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Why Headless Commerce Is the Future of Digital Retail

A team evaluates headless commerce solutions
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  • Why Headless Commerce Is the Future of Digital Retail

See how headless commerce functionality enables your business to optimize ecommerce experiences faster, more cost-effectively and with greater personalization.

Today, online shopping has become ubiquitous, which makes the path to purchase increasingly more complex given the variety of new devices to shop from and the interface requirements for each. When front-end and back-end are connected, web developers struggle with designing personalized experiences and keeping consistency between their general website customer experience and limitations posed by their ecommerce back-end. Headless commerce is the solution.

What is Headless Commerce?

According to a Gartner analysis of headless (also known as composable) commerce, “Headless commerce is a modular approach that requires loosely coupled application capabilities to improve flexibility in composing new commerce functionality and experiences to be more responsive to business needs.” (Shen, 2020)

Using this type of decoupled architecture, developers and designers can adjust the look and feel of their online store, payment processing, order and inventory management, or shipping, without being constrained.

Key Benefits

Personalization: Headless architecture allows developers and key business stakeholders more freedom and control over customizing and personalizing their customer experiences. This is critical when you consider that 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are customized to their specific interests. (SmarterHQ)

Flexibility: The modern customer’s needs and buying habits change quickly, and consumer technology evolves rapidly. By decoupling the front-end from the back-end with headless commerce platform options, changes can be made to the interface experience instantly to improve the customer journey and meet new demands.

More Customization Options: Traditional ecommerce platforms force developers to work within the confines of their systems and limit key business stakeholders in building a truly frictionless experience for their customers. With headless commerce, businesses are not limited by the capabilities of their back-end tools, enabling them to design a completely bespoke interface with their customers in mind.

Greater Speed: Developers and digital marketers save time working within a headless commerce solution. It takes just a front-end developer and simple coding to roll out a new customer touchpoint (such as personalized promotions, discounts, quizzes, and other interactive content), increasing conversions for an online store.

More Omnichannel Sales Opportunities: Traditional ecommerce platforms claim to offer an omnichannel experience but may be slow to adopt the latest digital sales channels. Headless commerce architecture allows your web developers and designers to introduce new sales channels and touchpoints quickly, such as interactive out-of-home signage or kiosks, without having to worry about whether or not the ecommerce platform supports it. Headless commerce allows businesses to adapt to new technology and new channels faster.=

Making Headless Commerce Work for Your Business

Big-box brand Target made the switch to headless commerce when they found, through buyer journey data, that 80% of their customers began their purchasing journey on one device, but finished on another. (SimiCart)

Traditional ecommerce platforms come with their own limitations regarding cross-device purchasing, so headless commerce architecture presented an unbeatable solution to bridge the gap and keep customer experiences consistent across devices.

The Future of Commerce Is Headless

Thanks to a variety of best-of-breed solutions with APIs that allow easy integration, creating your own purpose-built headless ecommerce solution is more accessible than you might think. To get started, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a wider range of APIs and microservices that will enable the ability to effectively decouple the front end and back end of a website.

Selecting API-Enabled Solutions

Being able to pick and choose APIs gives web developers advanced flexibility, allowing them to think past platform limitations when designing. Customer engagement with APIs and microservices hyper-personalizes each interface they receive at every step in their customer journey.

While adopting APIs and microservices may seem daunting, it is important to remember that digital transformation is a process. A 2020 Digital Commerce Report from Gartner recommends that digital transformation leaders create a roadmap to replace their existing ecommerce platform over time, noting that “API-based commerce can be executed with an API layer on top of a monolithic commerce platform.” (Lowndes et al.) This means that business leaders can build on what they already have in place, so long as the ecommerce platform plays well with decoupled, headless commerce capabilities.

Adopting a Headless Commerce Approach with Your Existing eCommerce Platform

For business leaders looking to make the switch, headless commerce solutions are available by integrating a wide variety of plugins for existing ecommerce systems, such as WooCommerce and Shopify.

Business leaders and developers should select plugins from companies that also have API-enabled integrations to other platforms and channels. When designing a roadmap for headless commerce, business leaders should “consider the components you will need to develop to optimize experiences in multiple channels, as today’s customers will frequently bounce from channel to channel during a purchase decision,” according to Gartner. (Lowndes et al.)

Scale Quickly and Strategically Using Headless Commerce

No matter the size of your business, headless commerce can help developers and teams keep up with emerging technologies and digital sales channels without limitations. Headless commerce architecture, APIs and plugins provide web teams with more flexibility, speed and ease when making adjustments to the website front-end. Adopting APIs and microservices can also help you enrich and improve the customer experience everywhere customers interact with your brand.

Ready to Take a Headless Approach to Commerce? Explore Rapyd API-Enabled Solutions to Collect and Disburse Funds Globally.

 

Sources

Lowndes, M., Daigler, J., Shen, S., Gillespie, P., & Dharmasthina, Y. (2020, August 25). Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.

Shen, S. (2020, August 03). Hype Cycle for Digital Commerce, 2020. Gartner. https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3988357/hype-cycle-for-digital-commerce-2020

SimiCart. (2019, February 3). 15 Best Examples of Headless Commerce in 2020. SimiCart. https://www.simicart.com/blog/headless-commerce-examples/

SmarterHQ. (n.d.). 26 Essential Personalization Stats for B2C Marketers. smarterhq.com. https://smarterhq.com/blog/personalization-statistics-roundup

Image by Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

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