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Headless Commerce - A Decoupled Architecture for High-Quality User Experiences

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Headless Commerce

In the constantly evolving e-commerce market, businesses are struggling to meet dynamic consumer demands and behavior. Consumers these days use all kinds of touch-points to make purchases—from IoT devices to progressive web apps. Traditional e-commerce platforms fail to cater to these consumers. Headless commerce is a new architecture for high-quality user experiences. It separates the front-end layer of a website from its backend, giving front-end developers more flexibility in designing content without interfering with functionalities on the backend. Headless commerce also gives businesses more agility and flexibility by providing tests and experiments to improve performance. This journal entry will explore what headless commerce means for your brand through the lens of our experiences helping direct-to-consumer businesses.

Online businesses need a platform that's adaptable and flexible and offers seamless integration. Headless e-commerce is one such promising innovation that has been helping companies broaden their window of opportunities. In a survey of online business leaders, 61% of retailers said they would leverage Headless commerce in 2020, while 62% agreed that Headless commerce could significantly improve engagement and conversions.

So what is it that makes Headless commerce a promising innovation? Why do business leaders favor Headless E-commerce? Let us understand the key benefits that Headless e-commerce platforms have to offer.

What is Headless Commerce?

Headless commerce is an architecture that decouples or separates the front-end layer of a website from its backend. Front-end developers can use this architecture to create a high-quality, user-friendly content experience without interfering with the commerce functionalities at the backend. The Headless architecture grants more agility and flexibility by offering immense scope for tests and experiments.

Online businesses have extended the use of Headless architecture for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, security, fraud management, and in crucial inventory management infrastructures such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Information Management (PIM), Order Management System (OMS), and Point of Sale (POS).

What are the Benefits of Headless Commerce?

Brands are increasingly making the switch to Headless commerce, and here are the reasons why:

Headless Commerce paves the way for a true omnichannel experience

Major online brands worldwide aspire to be omnichannel or have one platform to propel their content and deliver their products. A Headless content management system allows sales and marketing teams to drive content anywhere and everywhere.

E-commerce brands can use it to deliver their products, product videos, and blog posts to any channel that currently exists or may emerge in the future. Be it Alexa Skills, digital signages, progressive websites, or even intelligent consumer IoT devices, a single Headless platform can function everywhere.

A native, Headless e-commerce platform uses the same core architecture to publish content across channels. The backend does not have to be re-architected when the channel is added or changes. Only the front-end has to be adapted to suit a channel for a great user experience. The interface will fetch products and place orders on the same single backend with all the commerce functionalities.

Allows brands to remain competitive

A Headless Commerce stack allows DevOps teams to deploy updates to the platform rapidly. If brands sense any change in consumer behavior or buying patterns, they can easily make changes to their front-end and cater to their consumers.

As traditional platforms have a front-end that is tightly coupled to their backend, rolling out an update can be tedious and time-consuming. An e-commerce brand using a conventional platform may roll out an update every few weeks. Let us compare this scenario with a Headless system.

Agile DevOps teams can roll out discrete updates for specific features in a Headless system and not have to plan a massive update between versions on a production upgrade. This benefit allows market leaders like Amazon to deploy an update on an average of every 11.7 seconds. Not only does this help reduce the number and length of outages, but it also helps brands remain competitive by delivering what their consumers want very quickly.

Aids in Agile Marketing

A Headless Commerce system can adapt to new and emerging social networks and technologies as soon as they launch. Designing new consumer experiences grants the marketing teams the power for faster and more personalized outreach. A direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand can roll out products and services on multiple regions and sites spread across different brands, divisions, and portfolios.

The flexibility that Headless commerce systems provide helps deliver quicker roll-outs. Instead of the time lost in setting up the campaign throughout the system upgrade cycle, marketing teams can roll out a new channel in a matter of a few days.

Deliver a personalized and consistent Consumer experience

Consumers can feel more comfortable shopping on a platform designed for a fluid experience. Brands that understand consumer behavior well on every channel can create tailor-made user experiences.

Product recommendations for the next purchase play a vital role in retaining consumers. Since all the purchase data from all channels is stored in one backend, a Headless platform can effectively provide personalization on all channels -- websites, mobile applications, and channels. Providing the proper accessory recommendations and a proactive maintenance routine for all the past purchases across all channels is a great way to connect with consumers.

Marketing teams can also maintain a consistent consumer experience across devices and channels, even if there is a fluctuation in consumer needs. Users tend to familiarize themselves with the presentation of product data, reviews, and check-out options. Since the backend does not have to go through a significant overhaul, consistency is maintained.

Offers Seamless Integration

Every Headless commerce solution relies on an API. The use of API to communicate with other platforms makes Headless commerce much easier to integrate. Once a channel is added - all the data stored in the backend is available to the channel. This allows for more customized experiences and can expand the opportunities and outreach to more consumers in a shorter time.

Traditionally, brands had to spend months integrating their platform to a new channel. Using Headless e-commerce platforms enables brands to do the same task in a matter of just a few hours. This reduces the turnaround time, streamlines the data storage across channels, and helps the brand grow.

Improves Conversion

Headless Commerce platforms grant the freedom to test and try different channels and branding approaches. Growth teams can experiment with various backend search solutions while running the same front-end search page or try multiple user experiences for the same back end.

As the platform allows DevOps teams to run continuous tests and optimization cycles, a marketing team can better understand the consumer and find the best strategy. The continual improvement process can significantly increase the conversion rate, help retain more consumers, and gives brands an edge.

A Headless commerce platform can help the progressive brand adapt to changing consumer needs, market trends, and buying patterns. With the faster, flexible, and adaptable framework that Headless commerce offers, brands can obtain better results and scale to greater heights.

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