In this opinion piece, BigCommerce director of Product Management Jordan Sim explains why headless commerce is the way forward for online retailers.
Australian online retailers are at a crossroads and for many, 2020 is likely to be make-or-break. While the new decade brings with it an abundance of opportunity for brands and businesses in terms of audience and growth, they’ve also never faced higher levels of competition in the retail space.
The simple fact is that consumers can afford to be choosy about where they focus their attention (and their dollars). Just last year, local retailers saw a cart abandonment rate of 64 per cent on Black Friday. In order to convert shoppers and grow their business, Australian retailers are realising they need a point of difference to help them to meet and exceed the shopper expectations.
Increasingly, headless commerce has become the unseen strategy that businesses are turning to. It’s the content-led approach helping businesses attract organic traffic and create a frictionless digital journey – and it’s becoming a crucial element for success.
Let’s break it down
In layman’s terms, headless commerce refers to the act of decoupling the engagement layer (the front end) and the commerce layer (the back end) of a website. It’s a simple concept that can have huge benefits for retailers as brands are able to build powerful, personalised and engaging commerce experiences for their customers, while also prioritising a strong operational ecommerce experience on the backend.
While Aussie brands have recognised the value of maintaining an online presence, simply having a website isn’t enough to cut through the clutter – especially in 2020. Brands need to have the best of both worlds; a website with content and experience at its core, as well as robust commerce capabilities to ensure consumers can easily and safely transact.
By embracing headless commerce, local retailers no longer need to compromise content for commerce, and vice versa. Instead, brands can feel empowered to customise their store any way they want as well as focus on creating a world-class experience for their customers, while simultaneously covering priorities like security, inventory management, order fulfilment and points of sale on the commerce side.
Is headless right for all brands?
While it gives brands the ability to deliver a truly, customer-focused experience, headless is a technology that’s not necessarily the right solution for every brand.
Primarily, headless allows brands to engage customers — delivering them unparalleled content and user experiences while still effectively prioritising ecommerce essentials. Furthermore, with headless, retailers have the agility to move across a content-management-system (CMS) like WordPress with the security of an ecommerce platform, ultimately enabling the support of long-term growth.
For brands that don’t have these needs, a headless commerce strategy won’t be the right fit. Instead, retailers with a lesser focus on content and personalisation might find an all-in-one ecommerce solution is a better choice. In the same way, brands that have not yet embraced selling through different channels (including mobile devices, voice assistants, chatbots, and social selling) and have no plans to do so in the future, will find headless commerce less relevant to their ecommerce strategies.
Ultimately, the end goal is to focus on the needs of the business and the retailer’s long-term ecommerce vision, but the path to get there may vary. While headless is a worthwhile investment for many retailers, remember that is still possible for Aussie retailers to create a great front-end experience without a headless architecture.
The evolution of technology in ecommerce
A key benefit of technology in ecommerce is the ability to evolve quickly to meet the growing expectations of consumers. Given that we’re living in a world with more avenues to shop than just bricks & mortar and online retailing, headless commerce provides retailers with more opportunities than ever to connect with a global audience.
Headless commerce has made it easier for brands to be more consistent across multiple stores and platforms, allowing brands to grow into new channels and geographies more quickly and effectively. The openness of headless commerce frees up time and energy, as well as empowers brands to be more agile and scale quicker than their competitors.
It’s clear that for retailers wanting to focus on content, headless commerce is where the future of ecommerce is moving. By pairing both content and commerce, Aussie brands that invest in headless commerce will be the ones that become more nimble with customisation for consumers as well as helping to scale growth — leading to increased ecommerce innovation and revenue.