants have the ability to choose any or all of Fabric’s pre-built modules and can easily connect their existing infrastructure to Fabric’s platform. This allows merchants to access best-of-breed applications across their entire technology stack and ends the lengthy re-platforming process that all too often sucks up time and money.
Unlike legacy platforms that have tried to pivot towards a modular approach by refactoring aging platforms, Fabric was designed from the ground up as a composable modular system granting customers extraordinary flexibility. With Fabric, merchants can easily add, switch, or customize any modules that they need (loyalty, PIM, subscriptions, CMS/XM) without requiring costly updates to their entire architecture. Fabric is especially well-suited for the large group of merchants who have outgrown simple platforms like Shopify, but do not want to devote enormous internal resources to creating their own ecommerce architecture or replatforming to a legacy system. With several notable customers already up and running, Fabric is well on its way to becoming the leading ecommerce product suite for merchants of all sizes looking for flexible and powerful ecommerce architecture.
Fabric’s solution is designed specifically to fit the needs of merchants looking for flexible ecommerce architecture without requiring extensive developer resources.
Stripes Invests in Fabric’s Series B:
When we first met Faisal and the Fabric team, we were immediately impressed by their experience building best-in-class digital architecture at companies like Amazon, eBay and Staples. They have a deep understanding of the problems with legacy ecommerce infrastructure because they have been operators at both the large-scale digital platforms that have built it themselves as well as the large-scale brands that have had to cobble together inferior technology to try and compete. Said more simply, they know the pain firsthand, and importantly, they actually know the solution. We love their vision to democratize access to best-in-class digital commerce tooling. They are empowering merchants to compete effectively against the digital titans on their terms by leveling the technology playing field and letting everyone focus on what actually matters – exceptional products delivered through amazing user experiences.
Stripes is thrilled to partner with Fabric as they create the first truly modular commerce platform. As we spoke with ecommerce professionals from across industries and business models, we consistently heard about the pitfalls of monolithic platforms as well as the heavy development resources required to manage customized architectures. Folks within and outside of our portfolio were blown away by Fabric’s product as well as their vision to provide a flexible platform that enables access to best-of-breed applications without straining their developer resources. Our investment is an extension of a years-long thesis we have been executing against – we believe the very best brands and retailers are going to need a set of solutions that we think of as the “modern commerce stack” in order to deliver experiences that delight customers. Fabric joins a group of companies we have been fortunate to support over the years, including Fullstory (digital experience intelligence), Sift (digital trust & safety) and Emotive (conversational support and commerce) that we believe make up a critical part of this stack because of their extraordinary products.
We are honored to welcome Fabric to the Stripes family, and we look forward to working alongside the team as they continue building a market defining platform for digital commerce.