Scale Your Brand With the Help of Headless eCommerce

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What if you could create a dynamic digital storefront that enhanced your customer's experience, increased sales and simplified backend technical features?

It may sound too good to be true, but a headless eCommerce solution could provide your brand with these key benefits and much more. Here’s the bad news.

In 2020, Yottaa conducted a survey of eCommerce leaders and found out 61% had already implemented headless architecture or planned to in the coming year.

That means if you don’t have a headless storefront or even thought about it, you’re likely behind the competition. Choosing to adopt a headless eCommerce solution can be a tough decision with some of the attached costs.

In this article, we will examine the key points to consider, the major benefits and provide a guide to help you get started if headless commerce is right for you.

Key Indicators For Headless eCommerce:

  • • Revenue has reached $10mm per year
  • • Need flexibility and optimization across different platforms
  • • Customer’s buying experience demands improvement

 

What Is a Headless eCommerce Solution?

A headless eCommerce solution separates the backend from the frontend. This separation allows you to design a high-performing website for customers on one platform and use a different platform for backend business operations.

Examples of Frontend vs. Backend Activities

Frontend (customer-facing)

  • • Shopping for products through catalog
  • • Adding products to your store’s cart
  • • Making a purchase

Backend (employee-facing)

  • • Processing orders
  • • Managing inventory and updating product catalog
  • • Payment processing

 

What’s the Difference Between Headless eCommerce and Traditional eCommerce Platforms?

Many traditional eCommerce platforms lack high-performance, limit creative design elements and hinder technical capabilities.

Most of the problems stem from the frontend and backend being tightly coupled together. Other issues arise from the restrictions imposed by certain storefront templates or layouts.

With a headless eCommerce platform, your capabilities significantly increase in the areas mentioned above. Take a look below at some of the key differences.

Key Differences

Traditional eCommerce: 

  • • Programming edits to the frontend and backend are very time-consuming
  • • Too many programming edits could void the site’s warranties
  • • Customer and administrator’s experience predetermined by existing functionality
  • • The platform’s capabilities limit customization and personalization

Headless eCommerce:

  • • Customizable UX design for unique customer experience
  • • API calls eliminate the need to modify backend systems
  • • Enhanced buying experience with intuitive checkout carts to drive conversions
  • • Marketing customizations and personalization only limited to your imagination

 

What Are the Main Benefits of a Headless eCommerce Platform?

A headless storefront's visual appeal and interactivity help deliver a unique customer experience, increase your brand's perceived value and drive conversions home. In this next section, we will take a deeper look at the key features that can help you achieve these benefits.

Simplified Content Management System (CMS)

If you want to make changes to your content on a traditional eCommerce platform, you’ll need the help of developers to update the frontend and backend. This can take weeks or even months to get done. You don’t have that kind of time.

A headless frontend allows someone with a non-technical background to implement changes without the need for programming quickly.

They can drag and drop sections, create new landing pages or customize your storefront without changing anything on the backend.

This allows you to implement marketing campaigns, optimize the customer experience and keep backend business systems running smoothly.

Improved Mobile Experience

According to Statista, mobile eCommerce reached $1.4 trillion in 2017, with projected growth hitting $3.5 trillion in 2021. With these stats, you must have an optimized mobile experience for your customers.

We wouldn’t suggest building an app either. A study by eMarketer found that customers spend an average of just 3 minutes per month on native retail apps.

A headless eCommerce solution can optimize your storefront for mobile to deliver an app-like experience for your customers. 

Build a Unique Digital Brand

Creating a memorable customer experience is a great way to make your brand stand out in a crowded digital marketplace. 

But, traditional eCommerce platforms make it hard to customize your online store. The result? You get a cookie-cutter storefront that looks like your competitors.

A headless frontend gives you the ability to create a unique brand experience with customized visuals, original fonts and rich merchandising.

The perception of your brand’s value increases with these elements and creates an emotional bond between you and your customer.

Scalability

When your brand is growing, you need an eCommerce platform capable of growing with it. Yet, building a new eCommerce frontend that’s compatible with your backend platform could cost you momentum and profits. 

Instead, wouldn’t you rather focus on marketing and increasing revenue to create a positive feedback loop?

Building a headless frontend is faster, eliminates the need for large developer teams and may be more cost-effective than traditional eCommerce platforms. A scalable headless eCommerce solution that can withstand growth sets you up for long-term success.

