As headless commerce and composable commerce services are attracting significant attention, marketing leaders and technical teams at companies of all sizes are looking to consider these alternate platform options for the next step in their digital transformation.
For businesses exploring the types of commerce platforms that can enhance their digital transformation path, it’s helpful to review common use cases and challenges described by companies who’ve already made the migration to the next generation of headless commerce platform services.
Let’s dive into some of these use cases, and further unpack the advantages and benefits that a comprehensive headless commerce solution can provide.
Use Case #1: Customized User Experiences
One of the most significant use cases for headless commerce is the ability to create custom user experiences. Headless commerce can enable businesses to provide completely unique front-end experiences for their customers and deliver those experiences across multiple channels. Not only that, the possibilities for creating highly branded layouts, personalized experiences, and even unique storefronts based on purchase history or other data points are endless.
For example, an apparel brand could create a personalized shopping experience for each customer based on their style preferences. Configuring a unique customer data set with profile questions – favorite colors, style, and preferred size – that store individual user data. The technical team is now able to connect with personalized data from logged-in users with matching products and create a product display on the site to highlight those recommendations. Conversion rates are boosted, customer satisfaction increased and the development team has leveraged owned platform data to do it – no external services required.
Headless commerce serves as a solution for businesses that are limited by traditional commerce frameworks or designs that provide very tightly integrated layouts and reduce the opportunity to design and build without limitations.
Use Case #2: Omnichannel Capabilities
It’s no secret – customers are interacting with and buying from businesses through multiple channels and touchpoints whenever they want, and wherever they are. They’re talking to sales reps, meeting at trade shows, visiting websites on multiple devices, and browsing at third-party storefronts. Omnichannel refers to the ability to provide a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels – online, in-store, mobile, and more. With headless commerce, businesses can create a consistent shopping experience across all channels. The API-first approach of headless commerce ensures that eCommerce data is owned and managed in a single commerce engine and pushed out to sales channels.
For example, consider buying online with in-store pickup and the integrations that are required between digital and physical inventories to make that happen. Each store channel has its own physical inventory (or not?), is capable of driving orders, and may rely on separate storefront interfaces. It’s a management nightmare for any organization if the channels are capable of integrating and connecting together.
With a headless platform, you’re putting a strategy in place that predicts the web will not be the only place you will be selling. In fact, you’re likely already selling in more than one channel and those channels aren’t as well integrated as they should be. With a headless infrastructure, leveraging the commerce API across the enterprise allows for growth across sales channels (including new opportunities), but allows for better support and connection between the channels where you’re already selling.
Use Case #3: Optimized Page Delivery & Faster Page Load Times
One of the biggest frustrations for buyers online is slow page load times especially when shopping on mobile environments. Even small delays can reduce conversions across all channels. Frequently, you’ll hear that implementing a headless commerce solution will result in faster load times, however, page speed is only one of the benefits that comes from building more optimized storefronts.
As a result of being able to optimize the front end and shopping experience for all channels, development and technical teams are able to remove features and capabilities (and all the code that powers them) if they’re not being used. In other words, developers get a chance to be very selective about how they use a commerce platform. The decision is no longer all-or-nothing – it’s a search for the best fit and need.
In the end, companies deliver a front end that only includes the required capabilities and third-party integrations. The selection and usage of modular services delivered by the headless commerce platform allow for efficiency, speed and optimization.
Use Case #4: Scalability and Flexibility
Anyone who has ever run an eCommerce storefront knows that the peaks of the business are often unplanned. From miscalculating order volume to visitor traffic, those surprises can cost a business significantly. The ability to quickly scale, without IT resources, is a key need across the entire enterprise. So how does a business build efficiency across an entire eCommerce application? By planning and scaling the store as the business grows or handling those traffic bursts at peak shopping seasons.
The hosted, on-demand nature of a headless commerce solution combined with the services-led approach delivers that scalability. Removing the hardware and infrastructure requirements when taking advantage of dynamic scaling means no waiting for servers to be installed. Secondly, the services architecture and modular capabilities ensure that each integration, storefront, and interaction between users and eCommerce services are optimized and only asked to do what’s needed.
The analogy that we like to give is that you don’t send a box truck or tractor-trailer to pick up your groceries. Sure, it can do the job but it’s not optimized for it. In the eCommerce application world, you want to leverage the headless commerce service to make optimized requests for performing each task.
Use Case #5: Integration
The most overlooked use case is one which often has the largest business impact – the ability for headless commerce platforms to integrate with other third-party services and systems. While connecting to payment gateways, shipping providers and other traditional services is not new, the opportunity comes from delivering more capability to the technical and developer teams to control what those and other integrations look like.
Without having to worry about degrading performance on the front end or causing issues, developers are given complete freedom to design, create and launch better integration services. Solving business challenges like connecting to inventory, reducing manual intervention, and building connectors to legacy internal applications or completely custom apps is all possible.
Looking past the buzz of headless, composable, or microservices concepts, and focusing on the key benefits and values that new technologies can bring to enterprises helps to provide an answer to “Is headless commerce right for my next eCommerce implementation?” If you’re interested in learning more about how headless commerce can solve your business’s eCommerce challenges, send us a message.
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