How Headless Technology is Shaping the Future of Commerce

Stefan Schinkel

The days of monolithic and commerce-led online retail strategies are numbered. Instead, companies are embracing headless technologies to enable an experience-led commerce strategy and deliver better shopping experiences to consumers.

That’s because the way consumers make purchases — and even what they expect from their favorite brands — is shifting. 40% of shoppers, for example, would purchase a product if they could experience it through augmented reality beforehand, and 61% prefer brands that leverage AR over those that don’t. Brands, therefore, will need the right commerce technologies in place to remain digitally adaptable for the future.

Let’s look at the changes taking place within digital commerce and why retailers need to adopt a headless approach to content and commerce.

The Changing Digital Commerce Landscape

There’s no doubt that digital commerce is transforming at a rapid pace. Consumers continue to embrace new devices and channels from SPAs to AR/VR apps and voice-enabled devices. And changes are taking place at brick-and-mortar stores as well with in-store digital signage and seamless mobile experiences via geofencing. Today’s consumers demand the freedom to interact with their favorite brands whenever and wherever they want.

These evolving customer demands are putting pressure on commerce brands to expand their shopping experiences beyond the traditional eCommerce sites of the past. Brands need the ability to adapt — not only to the touch-points in use today — but of any channels that consumers embrace in the future.

Why Headless Commerce Is The Answer

While headless has gained a lot of traction for content marketing, there are a number of reasons it’s becoming more common for commerce as well.

Omnichannel Shopping

For brands to keep up with evolving customer demands, they need flexible technologies in-place for delivering content-driven shopping experiences across many different channels. But it’s not enough to take the multichannel approach by building separate brand presences on each touchpoint. Without integrating each of the various touchpoints, consumers will have a fragmented and disjointed shopping experience that’s less effective from a business standpoint. The most effective brands, therefore, are leveraging an omnichannel strategy by offering a unified shopping experience with consistent branding across touchpoints.

In most cases, an omnichannel marketing approach for commerce brands requires the use of API-driven software to build a robust digital experience platform with content management, commerce, and other innovative capabilities tightly integrated. Headless technologies enable organizations to build whichever frontend they want, while still managing the content and commerce functionality from a centralized location. Headless commerce, therefore, brings flexibility and consistency to the shopping experience that brands provide.

Hyper-Personalized Experiences

Another main driver of headless commerce is the ability to hyper-personalized shopping experiences. This means utilizing data and highly relevant content to drive customer conversions. The most innovative brands are leveraging ML/AI to analyze customer behavior and predict the most relevant products to offer a particular consumer.

Related Article: What is Hyper-Personalization

Headless commerce enables hyper-personalization because API-driven software can more easily exchange data. That means it’s much more straightforward for brands to collect and aggregate customer information from a variety of touchpoints and leverage analytics solutions with AI or ML capabilities to gain unique insights into their target market. These insights can fuel a truly hyper-personalized experience that drives conversions and keeps customers coming back.

Faster Innovation

Headless commerce can lead to much faster innovation within an organization. That’s because headless — for both commerce and content management — enables a best of breed approach to digital experiences. Brands can quickly change out the tools and applications within their commerce stack to meet the latest customer demands. The most successful brands realize the tremendous value of digital adaptability.

The speed at which a brand can innovate is becoming a huge differentiator in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape. The monolithic eCommerce platforms of the past don’t enable brands to move quickly enough, and they risk falling behind. Headless commerce, therefore, lets brands innovate faster and take an iterative approach when building customer shopping experiences.

dotCMS: The Headless Glue Code For Experience-Led Commerce

dotCMS has brought together several key capabilities that enable brands to build and deliver innovative and hyper-personalized commerce experiences: NoCode content management, API-first commerce, and powerful search capabilities.

At dotCMS, NoCode is a core philosophy. The platform continues to improve its NoCode capabilities, so the friction when building digital experiences is reduced. Edit Mode Anywhere, for example, enables marketers to preview and edit digital experiences on any channel, and marketers have the tools they need to personalize these experiences for specific market segments. With dotCMS, digital marketing teams can pursue their omnichannel strategy without relying heavily on development teams, which increases the marketing agility and therefore time-to-value.

Related Article: Personalizing Single Page Apps with dotCMS's Headless Capabilities

dotCMS is highly interoperable — with robust REST APIs, LowCode tools and native GraphQL support — so commerce brands can more easily bring together content, code, and data. Hyper-personalized, data-driven content is the best way to provide compelling shopping experiences that drive customer conversions. For commerce, in particular, dotCMS has built a solution with Commercetools that provides critical commerce capabilities like order management, pricing, payment processing, and more. Along with delivering compelling digital experiences for today’s customers, interoperability is essential for remaining adaptable to future customer demands.

Finally, dotCMS can leverage Unbxd for powerful search and merchandising capabilities. With the Unbxd integration, machine learning will enable consumers to easily discover relevant products by monitoring their behavior and inferring their intent behind search queries. This is hyper-personalization in real-time. But Unbxd is just one example of the innovative technologies brands can leverage when they have a highly flexible headless commerce architecture.

Related Article: Content and Commerce: How Data, Content and Microservices Drive Sales

dotCMS brings these capabilities together to form an innovative commerce solution. With its touchpoint-agnostic approach, brands can easily pursue an omnichannel strategy, and they can leverage APIs to reach the latest channels. Interoperability means brands can utilize powerful analytics engines for hyper-personalization as well. Furthermore, the platform’s flexible architecture means brands are ready for the future. You can learn more about headless commerce with our dotCMS Commerce Experience Solution Brief.

Stefan Schinkel
Chief Revenue Officer
January 14, 2020

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