Five Reasons Commerce’s Future Is Headless

  • February 17, 2020 at 9:02 AM EST
  • By Jay Stotz, Springboard Retail
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It is wrong to think of “commerce” as one destination, nor just one concept. Commerce is content, virality, leverage, microservices and cloud-native. This rethink should not surprise as one-fifth of the population worldwide shops online, with e-Commerce sales expected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021.

Destination commerce no longer suffices, as brands are quickly finding that they need to be able to pivot quickly and adapt to rapidly changing trends. This is why many outlets are implementing “headless” commerce strategies — where brands create seamless and compelling digital experiences across devices and platforms.

Let’s explore five reasons why the future of commerce is everywhere and anywhere.

Front End Experimentation

The explosion of devices means that brands need to experiment quickly with front end designs and optimized customer experiences. This is only made possible through headless platforms; as traditional commerce architecture forces designers to modify both front end and back end code simultaneously.

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This does not make sense in today’s digital-first world. Headless commerce, meanwhile, boasts an architecture where the front end is decoupled from the back end and they both are able to function independently.

Such an architecture makes it possible to add touch points without building a business case for a new back end every time you want to add a new front end. This opens the door to receive feedback, test more effectively and optimize UX for best results.

Compelling Customer Experiences

Brands are no longer one platform or one outlet: their identities must seamlessly cross all devices using content and commerce capabilities.

Customers today do not look at brands as having separate channels — rather, they evaluate the overall experience. Being present in those intent-rich moments when users turn to their devices to research or to buy makes all the difference. The better the combination of content and commerce capabilities, the better the user experience.

For example, research from Harvard Business Review reveals that 73% of consumers use more than one channel during their shopping journey. Additionally, omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.

Headless commerce allows for more integrations, which helps break down silos in consumer-facing operations.

Leveraging Real-Time Trends

Speed is the aim of the game in today’s digital world. Trends come and go, and brands must be nimble enough to pivot with their audience. Again, the versatility of headless commerce makes this possible.

Brands need to leverage data and move quickly to experiment with different trends. Further, they need to be able to measure effectiveness to drive the business metrics. Real-time data is key here, and unlocking such data to drive decisions offers the best chance for success.

Seamlessly Scale

With trends come traffic. Retailers must be prepared to handle visitor surges during busy times of the year. Thankfully, headless commerce has this covered.

Decoupling the front end from the back end makes this possible. For example, independent parts enable front end and back end developer teams to work at the same time. This way, the front end can be scaled independently, so that even if it receives a surge of traffic, it doesn’t impact the back end. The best part is retailers then have the ability to push seasonal promotions and real-time marketing quickly and easily.

Growth, Growth, Growth

The final, yet likely biggest, indication that the future is headless is the sheer number of businesses migrating to the structure. E-Commerce players big and small are staying on top of this digital trend by embracing headless commerce that allows them to deliver relevant experiences to their audience.

This should be considered alongside the fact that customers are buying experiences, not just products. According to a study, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Knowing that 87% of shoppers now begin product searches online, companies that want to stay in the game must prioritize delivering top-notch shopping experiences.

Headless commerce offers this and much more. Destination-driven commerce no longer serves the needs of brands and retailers who need to quickly experiment and catch trends. A separate content and commerce experience no longer cuts it in the digital landscape. The platform needs to be tightly integrated to build compelling, seamless content commerce experiences. This architecture allows for the creation of customized experiences for every context, screen and device. Totality is key for the coming decade, and totality is headless commerce.


Jay Stotz is Co-Founder and CTO at Springboard Retail.

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