The ecommerce industry is booming due to a massive consumer shift to the digital space sparked by COVID-19. According to UN trade and development experts UNCTAD, the global ecommerce sector went through a “dramatic” increase in its share of all retail sales, from 16% to 19% in 2020. To give deeper context into those numbers, a recent McKinsey report shows that in 2020, the global marketplace gained 10 years’ ecommerce acceleration in under three months.
As more customers turn to omnichannel opportunities to purchase the products and services they require, savvy businesses have to recognize the critical pain points cropping up along the shopper journey. And find a way to solve those problems using headless commerce, which allows for versatile flexibility within its decoupled architecture.
A key challenge ecommerce businesses face is aligning technology with the company goals and ensuring there is enough flexibility and agility within that ecosystem to move fast against the competition and reach their customers wherever they make shopping decisions.
Once those businesses are on legacy platforms and start hitting the limitations of what that platform can do, then I think they’re going to start exploring what headless can do for them.
Super charge your digital commerce experience
Businesses looking to level up their ecommerce muscle should work backwards to determine the components of their tech stack requiring the most flexibility, or in need of long-term scalability. Identifying those pain points along the ecommerce backbone can be an insightful exercise before embarking on a shift to headless commerce.
With headless commerce, where the front end is decoupled from the back end, businesses can take advantage of the same commerce system for different online storefronts, maximizing their resources. Also, it makes it easier to edit the visual, design, or content within the store without affecting the commerce layer, or alternatively, optimize your back end functionality and performance without disrupting the touch point experience.
Headless commerce also makes it simpler for brands to use specialized software, vendors, or suitable technologies for the front- and back-end in order to supercharge how functional their digital assets are, both internally and consumer-facing.
You can start building some really powerful experiences using one platform. And the consumer will be able to interact with your brand and not be limited by the technology. That’s the power of what headless commerce provides for your end user.
Businesses that look to upgrade a certain area of their tech stack will favor the option offering more choice and best-in-breed selection. It’s not settling into one brand or one tech solution that actually solves 15 different things. Headless is about how you pick the best of each and put it together.
An elevated checkout, is a converting checkout
Look at the all-important checkout stage in ecommerce. According to research reports, the average ecommerce platform can gain a 35% increase in conversion rates though better checkout page design. Also, usability issues can boost the rate of shopping cart abandonment, a dreaded outcome for any ecommerce store.
If a brand is using a monolithic system, they are usually very restricted in what they can do with the checkout experience. In one way, they’re trapped. But in a headless commerce architecture, that brand can select an app from a wide selection of ecommerce specialists in order to determine which products fits with their objective and functionality.
Headless will allow you to partner up with a team of solution builders, such as Bold. We actually will take care of the core work, the core functionality of the platform, and then the brands can focus on the experiences the customers enjoy.”
The Bold Checkout Experience Suite, for example, has baked-in-functionality and tools giving ecommerce stores an array of versatile solutions to their checkout problems. If businesses are looking to present an upsell opportunity, Bold Checkout offers a feature that creates an upsell offer, and customizes its location and trigger.
A sophisticated approach
To look at one example of a retailer leveraging a headless approach, luxury menswear leader Harry Rosen sought to bring personalized advice and curated looks to life online called for a flexible, open architecture that would allow the brand to weave technology solutions together — including content, search, loyalty, commerce capabilities, and more.
By opting for a best-in-breed model, they can now integrate the latest technologies and trends as they come up to build commerce-enabled experiences that meet their customers where they already are — mobile devices, social media, voice commerce, and any new technology the future of commerce invites to the world of luxury menswear. Harry Rosen also recognized the value of limiting the number of solutions they worked with, ultimately aiming for a lean and manageable tech stack.
Identifying the role of checkout going far beyond transacting payment, they sought to deepen the opportunity to create a convenient, frictionless experience—a foundational element to their operations and value propositions.
They soon realized this framework provided speed to market, impressive flexibility, and improved quality and performance, while also working towards future-proofing their business.
What worked for Harry Rosen, though, may not work for your brand. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the business problems that you are trying to solve. From there you can press into whether headless will solve for the challenges you face. I see so many people signing up to ecommerce platforms and then realizing two, three, four months into the build that it doesn’t solve their business case. Put those problems on paper, and determine what are all of the solutions, the processes, the integrations that you need to solve for. Start there and then begin a conversation about shifting into the headless commerce ecosystem.
Special thanks to our friends at Bold Commerce for their insights on this topic.