As new customer experience touchpoints emerge and shopper expectations evolve, e-commerce is the last place any company can afford to lose flexibility and agility. To continuously improve existing touchpoints, adopt emerging ones, and provide a unified brand experience across them all, retailers must separate the customer-facing experience from all underlying business logic with a customer-centric, headless commerce approach. To achieve this, commerce and content systems need to be separated from the front-end and connected directly to all customer touchpoints through APIs. An API-oriented approach enables retailers and brands to quickly insert commerce and content functionality into any touchpoint and deliver a seamless, consistent brand experience.
Enterprise eCommerce platform like Salesforce Commerce Cloud is helping make this approach possible by providing comprehensive API capabilities that allow integration with touchpoints such as mobile apps, smart devices, IoT and more.
What is it?
Headless e-Commerce is where your commerce engine sits in the background but does not power your customer experience directly. Fundamentally, this means separating the frontend and backend layers of any application and having them communicate with each other via an API. From a technological point of view, this makes perfect sense, especially in the context of the fast-changing user behavior we see in today’s commerce. If customers use different frontends or devices, let’s just put a different head on the same backend and we’re good to go. This headless approach utilizes API calls to push and pull content from the backend to multiple platforms including IoT devices such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Watch, mobile apps, and web-based applications.
Generally, headless commerce platforms are not responsible for creating the pages for sales transactions but are rather responsible solely for the e-commerce side of the business: integrating with payment processors, managing content for product descriptions, pricing, categories, discounts, and the like.
Benefits of Going Headless-
There are important business motivations to look at a headless approach.
Using a headless solution, you are independent of monolithic software prescribing how a frontend should be structured. You do not have to stick to a specific templating system or train your employees to follow the exact rules the software vendor laid out. Instead, you can build exactly the right type of user interface from scratch that can meet your business requirements and objectives. You have full control of what happens in the frontend, and you can follow your UX design principles and shape your brand’s identity without having to adhere to a templated layout that makes your sites and apps looks monotonous and unimpressive.
Can Withstand Any Technological Disruption
The API-driven environment of a headless e-Commerce platform can enable you to quickly adapt to the latest innovations that will arise in the IoT- era. It can support new technologies as they arise. When a new device emerges, you can simply retrieve the API, or create your own API, for that new technology and then plug it straight into the headless CMS. Marketing can rapidly onboard new channels and touchpoints. And on the backend, personalization engines and big data analytics can integrate with the commerce system to fuel unique customer experiences. Having this degree of flexibility can help you maintain a competitive advantage.
Because headless commerce systems are API driven, they integrate seamlessly with most other systems, such as ERPs, marketing automation tools, CRMs, CMSs’, and more. Instead of having a plugin that needs to be updated constantly, security patches, and other issues with partial integrations, API driven integrations ensure that data is transferred quickly and easily. Once the integration is set up with a headless commerce platform, it will need not be updated, as APIs allow software platforms to communicate with each other more easily and encourage seamless connections and transfers of data.
Speed and Agility
Having the freedom to experiment, you can implement new user interfaces more quickly instead of installing and then maintaining full stack software. You can make quick changes to your frontend without affecting the backend. What this entails is that you can add new functionalities and integrations in much less time and energy. Due to its decoupled nature, changes can be made to the UI, without having to test all the core logic in the backend. For example, you can make a quick compliance update to your mobile app without having to reboot your system.
Headless commerce can save brands multiple expenses. From hosting to license and maintenance costs of legacy platforms, to managing multiple outlets for commerce, consolidating those technologies into a headless commerce platform can help save resources. Additionally, the approach provides the ability to proactively market and target merchandise more frequently and rapidly at the channel level, allowing for greater customization and reaction to customer segments and behavior.
Why is it important?
Headless Commerce is going to be the standard within a few years. Your main eCommerce website may stay similar to what it is now, powered directly by Commerce Cloud.
There will be so many other touchpoints in your customer experience that could be ‘Commerce Enabled’ if you embraced the Headless model. Selling via social networks, selling inside bespoke mobile apps that you own and ones that you don’t are just a couple of examples.
Any retailer should be planning how their Commerce platform can be used in a Headless fashion. Salesforce Commerce Cloud implementation can drive Headless experiences by using the main component that’s already available and mature, the Commerce Cloud OCAPI (Open Commerce API).
Salesforce Commerce Cloud Solution offers complete B2C, B2B, and B2B2C commerce functionality. They fully support headless use cases and power great experiences across all of your channels. Retailers can build personalized customer experiences, gain the freedom to experiment, increase their agility and scale more efficiently using the headless paradigm.