How Headless Commerce is Taking Omni-Channel CX to the Next Level
By Dhara Bhatia
According to eMarketer, global ecommerce sales are expected to surpass $6 trillion in 2023 even though consumers aren’t shopping how they used to a few years ago. As ecommerce has become commonplace, the simple process of shopping online from a desktop or laptop is only the tip of the iceberg.
Today’s customer journey is spread across multiple devices as potential buyers check the latest trends using the social media apps on their phones. Then they do further research on a tablet before remembering to tell a smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Alexa to finalize the purchase while doing the dishes.
With the growth in the number of channels, companies will need to adapt their ecommerce strategies to deliver what customers expect today. Adopting a headless CMS and introducing headless commerce could be the answer ecommerce businesses are looking for to elevate the customer experience.
What is Headless Commerce?
Headless commerce is an ecommerce solution where the customer-facing storefront is separated from the ecommerce platform backend. It enables companies to deliver an ecommerce experience on any device by using the same headless architecture as a headless CMS.
With the frontend and backend being separated, they use APIs to communicate instead. These APIs are also responsible for sending content and product information to different channels. By using headless commerce, ecommerce brands can create shopping experiences for smartwatches, in-store digital kiosks, social media apps, and more. Wherever customers browse content and shop, headless commerce enables you to meet them there.
How Does Headless Commerce Work?
APIs are the critical component and provide the improved flexibility that makes headless commerce possible. But to truly understand why they’re such difference makers (and how headless commerce works), we need to first look at how traditional ecommerce platforms function.
The traditional commerce model refers to the all-in-one ecommerce solution. These monolithic platforms have a frontend and backend tightly coupled together. The problem with this approach is that it limits the types of shopping experiences you can create. Your online store options are reduced to a website and maybe a mobile device. For some brands, this can suffice, but with the current demand for customer experiences, it’s not enough.
Another drawback of the traditional approach is that suite solutions can connect to pre-integrated plugins and tools. Still, if a new ecommerce-focused solution arrives tomorrow, it might prove difficult for developers to integrate it into a traditional ecommerce software stack.
That monolithic suite can be broken down into different pieces with headless commerce. The APIs used to connect the frontend and backend can also be used to connect other systems to your ecommerce platform. You can use a headless CMS to manage the frontend experience rather than be limited to the feature-limited one that came with your ecommerce platform. You can also seamlessly integrate a PIM, CRM, analytics tools, a payment gateway, shipping and inventory management software, or any other tools that you need to enhance the customer experience.
Benefits of Headless Commerce
The world of ecommerce is growing increasingly competitive, so brands need every advantage. Here are the benefits of adopting a headless commerce approach:
Faster Time to Market
We mentioned that adopting a new ecommerce solution tomorrow could be problematic with traditional commerce. Those challenges go away with headless commerce as it allows you to go to market faster with all aspects of your ecommerce strategy. Marketing teams can launch websites and campaigns more quickly, move with more agility and get more done, even if the end goal is to enter an entirely new market or region.
Remember all of those devices that are involved in the customer journey? Those customers expect you to create a seamless experience that appears the same regardless of which device they’re using or the channel they’re browsing. That omni-channel shopping experience is possible with headless commerce as you can deliver content and create a new storefront on any device your customers demand.
Freedom and Flexibility for Developers
Headless commerce provides more freedom and flexibility for developers than traditional commerce approaches. Rather than be tethered to templates that force the shopping experience to look a certain way, developers can freely customize it as they see fit. This also means that developers have the freedom to use the frontend frameworks that are best suited for a particular channel.
Incorporating other software systems is also easier with headless commerce as the ability to use APIs allows developers not to have to spend as much time on customizing integrations. APIs simplify integration and allow communication between the new tool and the eCommerce platform.
Customization of Ecommerce Stack
Due to the smoothness of integrations, it also means that headless commerce provides the added benefit of customization of the ecommerce stack. Most modern ecommerce platforms come with everything you need to run an online store, but that doesn’t mean that the CMS, inventory management, or analytics that comes with your platform is best suited to your needs. Headless commerce allows you to easily integrate your ecommerce platform with other tools, whether they are already part of your tech stack or not.
More Meaningful Customer Experiences
Last but certainly not least is that headless commerce allows your brand to deliver more meaningful customer experiences. You can create unique shopping experiences for different devices and channels and tailor those experiences to your customer’s needs.
Get Started with Headless Commerce and Contentful
Headless commerce is a game-changer for brands that want to enhance the customer experience. However, you need more than just an eCommerce platform to execute it effectively. You also need the support of a modern content platform.
Contentful offers an agile ecommerce solution that can help you implement headless commerce. As an API-first platform, Contentful enables you to launch eCommerce experiences with speed and precision while doing so at scale. You can test and personalize the shopping experience for your customers across multiple channels and touch points, allowing you to optimize that experience to increase conversions for your products.
Contentful can integrate with leading eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and commerce tools or any other tool your business might already be using. You can then tailor product catalogs to different seasons and provide the right messaging to increase the lifetime value of your customers and decrease cart abandonment.
In order to get the most out of Contentful and headless commerce, you also need proper implementation support. Content Bloom is an enterprise digital consultancy and Contentful partner that offers custom development and headless implementation services to help you execute your headless commerce strategy.
Get started on a bespoke system tailored specifically to your business requirements and deliver the omni-channel shopping experiences your customers crave.
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