Traditional shopping that was once built around the storefront and checkout, has now transformed into one that is embedded into every experience and touchpoint possible.
However, one of the biggest challenges for retailers is to continuously improve front-end and digital experiences. Retailers would like to avoid replatforming as it is time-consuming and often times expensive. Headless commerce, which essentially separates the back-end capabilities from the front-end experiences, enables retailers to only partially replatform. Retailers can use their existing e-commerce stack, but only change the front-end layer.
Headless commerce is transforming the way customers shop and the way e-commerce developers build. In a headless architecture approach, the front-end layer and the back-end layer are completely separable.
More precisely, a headless commerce architecture separates the content presentation layer (content and experience management systems) from the business logic and functional layer (existing e-commerce stack, integration, and commerce management). Therefore, such architecture can support an e-commerce platform that has no “head,” allowing more room for flexibility, customization, shoppable experiences, and freedom for growth, which we will cover in this blog.
With headless commerce, retailers have more flexibility in choosing vendors. Since the front-end and back-end are separate layers with headless commerce, they can have separate vendors for each. For example, if you like your e-commerce vendor’s back-end capabilities and integrations, but their content management systems are not up to par, you can select another vendor to fill in that layer.
Furthermore, it gives retailers the opportunity to A/B test different vendors of the same back-end service, linked to the same front-end experience. For example, a brand could experiment with different back-end search solutions while still maintaining a single consistent front-end search experience.
Build a Connection with Shoppable Experiences
When we say shoppable experiences, we should move beyond talking about the storefront, cart and checkout. Customers are used to a specific interface for shopping, designed to browse, add items to cart, access product descriptions – all from the retailer’s site. Headless commerce takes it a step further by embedding shopping features in a vast array of digital experiences such as banner ads, social media, videos, images, catalogs, and more.
For example, a customer is watching a video online and she see’s a pair of shoes she likes. Unfortunately, she has to browse the Internet and many retail sites to find the pair of shoes she desires. With headless commerce, you can deploy the shoppable experience within the video. The customer can click or tap on the pair of shoes and a pop up window will appear with details of the item, the option to add to cart and ultimately, checkout. Headless commerce encourages brands to connect with customers on a much more personal level and strongly associates the shopping experience with the actual non-retail experience. This paradigm shift opens the door to a new era of shopping.
Replace Only The Components You Need
Retailers are constantly looking to replatform, but can’t seem to pick the one that speaks their brand. With a headless commerce approach, retailers don’t need to completely replatform. This approach allows developers to only replace a specific layers and components. For example, if the presentation layer in your platform architecture is outdated or monolithic, you should have the ability to replace only the front-end layer. That way, you’re not altering the entire platform, or go through the replatform process, which can be both time consuming and expensive.
Tailor to Brand’s Unique Experiences
Headless commerce enables brands to take their shopping experiences to new frontiers. Building on existing capabilities powered by the back-end’s e-commerce stack, developers can focus their efforts on tailoring the front-end experience to align with the brand. Retailers can pick and choose which retail experience should be embedded into digital experiences and can choose from a wealth of possibilities such as, a TV show or e-book, without altering the back-end – the body of the platform.
Headless commerce allows developers to use their preferred tools and programming languages by interfacing with a rich API layer. They can customize either layer to align with their unique brand. Due to the abovementioned separation, developers are no longer limited to a monolithic deployment of the e-commerce platform. This gives IT and marketing teams the freedom to create limitless commerce innovations in every experience.
Skava – Headless Commerce on Steroids
At Skava, we take headless commerce a step even further. By leveraging our loosely coupled modular architecture, retailers have the freedom to choose not only the “head,” “body,” or both, but also anything in between. In other words, retailers can pick and choose individual components, augment the front-end, and tailor the overall experience. For example, customers have the option to only deploy the “head,” of the Skava Commerce platform, embedded with ready-to-go white label digital applications and the experience management tool, SkavaSTUDIO. They can also pick and choose among the independently scalable back-end microservices to add to their existing capabilities. Developers have the freedom to customize any front-end digital app or add new ones, and add or replace individual back-end microservices.
Headless commerce very much exists. It’s changing the way customers are exposed to brands, shop, and how retailers deploy customizable shopping experiences. Headless commerce could be the talk of 2017 and many retailers are yet to find out more.
If you’re interested in understanding headless commerce with Skava, contact us today.