Headless checkout is the solution to reshape the checkout experience and solve the common problem of cart abandonment for eCommerce retailers.
An evolution of headless commerce; headless checkout literally severs the payment experience from the head of an online store, which allows shoppers to buy from virtually any digital avenue in just one click without the hinderance of redirects, spam or pop-up ads.
From product review pages, emails & newsletters, to sponsored ads and social media outlets like Instagram and Tik-Tok, a headless checkout payment system can be integrated into each of these mediums to enable buyers to complete orders in literally a matter of seconds, without having to be on the eCommerce site itself (whilst the eCommerce site is busying itself with promoting the products across the web).
Headless checkout is revolutionary in the right hands, effectively flipping inbound marketing on its head. It enables sellers to think beyond using traditional marketing and advertising methods like emails and affiliate marketing to drive traffic into a dead-end on their websites (where many carts get left behind).
With HC, sellers can focus on the most important aspect of eCommerce - completing a sale. Cart conversion rates are much higher consumers are able to buy when they first see the product and when it's at their leisure.
A large portion of consumers (72%) purchase a product after viewing a post on social media or sponsored ad. 55% would make the purchase instantly if there was a more integrated way to purchase from the channel they found the product.
Why Headless Checkout?
By decoupling the checkout from the platform, eCommerce stores can streamline the checkout process by transforming any digital user experience into a single transaction experience. This significance means retailers have the power to feature their checkout virtually anywhere, subsequently reducing the site's limitations of maybe only selling solely from the online storefront.
Retailers can now truly turn those "Will I? Won't I?" shopping moments into potential revenue streams on any digital channel, without altering their site's backend functionality or migrating to a new platform.
Headless checkout is a win-win for buyers, sellers and content creators alike within eCommerce.
Consumers get to purchase their items at their leisure from any viable location, sellers are able to generate more revenue than just using their websites, and content creators have an added incentive to sell more products that earn them commissions.
For retailers wondering how to reduce shopping cart abandonment...
Here are some tried and tested headless checkout optimisation examples for a streamlined checkout experience for consumers:
Coordinate your customer's checkout history across each digital channel
Customer checkout history is essential for the headless checkout experience. This includes insights into customer purchase history, browsing history, and purchase location. Understanding what customers are purchasing allows retailers to provide them with more tailored offers that consumers might be interested in while browsing on websites and apps.
The more data that brands collect on their customers, the better they can create a personalised experience.
However, for brands who maybe don't utilise an omnichannel retail model, collecting consumer data from all of the various devices and sale platforms may prove difficult to then create said personalised experiences.
The ideal solution to this issue is that retailers need to be able to sync their customer’s checkout history across all channels so that they can provide them with a seamless personalised experience.
Specify channel-specific checkout journeys
The modern consumer is now surfing multiple channels to buy products. From mobile apps and social media pages to the more traditional desktop website, these channels will mostly provide the same retail experience across each channel.
The benefits of a headless checkout includes the ability to create different checkout experiences across numerous channels, as well as being able to have a single interface for all customers. This simplifies the retail experience for your customers to browse from any location to find what they need because it's all in one channel.
Tailoring checkout experiences by device type and customising checkout journeys as per the customer’s previous interactions and checkout history could significantly increase customer lifetime value/retention.
By connecting customer journeys across all digital channels, implementing a headless checkout facilitates the purchase process when the customer is most engaged with the product.
The predominant cause for cart abandonment is a tedious checkout process with nearly 70% of customers leaving their carts at checkout for that very reason.
Consumers resent spending a long time creating mandatory accounts and long-winded personal information, payment, and delivery forms. Regardless of the value on offer or deals provided, the majority of consumers will abandon the checkout process if it's not a seamless experience.
BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) is still as important as ever
A staple of modern retail and one of the best advantages of headless checkout, BOPIS is a fundamental customer experience for retail stores. It provides customers the convenience of picking up items at their local shop whilst simultaneously providing retailers the opportunity to increase cart conversion rates. Our retail whitepaper confirmed that customers are more likely to buy when they can see and touch an item, so BOPIS is an effective method of providing that opportunity at a consumers leisure.
The BOPIS experience is one of the best headless checkout optimisation ideas because it provides a seamless user experience across online and offline channels. Consumers don't have to worry about going into a store and waiting in line, or getting home and then going back to the store for pickup.
Innovate with lightning deals and super-fast checkouts
Arguably, the fundamental cause of shopping cart abandonment is simply because it takes too long. If customers figure they won't be able to complete their checkout quickly, they will leave the website/app.
It's perfectly achievable to optimise the process of buying products, removing the need for customers to wait in long queues or grab their payment cards. The most-efficient way to accomplish this is by making every touchpoint part of your brand's checkout 'experience', without depending on the traditional eCommerce platforms.
This means that you'll need to promote the opportunity to buy on every device and on each webpage of your desktop site. Creating innovative products or 'lightning' deals that eliminate the need for checkout altogether, with the aid of one-click checkouts or on social media & product review pages.
A/B test multiple checkouts without disrupting the backend
Optimising a checkout journey in a shopping cart can be challenging. Retailers must ensure that the customer has a streamlined journey, but it also needs to be a manageable process internal staff.
One method to action this is with A/B testing. In this process, two variations of the checkout process are created and tested against each other randomly with a split of traffic going from one or the other. The test can be performed without affecting backend functionality by simply sending shoppers from the homepage to the variation they were randomly assigned to at the checkout stage.
Headless checkout optimisation is most effective when you're enhancing the user experience without changing the backend system. This means that you can A/B test multiple checkouts without affecting your backend, which allows significant flexibility to experiment with different checkout steps.
Keep in mind that when testing, focus on the user's needs. It will be quite obvious when a test is successful by watching for changes in conversion rates over time, but consider all factors when making decisions. Liaise with your backend development team to determine any hardships they might face for varying A/B tests of frontend experiences.
There are several digital customer touchpoints that will redefine commerce and can only be wielded via by headless commerce.
If brands decide 'off with their heads!', then they'll be able to identify and add a smooth checkout experience at digital touchpoints where consumers are most engaged with retailers within their retail journey. This provides consumers with multiple choices, placing them at the forefront of any purchasing decisions, subsequently leading to an increase in shopping cart conversion rates and providing valuable customer LTV/retention.
Are you wondering "How does Headless Commerce work?"
Well, firstly, it’s important to evaluate if Headless Commerce is the right solution for your business. Outline the foundations of what you want to achieve, and if headless commerce meets those needs then it can facilitate a brand-new, agile, and flexible platform that can achieve sustainable business growth.
To learn more, check out our Quickstart Guide to Headless Commerce here.