Person using laptop with coffee mug in hand

Business to business (B2B) buying habits are changing and headless B2B ecommerce will help you keep pace.

There are so many new ways to access product information and to make purchases from internet of things (IoT) devices and progressive web apps (PWAs) to point of sale (POS) interactions and voice search.

The time and cost of maintaining and continually enhancing customer experiences across all these channels is creating a bottleneck for growth in many companies. Here we look at the potential benefits of headless ecommerce for your business.

Index

What is headless ecommerce?
How headless ecommerce works
Six key benefits of headless B2B ecommerce:
Omnichannel ecommerce
Competitiveness
Agility
Personalization
Integration
Conversion rates
Managing your headless ecommerce solution

What is headless ecommerce?

By storing, managing, and delivering your digital content separately from the ecommerce layer that delivers it to your customers, you can develop innovative new approaches to customer experience without having to change your behind-the-scenes systems.

Traditional commerce platforms normally have a predefined front-end based on a template or theme that is closely integrated with back office systems. While they can be customized, they are generally designed to deliver content in the form of websites and, possibly, mobile apps.

Fig 1: Traditional vs Headless Ecommerce

When your ecommerce delivery layer or ‘head’ is decoupled from your business’s back office systems you can use application programming interfaces (APIs) to deliver things like product information, blog posts or customer reviews to any screen or device. At the same time your front-end developers can find new ways to present the content using any framework to provide the best customer experience.

Back

How headless ecommerce works

Traditionally, front-end developers are constrained by the whole business system behind your ecommerce platform. Changes will involve editing the database, code, and the presentation layer.

Headless ecommerce allows them the freedom to create the best possible user experience without these limitations. They can develop, deploy and revise interfaces quickly and cost-effectively.

The flexibility is delivered by Representational State Transfer (REST) which allows website developers to create APIs, known as RESTful APIs, independently of your background databases and applications.

Solutions to meet almost any buyer experience requirement can be developed efficiently and consistently across multiple channels. Requests can be passed between the presentation and application layers through web services or API calls.

You can choose best of breed solutions for content management, payment compliance, stock management and distribution, and they can all be effectively integrated behind the scenes.

When a buyer selects the ‘Buy Now’ option on their smartphone, an API call will be sent to the application layer of your ecommerce system to process the order and another API call will show your customer the status of their order.

Back

Six key benefits of headless B2B ecommerce

1. Omnichannel ecommerce

A headless approach allows you to cost-effectively deliver your content consistently to all your touchpoints with buyers. You can deliver product information, videos, technical data and blog posts to any channel. Even options that are new or have yet to be developed can be easily accessed if they meet your buyers’ needs.

2. Competitiveness

By responding quickly to changing trends and needs, you can stay ahead of your competitors. You can deploy updates quickly without affecting or interrupting your core business processes. You don’t need to plan business-wide changes and schedule an implementation plan. If your front-end changes don’t deliver the expected results you can easily revise them and learn from the experience.

3. Agility

Because the world of B2B ecommerce is growing and changing quickly, you can take advantage of new opportunities as soon as they arise. Your marketing team can develop and release campaigns and initiatives across multiple sites, different brands, and various business divisions.

4. Personalization

Consistent personalization and user experiences across all devices and channels are important to modern B2B buyers. They will want reliable access to their buying history, price plans and order status at any time and in any location. Your powerful back office systems can identify relevant search results and product recommendations while your presentation layer shows the information in the optimum format.

5. Integration

APIs streamline the integration process and improve communication between systems. You can quickly respond to new opportunities and reach a wider audience. If you are changing your back-office systems or processes, your buyer interface can continue, unchanged.

6. Conversion rates

A headless approach makes it easier and less risky to develop and test the impact of different approaches on your conversion rates. You can create a learning environment that will help you to understand customer preferences and their responses.

Back

Managing your headless ecommerce solution

A headless ecommerce approach means you can create completely bespoke experiences that precisely match your needs and your buyers’ expectations.

The trade-off for this freedom and flexibility is the time it takes and the processes you will need to maintain high standards of buyer experience and brand consistency. A robust approach to pre-release quality control and testing will be essential in your headless ecommerce world.

You will need to invest in front-end development expertise, either in-house or with a trusted partner. You can choose developers with the best skills to create the buyer experience you want, and they won’t need to know the detail of your background systems.

You will also need to make sure that your marketing, customer service and after-sales teams work together to maintain the consistency your buyers are looking for.

Back

Choose an experienced business partner

Software as a Service (SaaS) ecommerce platforms, like Cloudfy, have already given developers greater freedom to harness the power of APIs to quickly create, test and deploy innovative new approaches.

Speak with one of our experts if headless ecommerce is the next step in your ecommerce journey.