As an e-commerce business owner, I’m sure you’re always concerned about personalizing your customer’s experiences so they can have a homogeneous shopping experience across multiple channels. These days, online shopping is not limited to laptops and mobile phones. People are also placing orders from smart speakers and even smartwatches. That’s why it’s crucial for you to identify recent technological trends and transform your business model to utilize these advancements and reap the benefits.
If you want to invest in better technology for your e-commerce business, you’re not alone. According to Digital Commerce 360, 76% of retailers are interested in spending more on technological advancements over the next year. Business owners who intend to switch e-commerce platforms are willing to spend between $25,001 and $500,000 on their projects.
It’s quite possible that you want your company’s presence wherever your customers are, but you’re unsure how to build the right back-end solutions. You’re also unsure how you will manage the front end of your business on multiple channels simultaneously. The solution is simple: go headless.
Headless solutions will not only enable you to have an omnichannel presence, but you will also have unrestricted freedom to customize the front end and back end of your e-commerce business. But before we discuss why you should adopt headless technology, let me first explain how it works and how it differs from traditional commerce.
Headless E-Commerce: What Is It and How It Differs from Traditional Commerce
As I mentioned before, headless e-commerce solutions allow you to decouple the front end of your business (website, mobile app, or other E-commerce platforms) from the back-end infrastructure (pricing, inventory, or security) that powers a customer’s shopping experience.
That means you can use the technology of your preference to offer a premium-quality content experience on the front end and then integrate a suitable solution to manage all the back-end e-commerce functionalities. You can connect the two using Application Programming Interfaces, commonly known as APIs.
If you have been using a traditional e-commerce platform, you know it is impossible to change anything on the front end without affecting the back end. There are a lot of restrictions when it comes to creative control, and any change requires substantial time and cost investment. If you have multiple customer touchpoints, you must manage the changes across all channels, which adds time and cost to the project.
Headless e-commerce platforms enable you to build tailored tech stacks based on your specifications using APIs. You can use the APIs to connect multiple applications within your organization, which makes integration more efficient. Unlike traditional e-commerce platforms, you can scale up your operations seamlessly by modifying each component independently.
Accomplishing an e-commerce migration is not an easy feat. WPWakanda notes that migration can be critical if you have a complex e-commerce website. You have to ensure that the SEO settings of your website remain unchanged. However, with headless development, this can be achieved with a pre and post migration checklist, proper 301 redirects, and uploading the XML sitemap to Google Search Console.
Now that we have an idea of how headless architecture works, let’s talk about why you should consider the shift.
Benefits of Headless E-commerce
Whether or not you need a headless architecture for your e-commerce business will depend on your requirements. If you have just started the company and want quick wins in the early stages, traditional e-commerce platforms with multiple built-in front-end and back-end functionalities can help you launch your business quickly. But if you have plans to scale up soon, these platforms may limit that, and you’ll need a headless solution to achieve your goals.
Unlimited Customisation to Maximise Conversions
Unlike traditional e-commerce solutions, you are not restricted to creating only one type of front-end for your back-end functions. Since the back end is not connected with the front end directly, you can easily change the content layer without any risk of disrupting the underlying infrastructure. That means you have the complete freedom to create content on various channels that can provide a personalized experience to your target market.
In a headless e-commerce architecture, you can create centrally optimized content and APIs and deliver them anywhere for a better customer experience, leading to more conversions. Headless solutions also eliminate information silos by centralizing customer data, such as personal information or purchase history. That way, customers can access the information across multiple channels for a seamless purchasing experience.
All this accumulation of data also enables the system to analyze the information so it can customize product recommendations, promotional offers, and related content for better conversion rates. A headless architecture enables you to build customized experiences for your customers from scratch while enabling you to make changes whenever you want.
As an e-commerce business owner, you are responsible for protecting a lot of sensitive data. With traditional e-commerce platforms, hackers can gain access to that information easily because all that information is stored in one location in your database. Even though you might have adequate security measures in place, it is still not foolproof.
With headless e-commerce, all the sensitive information can be stored in shopper APIs and accessed with proper identity verification. You can use Shoper Login and API Access Services (SLAS) with cloud-based software for better access security. You can even include multiple security and authentication solutions to ensure that sensitive information remains safe.
Don’t worry; it won’t give your customers any trouble logging in. They will be able to shop from anywhere on any device of their choice using multiple OAuth and OIDC login procedures. The headless solution will also allow your security system to build proxies based on previous transactions using a Trusted Agent on Behalf (TAOB) authorization method.
You can also control the runtime of your storefront with a reliable solution that automatically monitors activities and reduces the chances of DDOS attacks. You can even implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF) so that hackers can’t get access to sensitive information stored in your back end.
Ease of Software Integration
When you use a headless solution for your e-commerce business, you can connect different kinds of tools via APIs. Different software platforms can communicate with each other using APIs for seamless data transfers. You can take advantage of this adaptability to decide what kind of data you want to process and how you want to present it to your customers.
For example, traditional e-commerce platforms are restricted to using monolithic chatbots with limited capabilities. However, using a headless platform empowers you to use AI-powered customer service solutions that use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide more humanlike responses to your customers.
A conversationally oriented headless enterprise development will enable you to have customized customer service responses that are better equipped to solve problems, thus elevating your clients’ experience. You can implement GPT-4 or Llama2 API to answer your customer queries.
Conversational AI can do so much more than just answer customer queries. It can also suggest products or discounts based on their interaction with the consumer. AI-powered chatbots can even suggest promotional offers in certain situations, such as when a customer is abandoning the shopping cart.
That’s why business implementations of ChatGPT have increased so much that the parent company, OpenAI, is expected to generate a revenue of $1 billion in 2024, as opposed to a mere $10 million in 2022.
People often carry out their shopping journey on multiple digital platforms, such as mobile phones, laptops, smart speakers, or smartwatches, and expect a consistent end-to-end purchase experience. According to Business Wire, 65% of Americans expect more from their online shopping experience than before the pandemic. If we isolate those in the age bracket of 35-44 years, the percentage rises to 77%.
Some traditional e-commerce platforms might assure omnichannel presence, but you will be stuck if they do not support a particular online sales channel. However, if you use a headless architecture, you can create the front end for a new sales channel anytime you want.
A development team can use a headless Content Management System (CMS) to create a front-end interface that optimizes your consumers’ multichannel engagement and improves conversions. The new sales channel can be easily integrated with your back-end functionalities like account management, inventory, billing, and others using APIs.
Ease of Experimentation
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how important it is to experiment with various types of user experiences and pricing strategies in the world of e-commerce. With a traditional e-commerce platform, these experiments can be time-consuming and costly. You might also face some downtime while you implement the changes on both ends of the platform.
That’s why many e-commerce business owners feel discouraged to change things once they are set in place, and they often fall behind their competitors. However, with a reliable headless platform, you can change prices or launch a new product within a few hours. This ability gives you the power to experiment with your business strategies as much as you want and helps you increase your revenue multiple times in a year.
When you use a headless e-commerce platform, you can roll out new products or features whenever you want. You can also introduce different discounts on multiple products to understand which strategy works the best. The platform enables you to customize the theme or page layout of different front-end channels and see which one results in a better customer experience, which can significantly increase your final numbers.
I hope I’ve been able to convince you that embracing a headless architecture for your e-commerce business can be a productive decision with substantial benefits. Staying agile and responsive to emerging technologies is crucial in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Headless platforms empower your e-commerce business to adapt swiftly, deliver exceptional user experiences, and stay ahead in an ever-changing e-commerce ecosystem.