Should Your Business Introduce a Headless Commerce Approach?

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 22 Oct 2019

Retail is currently establishing more new ways to reach its customers – from Instagram shopping to voice commerce, there are endless opportunities to capture a new shopper. However, in order to grab this audience’s attention, a brand has to stay on top of the latest tech. 

For retailers who are wishing to take the next steps to create a unified and streamlined process within their sites, headless commerce may be the way to go.

What is Headless Commerce?

In the simplest terms, headless commerce is the separation of the front end customer touchpoints and the back-end operations that are used to run a business.

These back-end operations include ERP (Enterprise resource planning), core merchandising systems, financial systems and supply chain management. Ultimately, these are the systems that are used to make the business run. They’re designed to be stable, efficient and robust to withstand any changes that are made within the business structure.

A customer touchpoint includes screens, apps and an interface – i.e. it’s whatever customers use to interact with the business and the data. These are not as robust and stable, as they’re the most likely to change over time and transform with the introduction of new technology.

Traditional Commerce: What’s the Difference?

According to BigCommerce, traditional commerce follows the Monolithic commerce structure. “This is where e-commerce first started, back in the days when hardware and software were inextricably linked. For instance, if you buy IBM hardware you must then, therefore, use IBM soware. The industry
has largely since evolved from this model,” explained a spokesperson for BigCommerce. There are upsides to this structure, as BigCommerce points out. “Upsides to a monolithic model are full platform control for the IT department — which may come in handy if an e-commerce strategy or site experience needs extreme customisation.”

Why Headless Commerce?

Sure, your company may run like a well-oiled machine now, but how will it go in five years when everything has changed? If you look at 206, e-commerce was a much different ecosystem to what it is now. Brands are now collaborating with each other for further cut-through, IoT (Internet of Things) and voice commerce are slowly becoming the norm and social media shopping has changed customer shopping habits.

Headless commerce ais to connect customer touchpoints to the core operational systems in a way that can work well with evolving and metamorphic business requirements. This way, an outdated system can be swapped out and changed without damaging the internal structure of the business in the long run.

The Benefits:

There are plenty of benefits of introducing headless commerce to your business, but there are also some key points you must be aware of before investing.

  1. More flexibility and money-saving tactics for developers
  2. Marketing effectiveness for innovation
  3. More customisation and personalisation
  4. Speed to market
  5. Increased conversion rates

It’s easy to replace outdated business architecture: headless commerce aims to substitute components of the architecture of the systems that need replacing. Headless commerce offers the ability to add and remove new touchpoints for customers. Whether it’s the IoT, voice commerce or social media, this enables flexible architecture for a business in the future. It’s easier to build logic for the individual operating system that exists. As an example, if a brand is trying a new innovation in its business model, headless commerce can orchestrate these logics within the core operating system and tie multiple systems together. There is an opportunity to try new innovations and tech. As previously mentioned, there is new tech for brands to embrace and changing customer expectations – using headless commerce aids in the freedom and flexibility that retailers need to establish a change in tech.

With any new technology, there are certain aspects that a brand has to consider before introducing it to their system. To start with, if you’re pitching this idea to someone in the business, make sure you have the end goal in mind.

It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another to have a well-thought-out execution plan. Make sure anything you’re adding into your environment has the ability to scale, as well as having the opportunity to create revenue-generating ideas. Another aspect to consider is making sure your brand has the ability to connect all of the different operational systems together. This should be easy to orchestrate the processes and track the data in real-time.

Finally, the most important aspect to consider before incorporating headless commerce into a business is making sure the technology you have isn’t locked in. No one can tell you what is going to happen in the future, so if you have a locked-in operational system and front end, you may be doing your business a detriment by not allowing flexibility.

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