Increased Loading Speeds and Reduced Tech Debt

Updating a traditional eCommerce platform with new content like videos, images or product pages can slow down your site’s load times.

According to Portent, web conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time (between seconds 0-5). If your site takes more than 5 seconds to load, you just lost 22% of your sales.

SEM Rush found that load times should stay under half a second, while Contentful suggests load times under 2.5 seconds. 

With the frontend and backend decoupled, you can add rich media to your storefront without worrying about the data-heavy backend slowing down your site.

Another problem with traditional eCommerce sites is the accumulation of tech debt. Tech debt (Technical Debt) is using two or more technology tools to accomplish the same function. 

These technologies begin to stack up and can slow down your web page’s loading times even more. Tech debt can also drain your resources, just like financial debt. If you pay for numerous tools to accomplish the same task, your operating costs take a hit.

A complete rebuild with a headless solution might end up being cheaper in the short term and most certainly will cut costs in the long term.

Headless eCommerce eliminates tech debt by allowing you to integrate technology tools specific to your needs.

For example, CareerStep needed a cloud-based eCommerce platform with industry-specific functionality to ensure long-term scalability.

Guidance integrated a BigCommerce headless solution in under 3 months, complete with a customizable checkout and e-course bundling solution. These headless features improved conversion rates and increased average order values (AOVs).

Create a Personalized Customer Experience

Traditional eCommerce platforms are limited in tracking and measuring customer behavior. The inability to collect data can make it hard to create a personalized customer experience.

With a headless eCommerce platform, you can track consumer behavior across your entire store. The headless frontend won’t duplicate data and it can be stored in multiple places to provide your team with accurate insights.

These features are critical if you’re a global brand. If you find customers visiting your site from other countries, you need to create a personalized experience. Let’s take a look at an example.

Fitbit was looking to recapture its global market share in the health and fitness marketplace. But their existing eCommerce platform limited their ability to provide a personalized customer experience in other countries.

With BigCommerce, Guidance helped Fitbit deploy a personalized cart and checkout solution that supports 44 languages across 20+ countries and 14 currencies.

Improved Marketing Capabilities Across Multiple Channels

Mobile phones, smart devices, voice-controlled IoT devices, tech wearables and video game consoles have become ordering platforms. This trend continues to grow at a rapid rate. As consumer technology changes, it can be difficult for a traditional eCommerce platform to adapt.

A headless eCommerce platform allows you to optimize the customer’s experience across all channels without completely overhauling your site. You can develop new transactional touchpoints to increase conversion rates quickly and efficiently.

Another great benefit of a headless eCommerce platform is the ability to tailor your presentation layer with specific marketing content. Since content in a headless CMS isn’t confined to one format, you can deploy it quickly across multiple channels.

For example, if you want to run a time-sensitive flash sale, you can insert your ad content on your site without having to wait on developers.

This reuse of content across multiple platforms is made possible by a digital asset management (DAM) platform or a product information management (PIM) system.

These features unique to a headless frontend can help you build a successful eCommerce strategy across multiple channels.

Use of Any Programming Language or Framework

Many traditional eCommerce platforms limit you to what programming languages you can use to make changes. With a headless eCommerce platform, developers can use their preferred programming language.

This benefit minimizes the time it takes to understand how to use a headless commerce solution. It also helps your developers design a storefront tailored to your customers.

Get Started With a Headless eCommerce Solution

Are you ready to create a memorable experience for your customers? This innovative strategy can help scale your brand and rise above the competition. Follow the steps below to get started.

1. Conduct a Technical Audit With Your Team

  •  
  • • Determine what functionalities your eCommerce platform needs
  • • Think about what you want to achieve and set clear goals
  • • Create a plan of action on how you expect to achieve those goals
  •  

2. Demo the Top Headless eCommerce Developers

  •  
  • • Conduct research to find the top headless eCommerce platforms
  • • Schedule walkthroughs and see if their solution fits with your needs
  • • Ask to see examples of platforms similar to your brand
  •  

3. Choose the Best Fit

  •  
  • • Review your plan of action
  • • Choose the developer that fits your needs
  • • Start the process of building your headless eCommerce platform

 

We Can Be Your Guide

Our past successes give us the experience to help you overcome your challenges. We make the process of converting to a headless eCommerce platform simple and smooth.

Our dynamic solutions can help you create a one-of-a-kind customer experience, not just for today but also for the future. If you’re ready to set your brand up for success, we’re ready to be your guide.

Written by Guidance
Contact Guidance Today

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