What sets your web store apart from the millions that it competes against? Now more than ever, merchants are striving to deliver personalised, user-centred e-commerce experiences, but in many retail verticals, traditional e-commerce platforms are falling at this critical hurdle.
When every other store is powered by the same e-commerce platform, the challenge mounts to differentiate your own from some 12-24 million active competitors. But as new technologies emerge in the market, smaller businesses are gaining crucial access to toolsets once only available to global e-commerce powerhouses.
For the uninitiated, headless commerce describes a type of e-commerce architecture that sees the public-facing front end of a web store decoupled from its functional back end. For more information about how headless e-commerce works, you can read our full guide. But looking beyond the intricacies of this high-tech shopping solution, what are the advantages of headless commerce?
Here, we’ll explore the benefits of headless commerce — and how Simpler checkout can help unlock the potential of headless architecture for your web store.
Headless commerce benefits for your business
Headless commerce is a key variable helping digital-first retailers to transform how they engage with their customer base and adapt to ever-changing market dynamics. Recent data suggests that a total of 57% of e-commerce retailers globally are expected to have adopted headless architecture by 2023, as opportunities for accessible implementation trickle down to SMEs.
For many merchants, the shift provides opportunities that offer a significant competitive advantage. These are some of the top benefits of headless commerce:
1. Support for omnichannel commerce experiences
The digital shopping experience is no longer limited just to purchases made via your desktop-accessed web store. By implementing headless architecture, e-commerce businesses can deliver consistent, intuitive experiences across several different channels — from mobile apps and social media platforms to voice assistants and web chatbots.
Once upon a time, omnichannel shopping experiences might have been considered a ‘bonus’ feature for an e-commerce store — and by no means a necessity. Nowadays, however, insights show that up to 98% of consumers switch between devices in the same day and expect a consistent experience from each brand channel.
And yet, this is near-impossible to implement using a traditional e-commerce system. This is because it would require merchants to introduce constant updates and back-end coding adjustments to support purchasing through a range of different channels. For smaller businesses, this would quickly become time-consuming, labour-intensive, and expensive.
Instead, when you use a headless solution, your customers can engage through their preferred and most convenient channels, decreasing the likelihood of cart abandonment. Headless solutions centralise customer information and offer the capacity to insert commerce into a multitude of customer experiences.
For example, when you use Simpler, you can place purchasing buttons across multiple touch points in your customer’s purchasing journey, and across a range of media. This enables seamless conversion no matter the channel that your user is entering through — delivering a superior customer experience to what is possible with a limited monolithic system, and providing an unparalleled competitive advantage to your business.
2. Opportunities for flexible scaling
When using a monolithic system, one of the most commonly cited pain points among merchants is the obstacle to growth. As your e-commerce venture grows in its customer base, product range and global ambitions, your technology will need to be able to support this expansion — and it’s at this point that many businesses realise they need to switch to a headless solution.
Unlike traditional commerce, headless architecture allows for continuous iteration and reiteration. The decoupling of the back and front ends enables marketers to experiment with varied user experience features and pricing without adjusting the back-end configuration. In turn, this will expedite the amount of time your business spends getting its product and new services to market, allowing you to exploit short-term trends in the market and grow your customer base.
This also removes the need to depend on a time-consuming and costly development process to make any storefront upgrades, mitigating the burden of budget approvals and sourcing any necessary IT support.
Subsequently, many scaling businesses implement headless architecture to provide the agility they need to respond to the dynamic e-commerce market and ever-changijng customer expectations.
3. Fully customisable front-end experiences
Headless architecture enables the front-end content layer of your store to be independently tailored, as developers are no longer bound solely to the design elements supported by your e-commerce platform. Through rapid and centralised API delivery, marketers can implement new content features and fine-tune what customers see based on their specific preferences, driving sales more effectively than a siloed one-system approach.
When operating headlessly, front-end adjustments can be carried out with a fast turnaround, independent of developers, and without running the risk of undermining the platform’s stability. Through these means, headless e-commerce enables merchants to meet the ever-changing demands of the consumer and capitalise on seasonal market changes.
