As the world of ecommerce changes at a faster rate than ever before, retailers are turning to headless ecommerce strategies to keep up.
What is headless ecommerce?
Headless ecommerce is a way for online retailers and merchants to deliver digital-first, customer-centric shopping experiences.
To explain it in basic terms, headless ecommerce removes the “head” – the front-end template or theme for your website – leaving only the back-end to store, manage, and deliver content. Front-end developers are then free to present content using any framework they want. Since the headless infrastructure decouples the front- and back-end, ecommerce merchants can deliver things like content, products, and payment gateways to more channels than ever before.
The rise of headless ecommerce
Smartphones have revolutionized the ecommerce world. Consumers are using their handheld devices for everything from finding products to placing orders and tracking purchases.
In fact, mobile commerce was predicted to account for 73% of all retail ecommerce sales by 2021. But, with an unpredictable global pandemic sweeping across the world, the growth of mobile commerce is like to exceed all expectations.
While many platforms have invested significant money in creating “mobile optimized” storefronts, slow load times are affecting conversion rates. On top of this, the customer journey itself has changed. Modern shoppers are using social media such as Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration.
For merchants to continue to grow in our new COVID-shaped, digital-first, social media-influenced space, you must deliver high-quality, personalized, mobile-ready shopping experiences.
To meet these demands, software providers have developed headless solutions to empower merchants to deliver the next generation of ecommerce experiences.
Why go headless?
More often than not, traditional all-in-one ecommerce platforms are based on technology from before smartphones and m-commerce changed the retailing game. As a result, dated web content management systems are defining the experience of the customer.
With the front-end and back-end tightly coupled, even simple changes can require long development cycles. With customer demands changing at the drop of a hat, ecommerce marketers need systems that are quick and agile. As traditional ecommerce platforms struggle to keep on top of the list of experience optimizations they need to make, shoppers’ frustrations grow.
Decoupling the front- and back-end gives brands endless opportunities for customization. Plugging in your chosen Progressive Web Application (PWA) enables you to create fast, responsive, and mobile-optimized storefronts, while working seamlessly with your back-end technology suite.
Headless ecommerce is an agile approach that ultimately improves:
- Flexibility and adaptability: you can deliver consistent, seamless experiences across all channels including mobile apps, websites, voice, and in-store.
- Speed and agility: modifications can be made quickly and content is displayed quickly and efficiently by PWAs that improve customer experiences.
- Customization and personalization: since there is no rigid front-end, you’re free to create your own user experiences, exactly how you want them.
- Scalability and optimization: adding new channels and updating customer-facing elements can be done easily and at scale.
Benefits of headless ecommerce
Switching to headless ecommerce can help you meet the Amazon Prime-like experiences customers’ demand in many ways, but here are just a few of our top benefits:
1. Reach customers anywhere and everywhere
With a headless ecommerce management system, you push your content anywhere and everywhere. Wherever your customers are, you’ll never fail to reach them.
You’ll be able to deliver products, product videos, blog posts, and more on any channel, no matter how many new ones emerge. Nothing will be off-limits to you, from email and SMS to Alexa Skills, PWA storefronts, and digital signage.
There’s no need to change the architecture of your platform every time you add a new channel, it’s all part of one headless solution.
2. Keep up with the competition
Being able to deploy rapid updates means you can easily make changes to your front-end to meet changing consumer needs.
The de-coupled nature of a headless ecommerce platform ensures you only have to roll out an update to one part rather than the entire system. With no downtime, you can deliver consistent, up-to-date experiences quickly, helping you remain competitive.
3. Be agile and reactive
Agility is vital for the success of a modern ecommerce brand. During the dramatic shift in consumer behavior brought about by COVID-19, your agile nature and ability to adapt were essential. Headless commerce systems support and improve your brand’s agility.
As customer behaviors change, you can easily adapt experiences to meet their demands. As marketers’, you’re in the driving seat. Setting up new sites and channels can take days, instead of the months required by traditional platforms. Therefore, time to launch a new campaign can be reduced and you can adapt with ease.
4. Deliver personal and consistent customer experiences
While providing you with the tools to be agile and adapt to customers’ changing needs, they still need to receive a consistent customer experience. No matter the channel, no matter the device, consistency is key.
Customers engage more with brands that understand their needs across all channels. With a headless ecommerce system, you can pull customer data and use it across your channels to connect with customers, no matter where they are.
5. Increase conversion rates
With the flexibility of a headless ecommerce system, you can test and optimize key features of the customer experience. This ensures that you’re always providing the best possible experience.
Continuous testing gives you a better understanding of your customers. Using headless ecommerce, you can quickly learn about your customers’ habits, likes, and dislikes and adapt accordingly. The end result: better conversion rates than you’ve ever seen before.
6. Faster time to market
With content, catalogs, and customer data being housed centrally on an independent back-end system, you can focus on building front-end experiences without overhauling the whole system. This means that adding new channels, expanding into new territories, or launching new campaigns can happen faster.
7. Strong and seamless integrations
A headless ecommerce solution connects the de-coupled front-end and back-end via an API. This makes it easier to add more systems and channels to your marketing stack without needing months of development time.
PWA storefronts, marketing automation platforms, and product catalogs can all talk to each other seamlessly. You’ll never miss a chance to connect with customers, delivering relevant and personalized experiences every time.