Internet shopping with laptop

We’ve had Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) but for Aussie retailers, the newest service they should care about is Commerce-as-a-Service, more commonly referred to as headless commerce.

At its core, headless commerce enables merchants to simultaneously provide rich content and a robust e-commerce platform, without having to prioritise one over the other. With global giants setting up shop down under, the retail industry in Australia is becoming increasingly competitive. As a result, customer experience and loyalty are more important than ever and merchants must embrace new technologies to transform the shopping experience for their customers. For Australian vendors, adopting headless commerce gives them the unique ability to deliver both quality content and a dynamic e-commerce platform for their customers.

Having the best of both worlds with headless commerce

One of the main benefits of headless commerce is that it enables retailers to create well-rounded e-commerce experiences, as vendors are able to enable content management and delivery, user experience and SEO all at the same time. As the e-commerce space grows and develops, consumers globally are expecting more from their shopping experiences. We’ve seen this happen with traditional physical retailers who’ve had to adopt an omnichannel approach and now we’re seeing it with online retailers who have to ensure the end-to-end experience is top notch from clicking in to checking out.

For example, camera and photography company, Kodak uses WordPress on the front end to host its products and blog content. However, for its back end and checkout, Kodak uses BigCommerce to manage PCI compliance, checkout, uptime and security. The seamless interaction between the front and back end of Kodak’s website allows the business to save time and money, not to mention improving security. With headless commerce, Kodak is able to invest in innovation and maintain its competitiveness in a constantly evolving industry.

Embracing headless commerce provides vendors with more flexibility as they aren’t forced to choose between a content management system (CMS) and the back ends of their e-commerce businesses. Headless commerce also frees up time for retailers, empowering them to spend more time investing in the growth and scale of their businesses. At its core, headless commerce enables retailers to easily choose between the top content platforms without having to sacrifice e-commerce performance.

Agility is becoming increasingly important for retailers as customers demand more from their shopping experiences — they want to be able to browse online, engage with rich content, have access to multiple payment options and fast, reliable delivery. Headless commerce is particularly important for vendors looking to expand across new channels and geographies, as it can help them set themselves apart from the myriad of competitors biting at their heels.

All about customer experience

For customers, headless commerce is the miracle tool that powers the stunning online experiences they want from retailers. In fact, headless commerce provides e-commerce businesses with the tools to invest in flexibility, speed, and intuitive design — all qualities of a website that consumers crave.

The old school mantra of ‘the customer is always right’ rings true for online retailers too. For e-commerce businesses, this is centred around giving customers exactly what they want from online shopping experiences all the time. Being customer-focused from the initial browsing stage to the final checkout is vital to maintain customer loyalty — particularly as more options are being presented to consumers than ever before. Gibson Guitars is another example of a retailer that has created a front end to entice customers and appeal aesthetically to them. However, the way a website looks is just one part of the shopping journey for customers, and another reason why Gibson has been successful online is because customers can trust that the back end of the website will manage any transactions safely and securely.

What’s important to consider here is that customers generally have no knowledge of what’s going on in the background during their online shopping interactions — they just know they want the smoothest and most seamless experience possible. With this in mind, vendors should look to headless commerce as an effective way to engage consumers and influence their shopping decisions. The smoother the shopping experience, the better. Headless commerce allows retailers to deliver an unparalleled shopping experience, while still managing back end priorities such as security, inventory management, order fulfilment and points of sale.

This seamless integration of the commerce and engagement layers will allow retailers to focus on personalising the shopping experience, so their customers keep coming back. In this way, headless commerce should be seen as a growth tool, not only to help scale businesses, but to grow and nurture relationships with customers.

As the e-commerce industry continues to develop and new competitors come to the forefront, it’s more important than ever that retailers invest in e-commerce systems that can grow with them. Technology is becoming a cornerstone of successful e-commerce businesses as the value of headless commerce becomes clear. For local businesses that haven’t yet jumped on the headless commerce train, it’s not too late — but should be a priority for 2019.

Jordan Sim, Director of Product, BigCommerce.