Overview of the concepts of Merchant Center customizations.

What are Merchant Center customizations?

Merchant Center customizations are sets of UI tools and components to extend the existing functionality of the Merchant Center.

The Merchant Center is composed of a number of built-in applications that contain functionality to help business users manage their commercetools Projects and data. For example, Products, Orders, and Customers are built-in applications that are available by default to all Projects in the Merchant Center.

You may find that your business needs require additional functionality outside of these built-in applications. In this case, you can extend the Merchant Center by using a customization. Inside your customization, you can add custom functionality based on your specific business requirements. Customizations can connect with Composable Commerce APIs to access resources within your Project and also connect to external services and APIs.

Use case example

Imagine a commerce business that experiences a high volume of orders daily. The merchant wants to streamline their order fulfillment process to reduce shipping times, minimize errors, and improve overall customer satisfaction. In this case, the merchant wants to track and understand the amount of time it takes from order placement to order shipment.

To achieve this, the merchant can create a customization that:

  • integrates with an Order Management System (OMS) to pull real-time data on order processing and fulfillment.
  • visualizes progress on key metrics, such as the processing times for each step in the Order fulfillment process.

Creating this customization within the Merchant Center lets users access the information they need without having to switch between integrations.

Customization types

You can create two types of customizations: Custom Applications and Custom Views. Each customization type provides unique possibilities for adding custom functionality, as well as providing different user experiences within the Merchant Center.

  • Custom Applications: lets you add additional applications with custom functionality to the Merchant Center main menu.

  • Custom Views: lets you add custom functionality in the context of a specific page within a built-in Merchant Center application.

The choice of customization type depends on your use case(s) and how you want to present the functionality to your users.

Custom Applications

Users can access Custom Applications from the Merchant Center main menu alongside the existing built-in applications. A Custom Application is identical to built-in applications in that each application is presented as a standalone resource that encapsulates the custom functionality.

This type of customization is ideal in the following use cases:

  • When you want to add custom functionality that wouldn't fit well within one of the built-in applications.
  • When you need the custom functionality accessible from anywhere in the Merchant Center.
  • When the custom functionality is significant enough to function as an independent resource.

For example, if you wanted to create a separate space to analyze your commerce website's visitor metrics, you could create a Custom Application that integrates with a third-party analytics provider. To open the analytics application, a user selects the application from the main menu.

Custom Views

Users can access Custom Views from within a selected Merchant Center built-in application. A Custom View is presented as an embedded integration in selected places within a built-in application. In this way, the user has access to all the necessary functionality and information that they need without leaving the application context they are working within.

This type of customization is ideal in the following use cases:

  • When the custom functionality enhances the overall usefulness of a built-in application.
  • When you prefer the custom functionality to be accessible only from inside a built-in application.
  • When you want to avoid context switching by keeping the user inside of a built-in application.

For example, if you need additional functionality on the Product List page (within the built-in Products application), you could add a Custom View that is accessible from within the page.

Development and management

Developers can utilize our existing tools to develop and build these customizations. This lets them focus on implementation instead of configuration. With Merchant Center customizations, commercetools provides a seamless user experience via the commercetools Design System and its UI components.

Customizations are developed, managed, and hosted by merchants. Merchants can configure and install customizations into their commercetools Organization(s) while choosing the level of access to their users and Projects.