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03/23/2022

4 Ways Headless Commerce Can Tame Disruption

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Headless commerce graphic

Disruption is now a part of our reality — whether we want to admit it or not, retail will never return to the way it was in 2019. The last two years have been a period of technological transformation for many businesses. In fact, according to CB Insights, the number of deals made between retailers and retail technology providers grew over 31% in 2021, shattering previous records. 

The best way to yield strong margins and improve key performance indicators (KPIs) during this transformative time has been through prioritizing resiliency and flexibility, while leaving room for new opportunities. For many retailers, headless technology has offered the opportunities that even the most established brands needed to offer a more efficient and successful commerce experience moving forward. 

While there are many benefits to adopting a headless architecture for any business, there are four primary ways that users of headless commerce specifically can unlock improved readiness in the face of disruption. All four reiterate the importance of improved flexibility, resiliency, and opportunity. 

Flexible Front-end Development

Headless technology decouples the front-end user experience from the back-end environment where the data and transactions live. Yet with the right headless solution, the communication between the front- and back-end does not deteriorate as a result of the separation. This allows developers the freedom to create custom shopping experiences across any shopper touchpoint, like voice assistants, wearables, and smart appliances, as well as more traditional channels, like social media, text, marketplaces, call centers, and more.

Not only does this particular benefit lead to enhanced opportunities, it also improves flexibility as these opportunities can be implemented based on ever-changing inventory levels, demand, and shopper behaviors. 

Unified Inventory Management

On that note, real-time inventory management will be absolutely critical moving forward. A headless commerce system enables retailers to manage all available inventory from a single catalog, regardless of where products are sold. For retailers who already improved their inventory management to combat supply chain disruption during the early days of the pandemic, a good headless solution will integrate seamlessly with other providers instead of against them. 

The movement toward headless is really about extension. The right headless solution will extend the performance capabilities of previously implemented vendors without a large overhaul, giving retailers more agility and scalability. 

Superior Customer Experience

The beauty of headless commerce is that it provides both the back-end developers and the front-end marketers and business managers with the flexibility they need to achieve their desired KPIs. These solutions support multiple platforms and tools that allow developers to efficiently help business stakeholders incorporate better customer experience. 

For example, headless commerce can give marketers more control over features like personalized product recommendations, audience-targeted promotions, and relevant substitutions when an item is out of stock — all of which improve the shopping journey. 

A headless approach to a company’s technology will free up back-end developers to focus on developing and introducing innovative commerce features that foster engagement and create excitement, such as shopper rewards programs and social selling. 

[Related: L.L. Bean CIO: Headless Commerce Keeps Us Nimble]

As e-commerce becomes increasingly mobile-first, retailers will need to ensure their channels are optimized for smaller screens and that any app-based experiences are appropriately connected to web-based platforms. This will be easier for developers to coordinate with a headless solution, as retailers can work with app developers and integrate their tools into the overarching headless environment. 

Investing in Headless Commerce To Prepare for Disruption 

The best way to combat uncertainty in life and in business is to be prepared for anything. This is where headless commerce truly shines. With the ability to deliver unique, and seamless client-side experiences while fully supporting and enabling back-end commerce, headless technology gives retailers the power to be resilient and the flexibility to meet shoppers’ evolving demands. 

—Ram Venkataraman, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Office, Kibo

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