Headless Commerce: Optimizing Omnichannel Retailing

Headless Commerce: Optimizing Omnichannel Retailing

E-Commerce has gone through a paradigm shift in the last decade. The large format stores are losing their charm; and the new and more attractive shopping experience is now on screen. In 2019, as many as 4,300 stores closed shop[1] in what some people are now referring to as the retail apocalypse. These included high-end single brand and multi-brand layouts too. Brands such as Victoria Secret, GAP, and Charlotte Russe lost out heavily on patronage. This year Macy’s has decided to close some of its stores. The retail touch and feel experience  is no longer driving buying decisions, especially with the free shipping and free returns that are fast becoming the norm online.

Rise of Mobile E-Commerce

Today, the mobile shopping experience has become prevalent with the instant gratification it offers.  It is not surprising that 53% of the mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load[2]. That’s far too slow when speed means revenue.

This just means that the retailers need to ensure that their online presence is up to the mark and can hold customer attention. Additionally, while retailers find customer retention important, they need to be able to rationalize costs to be competitive. Additionally, more and more e-commerce business owners are bogged by rising Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC).

Successful online businesses understand that they need to keep refreshing themselves to ensure customer does not get bored. Be it variety or price points, customers tend to get distracted easily. In fact, many businesses struggle to turn underperforming websites into high-performing interfaces that enhance business credibility and actively aid client acquisition. Here are some quick facts you should consider:

As of Q2 2018, of the total retail web traffic, 63% was from smartphones[3]

Slow-loading websites face almost $3 billion in lost sales each year

It takes about  0.05 seconds for users decide whether they’ll stay on a website or leave

Headless Commerce is the Need of the Hour

Brands, therefore, have to rack their brains to convert clicks into organic business. Here is when engaging and relevant content has never been as important. To add to this is the business of conversion strategy, where a seamless blending model provides content and e-commerce advantage, marrying experience and backend e-commerce functionality. This is where Headless Commerce has most relevance.

Essentially, Headless Commerce separates the front and back end of an e-commerce application, allowing both to operate independently of each other, making it ‘headless’.  This gives backend developers the flexibility to deliver content using APIs, which front end developers can present on any screen or device including smartwatches and Alexa devices.  This is a significant change from traditional e-commerce platforms which leverage a unified platform where the front and back end are tightly integrated, with content being optimized for websites and mobile apps only for the most part. 

Why Does It Deliver Results?

Headless Commerce works well for those who are creating more interactive experiences for their customers. It helps retailers provide the customers what they need – engagement – not just with pictures, but with descriptions that go with it, some bit of history behind its making, as well as a personalized feeling that ensures enjoyable e-commerce experience on any device they choose to engage with. The model also allows for rapid content tweaking, thus fostering a fresh and innovative experience. Best of all, the development cost with an ecommerce solution provider is low, and go-to-market timelines short, taking away the need for the brand to undertake heavy investment in IT.

This content-experience-led strategy gives the biggest advantage of site customization and marketing effectiveness for innovation without hurting the backend processes.

The Future of Retail

Traditional retail formats are already evolving to succeed. As we go forward into the next decade, this evolution will see more and more technologies get incorporated into retail. With augmented reality, internet of things, smart sensors and connected devices becoming a reality, retail is likely to see a growth of 5.3% (CAGR) over these five years, to reach USD 31,880.8 billion by 2023[4]. This represents a huge market opportunity in the near future. How ready are you to capitalize on it?


[1] https://www.businessinsider.in/retail/more-than-4300-stores-are-closing-in-2019-as-the-retail-apocalypse-drags-on-heres-the-full-list/articleshow/68234880.cms

[2]  https://www.marketingdive.com/news/google-53-of-mobile-users-abandon-sites-that-take-over-3-seconds-to-load/426070/

[3] https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions

[4] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190102005213/en/Global-31.88-Billion-Retail-Industry-Analysis-Outlook