According to a Gartner survey, 86% of business leaders in the B2B industry believe that digital commerce will emerge as the leading sales channel over the next couple of years. This is the impact of the growing digitization of the B2B eCommerce space.
In the post-pandemic business world, digital commerce is rapidly taking attention away from the traditional in-person shopping experience towards the online shopping experience. Going forward, the majority of B2B commerce customers will comprise the millennial and Generation-Y users. It’s fair to say that these generations are even more digitally inclined than preceding ones.
That’s why B2B companies can no longer rely on rigid or disjointed services that can cause friction in the online shopping experience. Based on microservices architecture, the headless commerce technology is being touted as the “next big thing” as it seamlessly decouples the customer frontend from backend functionalities like shopping cart management and order management.
Does headless commerce have a role to play in the B2B space? Let us explore.
How Headless Commerce can benefit the B2B industry
Effectively, the headless commerce architecture empowers the B2B commerce industry to easily adapt to rapidly changing consumer demands. Among the major challenges in the B2B space, headless commerce helps in resolving multiple issues including:
- Providing customers with the “always right” digital experience during online shopping.
- Making it easier and faster to update a website or replace the frontend functionality.
- Integrate the eCommerce solution with a variety of third-party tools including content management systems (CMS) or digital experience (or DX) platforms.
- Leverage the capabilities of a progressive web app (PWA) for native mobile applications.
Vincent Mugavero of Carrier Enterprise is among the leading proponents of headless technology in the B2B space. He says, “if you’re serious about keeping up with Amazon Business or keeping up with best-in-class B2B companies in your space, the answer is clear: You need to decouple so you can innovate faster.”
Headless commerce is driving the development of many smart B2B solutions and touchpoints including “smart” shelves, IoT devices, voice assistants, and omnichannel tools.
Before adopting headless commerce technology, B2B business leaders must address the challenges of their sales, supply, and distribution channels. How can headless help in addressing these challenges? Let’s discuss next.
How Headless Commerce can address B2B challenges
In the current changing environment, headless commerce is one of the best modes of future-proofing any B2B commerce business.
Here are 5 major challenges in the B2B sector that can be addressed using headless commerce technology:
1. Connecting data
To provide an optimum customer experience, B2B business users need a technology system that can integrate and leverage all the data and make it available at the right time and place to be used in the frontend tool. On their part, eCommerce app developers need API functions to bring together or connect this data from different sources.
Headless commerce enables B2B companies to leverage the best features of various frontend tools and present the available data with all the right insights. By integrating with various frontend tools, headless commerce tools are designed to obtain high-quality data from various data sources.
2. Integrating with third-party tools
The fast-changing demands of online customers mean that companies need to make constant changes to their frontend functionality. With monolithic systems, this process is more complex, as app developers cannot simply make backend functionality updates without any impact on the frontend or vice versa. This means a higher development time and slower updates.
Headless commerce has completely changed this paradigm. Effectively, it provides the developers the flexibility of working with any frontend tool to improve the user experience. By seamlessly integrating with any third-party frontend tool and “decoupling” them from the backend engine, headless commerce provides the flexibility to mix and match capabilities for today’s changing market needs.
3. Responding to changing market demands
With new digital technologies and services including new payment modes, the rise of the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), and social commerce, eCommerce companies need to be agile to respond to changing market situations with the right solution. As consumers have access to a plethora of new devices and mediums, the need for an effective omnichannel solution will continue to rise.
“Old World” monolithic and legacy systems are not cut out to meet rapidly changing requirements. While customized code can work to a certain degree, there will come a point when even a minor code change can lead to major failures and errors. Headless commerce offers an “API-driven” approach where integrated tools can “talk” to each other, and a new delivery platform or feature can be easily plugged in without redesigning the entire system.
4. Customer experience (CX)
As the eCommerce market is shifting towards digital commerce, B2B customers have a range of choices with more personalized services and online retailers entering the fray. Customer Experience (CX) is now a priority, where outdated eCommerce solutions are no longer viable
According to Forrester, businesses that can provide an exceptional multichannel CX can retain 89% of their customers. Digital technologies like headless commerce and microservices are enabling retailers to elevate their UX and CX at a faster rate. Through efficient decoupling, retailers can accelerate CX initiatives and deliver them on multiple channels.
5. Transitioning from B2B to B2C
Many B2B companies are mulling over the possibility of transitioning to the B2C segment, where they can make direct sales to the end-users. With close to 2 billion online shoppers, the B2B-to-B2C transition can bring in multiple benefits including improved profit margins, wider customer bases, and higher flexibility.
Having said that, making this transition has its share of challenges as direct consumers have different buying patterns and behavior, as compared to business customers. By adopting headless commerce technology, B2B retailers can make this transition more seamless by developing their “headless” capabilities from scratch. This includes adding new product interfaces, features, and functionalities that are suitable for the B2C segment.
In the post-pandemic world, the B2B eCommerce space is fast adopting digital commerce that can transform its business growth and the shopping experience for its consumers. Headless commerce is best equipped to provide online shoppers with a seamless digital experience on multiple channels.
At Ignitiv, we pride ourselves to be the Customer Experience Agency, where the customer journey is the primary driver for business success. Our eCommerce solutions are designed to serve both B2B and B2C retail industries. Here is why we believe that headless commerce is the tool that can deliver an enhanced user experience.
Get in touch with us today to know why headless commerce is the right fit for your online retail business.