Why Headless Commerce is Crucial to Retail Strategies in 2019

By Jordan Sim | 26 Mar 2019

Leading Commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) platforms are increasingly investing in what we refer to as a “headless commerce approach,” completely shifting the way retailers can build their online stores and bring their brand experiences to life.

Choosing the right e-commerce platform when taking your business online used to be a simple decision for merchants. Retailers had to pick between platforms that each held individual strengths in content, commerce capabilities or customer experience — meaning merchants were forced to prioritise one area for their online store, hoping that the particular platform had the capabilities to accommodate the other two areas. But as the industry evolved, and consumer expectations increased, choosing between content, commerce and experience became a major merchant pain point. More than ever, merchants saw a need to invest equally in the back-ends of their websites and the presentation layer where their customers interacted with them — and were no longer willing to compromise between the two.

Headless commerce, which has developed significantly in recent years, simply refers to the act of decoupling the front and back-end of a website. By doing that, merchants no longer have to choose between which component to invest in, and can finally achieve the best of both worlds — staying true to brand expression while still managing commerce capabilities for their online stores.

Increased Freedom Equals Increased Growth
As technology evolves to meet the growing expectations of the consumer, there have never been more opportunities for retailers to connect with audiences from around the world. It’s no longer enough for retailers to operate from a single web-storefront — offering omnichannel paths is now essential for retail success online. Before headless, it was problematic for retailers to execute consistency across multiple stores on multiple platforms, slowing opportunities for growth into new channels and geographies. The openness of going headless frees up time and energy, empowering retailers to move and scale quicker than competitors. With headless, retailers have the agility to move across a content management system (CMS) like WordPress with the security of an e-commerce platform, ultimately enabling the support of long-term growth.

It’s All About the Experience

Delivering a truly customer-focused experience from the initial browsing stage to the final checkout is crucial in retaining customer loyalty and standing out from the competition. Engaging the customer in a memorable way is key to influencing their decision to make a purchase with you over a competitor. The crown jewel of a headless solution is that retailers can deliver unparalleled content and user experiences while still effectively covering priorities like security, inventory management, order fulfilment and points of sale from the back engine. Having seamless accessibility between the commerce layer and engagement layer allows retailers to focus on personalising the shopping experience for their customers.

Building Relationships That Last

To outrun the retail rat-race, personalising the customer journey is key to building relationships that last. We’ve moved beyond the era where interactions between brands and consumers are purely transactional — customers are looking to establish long lasting relationships with brands they trust. A successful brand like FireWire Surfboards invests in headless to create immersive content-forward experiences that they know their surfers will love. In doing so, FireWire has completed its ‘content forward experience’ with a fast and secure checkout/commerce platform. Something as simple as improving the performance of the online storefront to elevate a user’s experience can help create deeper and more sustained relationships — giving all the more reason for customers to come back to the brand time and time again.

While it is still possible to achieve a great front-end experience without a headless architecture, as the market and consumers continue to evolve, retailers not putting the time to invest will find it difficult and expensive to transform their digital presence over time. Needless to say, headless commerce is where the future of e-commerce is moving. It achieves the best of content and commerce like never before, empowering retailers to become more nimble with customisation, scaling growth and an optimal solution to increase e-commerce innovation and revenue.

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