The Quickstart Guide to Headless Commerce

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The Quickstart Guide to Headless Commerce

The ‘C’ word changed the dynamic of consumer behaviour forever and the face of eCommerce along with it. Retailers now need to know how and where customers interact with the touchpoints/POS so they can flex their marketing muscles accordingly.

Headless Commerce isn’t new to the game; It’s a hot topic, yet a little misunderstood in the world of eCommerce. We unwrap the basic components of a headless commerce system, including the advantages and key factors to consider prior to severing your architecture into two synchronous-beings.

What is Headless Commerce?

Simply put, Headless Commerce decouples the customer-facing frontend layer of an eCommerce application, from the backend commerce engine. This ‘split-screen’ architecture offers brands the freedom to build an infinitely scalable framework, and ultimately, it enables brands to enhance the customer experience with unparalleled agility.

Cut off one head, two more shall take it's place

 

Headless Commerce expertly crafts APIs and the importance of Experience Management towards catering not just to customers, but the numerous stakeholders rooted within a business. These resources are an essential cog of every business who undertakes Headless Commerce; to deliver new widescale functionality and experiences that engage their customers across multiple touchpoints and identify market projections/changes/trends before they’re in effect to easily manage boardroom expectations.

If eCommerce is the breadwinner of your business, keeping up with the pace of emerging touchpoints and experiences is difficult, especially in a post-pandemic marketplace where consumer demand hasn’t exactly pumped the brakes and legacy brands have seen their online sales hit the billions.

Implementing new digital innovations can render your traditional systems inactive for some time [although, it is possible to completely build a new website along your existing one], which is simply not feasible for many online businesses, and that’s another underlying reason why we have seen a growth in Headless Commerce utilisation. It can manage largescale upheaval much easier than traditional CMS.

Let’s explore some more benefits in detail and why merchants may look to distance themselves from traditional systems to Headless Commerce instead.

Why choose Headless Commerce?

Okay, so Legacy Brands are the retailers who typically wield the power of headless commerce with their fancy Developers and IT teams straight out of Harvard. Admittedly, there is some intricate custom programming required to securely build separate front and backends (and long development periods usually call for specialist teams) but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t have nice things.

If you’re considering cutting off the head of your eCommerce platform, the advantages can accelerate sustainable growth.

Headless Commerce Horseman

 

Reduce Time to Market for eInnovations
One of Headless’ greatest assets is its agility; launching new customer experiences rapidly across their digital channels is essential; as market trends dynamically shift and evolve, so too does consumer expectation and the quicker retailers meet those needs, the better.

Headless Frontend is One-for-All
New technologies and their biblical operational manuals can suddenly entail steep learning curves, but the simplicity of headless commerce counters this issue. Developers, IT staff, administers and content editors alike can easily navigate and update a Headless frontend without needing a degree in computer science.

Realtime instant optimisation
Once new features are uploaded to frontend, those updates are reflected almost instantly. Sites built with traditional commerce architecture, on the other hand, can sometimes take minutes, if not hours, before all users can experience a brand’s latest design.

Rich UX & UI
Able to control all the elements users interact with more easily, brands can get more creative with the content they publish on their websites to provide experimental design. Also, the universal compatibility of headless guarantees your website works seamlessly across all devices and display formats.

The Power Is in Your Hands
With Headless Commerce, retailers will possess the means to build personalised, exclusive experiences for their shoppers through the power of APIs; A well utilised API build will ensure coordinated, brand-consistent experiences across several multimedia channels, driven by conventional services such as promotions, inventory, and product information.

The resulting software should ultimately improve the overall user experience, and subsequently deliver the investing business a noticeable increase in customer satisfaction, be that in reviews, sales, or web-traffic. Be sure to compile the data that reflects any increase, as it will prove invaluable to consumer insights.

D2C will face competition from Wholesalers

As we mentioned earlier, when laying the foundations for growth, it means you’ll need to be able to quickly feed consumer expectations and identify evolving market trends. Whilst BOPIS and BNPL features have now become the norm, there are still curveballs from competitors that retailers will have to address.

For example, even manufacturers (B2B Retailers and Wholesalers) are now peckish for a slice of the Digital Pie. They are cutting out the middleman of B2C, instead pivoting towards selling D2C with the help of quick-start commerce applications.

How to get started with Headless Commerce

It’s important to evaluate if Headless Commerce is the right solution for your business. Determine the foundations of what you want to achieve, and if headless meets those needs then it can facilitate a new, agile, and flexible platform that can achieve sustainable business growth.

Decoupling your system for this new commerce model will require some pre-planning; legacy brands have dedicated, specialist technical teams that can build with speed, but if that’s something your business doesn’t yet possess, then working alongside a Systems Integrator like Sherwen Studios is something you should consider.

Factor in the time to not only implement Headless, but to educate your team regarding its concept. Developers will need to understand the architecture, process, and challenges of migrating from a traditional commerce platform to a headless solution, whilst key stakeholders might need to be informed of the benefits of overhauling the platform. If all parties are aligned on the vision and benefits of the proposed changes, it can positively impact the operation.

The size of your business should also play a part in determining what ‘frontend type’ you choose, along with the ability of your team, number of stores and products that will require migration.

  1. Frontend-as-a-service – The agile method to build, test, run and innovate immersive front-end experiences for businesses looking to stand out. The frontend is ultimately responsible for displaying the right content on the right device.
  2. Digital Experience Platform (DXP) - Reinvents the customer experience with engaging application and content to accelerate growth across all enterprises via data-driven sites, portals, and mobile applications.
  3. Custom Build - Irrefutably the best option when looking to attain maximum individuality within frameworks and tooling. Developers have complete freedom of the build process; able to determine exactly how they build their tech stack.

Wrap

Commerce that is natively built with APIs will provide remarkable flexibility for both front & backend that allow developers to build a coefficient, seamless brand experience across multiple channels established on a single aspect of data.

The flexibility of a decoupled commerce platform ensures that your in-house developers can build with speed and freedom of tools, code, and APIs with third-party integrations.

If you’re looking to craft meaningful, distinct commerce experiences with both front and backend components evolving independently instead of pre-determined monolithic builds, then Headless Commerce can fulfil your needs with its impressive agility and optimise-on-demand system.