As far as buzz terms go in the digital eCommerce Development world, ‘headless commerce’ has truly secured the top spot as one of the most-talked-about trends in the industry this year. The digital landscape has changed so much in the last decade. The rapid rise of smartphone devices means brands need to experiment quickly with front end UI designs to build out optimized customer experiences. But what does headless commerce really mean, and should online retailers and merchants be hopping on this new bandwagon?
So what exactly is headless commerce?: Headless commerce is essentially the conscious uncoupling of the front and back end of an eCommerce solution. When separated and run by 2 different systems is when headless commerce comes into play. In a nutshell, Headless commerce is a content management system (CMS) that stores, manages and delivers content without a front-end delivery layer. This includes CRM, inventory management, mobile commerce, web design, and warehouse fulfillment.
As the customer’s expectations are rising and competition is getting tougher, many retailers are facing the same problems. Businesses now have to create an online experience like no other to bring customers in and the best way to do it is to create valuable content that is easy to find and engaging. 86% of online retailers are facing a rise in customer acquisition cost and having a strategy to get organic traffic is essential. In that case, it also opens up a world of possibility from a client acquisition standpoint, as well as a way to offer more interfaces for e-commerce customers to interact with. A development strategy like headless commerce is a no brainer for content focused brands. For brands that live on CMS platforms, they no longer have to re-platform in order to add e-commerce into their digital experience. You could say a decoupled CMS gives you the best of both worlds—and that’s why we say the future of eCommerce is decoupled.
Why Headless commerce?
- Flexibility along with more customization: Traditional commerce platforms take away the much-need flexibility required to make even the slightest changes. Even small customization can require developers to go deep into the database, which is expensive and time-consuming. With headless commerce, a change in the UI/UX only requires front-end customization and allows the front-end developers to experiment with the interfaces more freely. Reaction Commerce and Moltin are two platforms advocating this approach and opening up their front-end APIs to allow for headless implementations.
- Omni-channel capabilities: First things first, a headless content management system will help propel your content anywhere and everywhere hence its “scalable”. A headless CMS puts omnichannel strategies in the center for customer experience. It has no limitations in pushing your content on different platforms. You can present a completely new channel without heavy customization in the back-end. With a headless setup you can push content from a single content repository to your website, mobile app, Alexa skill, kiosk, and more via API. This eliminates inconsistency across channels and streamlines internal content management.
- Seamless Integration: Headless commerce facilitates seamless integration with any system allowing customers to directly look for products using voice assistance and other technologically advanced programs. Unlike a headless CMS, traditional commerce platforms, on the other hand, require a lot of coding customization in the back-end to achieve this.
- Speed the process: If you do manage to build a multi-channel or omnichannel retail experience with a traditional eCommerce platform, your time to market will be painfully slow, and scaling will be arduous. As mentioned, the decoupled architecture of headless commerce lets you make rapid changes on the front-end without disturbing anything in the back-end and vice versa. Hence, new integrations can be applied easily in a time and cost-effective way.
- Leverages Agile Marketing: A headless commerce system can support new technology as and when they arise. This means that it is perfect for designing new customer experiences. This can really help the marketing team to roll out multiple sites across different brands, divisions, and portfolios.
- Security: Headless commerce further enables better security by storing your customer data separately from the rest of your site data which in-turn helps improve security of your online fashion retail.
Only drawback of headless commerce is that unlike standard eCommerce platforms which come with a single dashboard, you would be moving back and forth between two platforms which can be a pain at times but looking at the benefits it’s a no-brainer.
Example of a headless commerce: You can have your Fashion Retail eCommerce store front WordPress platform but the complete eCommerce or order management can be handled using Magento or Shopify or BigCommerce.
We are now in 2020 where technology is at its peak and content is key in driving customer decisions. Providing the retail customer with a seamless multi-platform experience is the way forward. Online retailers big or small, all are staying on top of this digital trend by embracing headless commerce to deliver relevant experiences. In the modern digital landscape, a separate content and commerce experience no longer cuts it in. The headless commerce architecture allows the creation of a customized experience in terms of context, screen, and the device. Totality is the key to the new decade and totality is Headless Commerce.
If you would like to contribute and share your Fashion eCommerce store front with headless technology as a case study then please feel free to share your story here