The 2021 Consumer Trends report states that 56% of consumers now prefer online shopping in the wake of the global pandemic. While “traditional” eCommerce systems sometimes lack the flexibility to meet changing consumer needs, the emergence of headless commerce technology has helped retailers adapt more easily to changing customer behavior and experiences.
By effectively decoupling the customer presentation layer from the underlying technical layer, headless commerce is enabling the development of the “new and improved” shopping app that is both agile and flexible. On its part, headless commerce and progressive web apps (PWAs) are coming together to create exceptional customer experiences (CX) that are transforming retail brand perceptions.
As over 25% of consumers regard shopping convenience as a factor for selecting their favorite brands, more retail companies need headless commerce to provide their consumers with what they want, and when they want. How does headless commerce help in creating these next-generation mobile apps for eCommerce brands?
5 benefits of Headless Commerce for eCommerce mobile app development
Traditionally, eCommerce platforms were designed and developed purely as desktop applications. As online shoppers started using more devices like mobile phones and tablets, the need for PWAs and improved mobile apps started emerging in the eCommerce circles.
Here is a look at 5 major benefits of headless commerce when it comes to eCommerce mobile app development:
1. Faster apps
By decoupling the frontend from the backend, app developers now have the flexibility to create their own frontend design template that controls what shoppers are now viewing. With headless technology, eCommerce brands can now tie the same backend functionality with different content delivery systems including an IoT device or CMS.
As compared to traditional eCommerce apps (with integrated front and back components), the headless approach is faster to implement. Further, the improved mobile apps can now be optimized for faster speeds and performance on any device. Primarily, headless technology allows app developers to replace the frontend app interface without touching the backend system.
2. Easier to develop
Headless commerce-enabled mobile apps are independent of the frontend development framework.
With headless commerce in place, eCommerce app developers can now work on any eCommerce platform (as the implementation engine for the online store), while choosing the frontend development tool that they are skilled in. For instance, frontend tools can include any progressive web app tool, a direct experience platform (DXP), or any customized tool.
This makes mobile app development much easier for skilled developers, as they can continue to use the same programming language or frontend technology (without the need to reskill).
3. Faster integration
As compared to the traditional eCommerce development framework, it is much easier and faster to integrate third-party tools and solutions using headless commerce technology. Using supported APIs, eCommerce mobile apps can easily integrate and communicate with external software platforms.
Effectively, headless commerce decouples the user experience from the backend eCommerce engine. For example, to integrate the eCommerce store with the MailChimp email tool, app developers only need to write a few lines of application code and enable the API connection, so that shoppers can email their queries or concerns to the eCommerce brand.
4. Incremental upgrades
In the face of constantly changing user expectations, eCommerce retailers need to make incremental changes in their customer apps to constantly improve user experience and conversions. Using headless commerce, app developers can easily make incremental upgrades to the frontend interface without worrying about their impact on backend functionalities.
Among the known examples, the Amazon platform leverages its headless commerce capability to push software updates out every 11.6 seconds. Similarly, the OTT platform Netflix can easily deploy code updates thousands of times every day. Effectively, headless commerce enables eCommerce brands to deliver a unique and customized experience to their consumers, which can build brand loyalty and more “word of mouth” referrals.
5. Complete ownership
Thanks to the “headless” architecture, retail brands can now benefit from complete ownership over their eCommerce website or mobile app. With the frontend-backend decoupling, eCommerce product teams have an enhanced way of “retaining what works” and “discarding what doesn’t.”
As an example, for eCommerce stores running on the WooCommerce plugin, application teams can now choose to replace the WooCommerce plugin with a different eCommerce plugin, while still running WordPress in the background. This essentially enables headless commerce-powered applications to run seamlessly on multiple interfaces including mobile apps, kiosks, websites, and even social media platforms.
Next, let us look at why eCommerce brands must opt for headless commerce to run their online stores.
How Headless Commerce can improve eCommerce business
Headless technology as an approach is interesting for eCommerce brands and retailers, as they no longer need to stick to the “traditional” UI logic designed to produce a consistent user experience. eCommerce brands can now look to expand their array of frontend capabilities that can include voice-controlled apps, social media websites, connected IoT devices, and even an Internet-connected car.
Apart from achieving business objectives like improved user experience, eCommerce brands also need to balance their overall supply and demand. For instance:
- What are consumers buying?
- How much money are they spending?
- Where are goods being delivered?
This requires a headless commerce framework to be integrated with an efficient Order Management System (or OMS). An integrated OMS can connect disparate eCommerce systems and improve product availability and stock accuracy.
In summary, headless commerce technology is gaining more interest in the eCommerce circles by providing a flexible frontend to mobile app users. With the headless approach, there is no limit to the level of frontend customizations that app developers can adopt in the eCommerce space.
Apart from reducing app development time and costs, headless commerce is also encouraging small-to-medium retailers to launch their eCommerce apps and increase their online revenues.
At Ignitiv, we look to help our eCommerce customers deliver an exceptional customer experience using a variety of technologies like headless commerce and progressive web apps. We believe that expertise in these technologies can drive the digital transformation journey forward for many brands.
Want to hop on the headless commerce bandwagon? Time to contact us now.