Once an avid mall rat, Jane Doe is now content to do all her shopping from home. The tech-savvy consumer thinks nothing of toggling between various touch points — be it her mobile device or a web app — to browse and make purchases.
She’s not the only one.
As customers step into the IoT era, supported by smart voice assistants and in-store interfaces, many ecommerce platforms are struggling to keep up with their demands.
But business is on the rise and it’s vital to keep pace.
With CVID-19 accelerating the adoption of online shopping and a merging of lines between the physical and digital world, it is clear that retailers must remain agile and ready for change at the drop of a hat. How can a legacy giant or newbie merchant draw, engage, and retain Jane Doe? Headless ecommerce platforms may be the way out.
What is headless commerce?
This architecture built for the IoT age involves separation of the frontend and backend of an ecommerce application.
The frontend – also called the head, and most often template or theme-based – is decoupled and removed, leaving behind the backend. This lets developers host, render, monitor, scale, and secure your customer-facing site to deliver products, blogs, or reviews to any screen or device.
Without a frontend delivery layer, headless commerce software enables developers to use APIs to set up the backend functionality, including payment processing, order capturing, PCI compliance, content management, and more.
Why should you consider a headless ecommerce solution for your business?
Some of the world’s top brands, including Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Target, Best Buy, Michael Kors, Debenhams, Lancôme, and Eurail, have embraced headless architecture for their ecommerce efforts and transformed their online experiences. Separating the customer-facing frontend and the backend business operations has given them the freedom to continuously iterate, innovate, and improve.
The benefits of headless commerce are many:
To give a personalized customer experience
Traditional platforms offer a predefined, templatized experience for your customer and the administrative user; there’s little or no room for customization. Headless platforms have no frontend, which means developers can create their own UX, and have more control over the look and feel. Salesforce data shows 80 percent of customers say “the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services” – reason enough to separate the front and backends.
To ensure your business is agile
Brands and businesses that want to stay competitive and relevant in today’s fast-changing world need to be agile. Headless commerce enables you to pick up speed by adapting quickly to changing market conditions and technologies. Compare this to traditional, monolithic architecture – simply decoupling the front and backends creates an always-on-the-move organization.
To gain time savings
Opting for headless results in time savings across IT. Developers save time on UI changes by making changes to the frontend quickly and can also put together simple tweaks in minutes. This translates into lesser time to market as businesses can now react to trends and launch new experiences rapidly.
To provide a seamless experience
Technology can’t be the deciding factor for experience; it has to be vice versa. Headless architecture facilitates this by providing a cohesive experience to both sides: customers and the business. On the frontend, it breaks down barriers for customers, offering a unified shopping experience – through discovery, research, and purchase. At the backend, it lets the retailer tailor an online shopping experience that suits the brand’s imagery.
To remove all siloes and scale
Multiple research strengthens the case for data sharing across marketing channels to avoid lost revenue and wasted ad spend. Amidst different channels such as ecommerce, m-com, and voice, it’s important to adopt lucid architecture that offers only one source of truth: customer, order, or inventory. The fact that operations are consolidated, integrated, and speaking to each other ensures a superior customer experience.
Together, all these benefits can ameliorate innovation, scale, and progress.
But is headless for everyone?
Headless commerce isn’t for every business. The challenges include cost (implementing headless is an expensive affair) and technical support (skills and configurability).
But it’s the choice for you if you want a complete system for mobile, ecommerce, and other channels for it will offer a certain consistency across the board.
Headless is what you should aim for if you want an architecture that focuses only on one source of truth. Other indications that you need to go headless: you want more control over the UI, want to expand your commerce channels, and/or want to make your IT team more strategic.
Companies that want particular headless benefits or those that don’t have the resources to go completely headless will do well with a hybrid approach.
Try Salesforce Commerce Cloud
The Salesforce Commerce Cloud powers enterprise cloud commerce for the world’s most innovative brands. The solution enables unified, one-to-one experiences across all points of commerce, including web, mobile, social, and store. Available for B2B and B2C commerce, it lets you arrive at a single source of truth for each customer.
The benefits of creating unified, intelligent ecommerce experiences — online and in store —stand out and will continue to accrue gains over time to come.
Larry Page famously said: “Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change.”
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