Salesforce’s State of Commerce Report 2022 found that it takes 34% of organisations a period of several weeks to months to make changes to their digital storefront. By contrast, 76% of respondents claimed that headless commerce increased their agility, allowing for the faster implementation of changes.
This way, marketers are empowered to experiment with new features and deliver personalised, immersive shopping experiences to users, implementing bespoke UX features to enrich the customer experience.
Headless commerce merchants may choose to offer:
- Short-term promotions and personalised recommendations based on purchase history
- Cross-selling and up-selling programmes at checkout
- Gamified shopping experiences
- User-tailored copy and calls to action
All in, these personalised consumer experiences help to boost customer conversion rates. Personalised e-shopping experiences effectively mirror the kind of one-to-one, dynamic sales interactions that shop floor assistants are known for — and deliver similar results in boosting sales.
So, by tailoring the shopping experience according to the consumer, merchants can trim their cart abandonment rates and usher more prospective buyers further into their sales funnel — and do so automatically, too.
4. Freedom to build a tailored e-commerce stack
Critically, it’s not only the front-end layer that merchants are free to customise with headless architecture — the back-end e-commerce functionality can also be flexibly adjusted.
When starting a business, the standard approach that most merchants take is to use an all-in-one e-commerce platform that works straight out of the box. However, opting for a headless solution instead enables you to conveniently tweak the business logic of your web store through the use of APIs.
These interfaces make it straightforward for individual software units to communicate with one another, removing the typical constraints imposed by a monolithic system.
Through APIs, merchants can add microservices and other tools to fit their needs to their platform at will, seamlessly connecting and transferring data between various software units that would otherwise be challenging to integrate.
Developers are free to mix and match their e-commerce platform, CMS, inventory manager and other third-party applications to build all of the functionality they require into their web experiences. With headless architecture, integration is made immediately straightforward.
Headless solutions help to facilitate a best-in-class user experience, supporting bespoke payment, search and loyalty features and more. This unlocks the ‘plug and play’ potential of a web store, allowing users to add, remove and exchange their solutions across different channels as and when needed.
5. Increased conversion rates
All in, headless commerce advantages share one common attribute — they each help to improve business conversion rates in comparison to traditional commerce. By offering a unique, streamlined customer experience, your web store can drive both higher sales and lower levels of cart abandonment.
Together, these benefits help to increase revenue and customer acquisition, ensuring that users return to your site for the superior customer experience that it offers over your competitors; especially those continuing to rely on sluggish legacy systems. Report evidence shows that up to three-quarters of consumers are likely or very likely to take their business elsewhere if the shopping experience fails to meet their expectations.
Beyond offering a personalised, streamlined experience, headless commerce can also help to improve site performance. This is because the front-end presentation layer can be specifically optimised for speed and responsiveness when separated from the back-end business logic. This ‘lightweight’ configuration helps to present content rapidly to the user and reduces the likelihood of site bouncing.
In fact, data from Akamai shows that a delay in responsiveness of just one second can cause a drop in conversion rates by up to 26%. Considering the extent of the competition saturating the e-commerce market, these seemingly insignificant loading factors can have a massive influence on whether your users remain on-site or navigate elsewhere for a better experience.
So, a streamlined checkout is the critical final step to ensuring high levels of conversion. But how can you encourage your customers over the finish line?
Unlock the advantages of headless commerce with Simpler
When you add Simpler to your checkout, you can streamline the purchasing experience for prospective customers. Simpler can be integrated with a variety of headless commerce-enabled platforms, and takes as little as five minutes to get set up and installed.
Once Simpler is integrated with your store, the checkout button can be added at any touch point in your customer’s purchasing journey. Then, the Simpler platform will work behind the scenes to retrieve all the vital information necessary to complete the transaction from your back-end layer — as well as submit the completed order for processing.
With Simpler as your headless solution, your customers receive a bespoke, streamlined purchasing experience — with new customers taking half the time of traditional checkout, while returning customers complete in less than six seconds. Make your e-commerce outlet future-proof with Simpler.
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