Shopping has changed forever. It was once built around the product or service, store and checkout, but now, shopping is all about the experience delivered in a variety of mediums – the web, mobile, in-store, online marketplaces and more. These days, whether a customer is researching products on a laptop or smart device, hanging out in the mall, or browsing products in a store, they expect exceptional and seamless shoppable experience on fast and reliable platforms.
And as choices and convenience increase for the customer, the demands placed on organizations also increase. In the digital world, every experience and every moment in the customer’s decision journey counts. For organizations, making every experience count means continuously improving their front-end and digital performances. Success with digital e-commerce requires a new level of commerce functionality, periodically updated. This would translate to re-platforming every time, something that organizations would like to avoid given that it is time-consuming and, often, expensive.
Enter headless commerce
To avoid complete re-platforming every time, organizations need to separate their back-end capabilities from the front-end experiences. This would open the door for partial re-platforming. The front- and back-end systems could continue to do what they do best without stepping on each other’s’ toes. Organizations can use their existing e-commerce stack, but only change the front-end layer. Enter headless commerce.
Headless commerce architecture separates the content presentation layer (which is comprised of the content and experience management systems) from the business logic and functional layers (which are made up of the existing e-commerce stack, integration, and commerce management systems). Such architecture supports an e-commerce platform that has no ‘head,’ allowing for additional flexibility, customization, better shopping experiences, and freedom to grow.
Headless commerce architectures leverage both layers. While the content presentation layer develops and maintains the core user experience, the functional layer takes care of the transactional back-end operations. This way, organizations can deliver the continuous improvement that users expect.
The power of headless commerce can be seen in its ability to:
Replace only the relevant components
The biggest advantage of headless commerce is that it allows organizations to replace only layers and components that are needed, without altering the entire platform, saving time and money.
Provide more flexibility
As headless commerce separates the front- and back-end, organizations get the flexibility to choose separate vendors for each. So if one e-commerce vendor’s back-end capabilities and integrations fit the bill, but not their content management systems, organizations can select another vendor to fill in that layer. Furthermore, it allows A/B testing of different vendors of the same back-end service, linked to the same front-end experience, aiding the decision-making process.
Monetize digital experiences and build better customer relationships
Often, customers get comfortable with a specific interface for shopping —to browse, add items to cart, and access product descriptions from the organization’s site. Headless commerce moves beyond the cart and checkout by embedding shopping features in a vast range of digital experiences – banner ads, social media, videos, lookbooks, and more. This not only helps establish a much more personal connection with the customer, but also monetizes those experiences.
At Skava, an Infosys company, we take headless commerce a step further. By leveraging our loosely coupled modular architecture, organizations get the freedom to choose not only the “head,” “body,” or both, but also anything in between. In other words, they can pick and choose individual components, augment the front-end, and tailor the overall experience. For example, organizations can choose 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.