How Headless Commerce is Revolutionizing the World of e-Commerce

By Nicola Kinsella, VP of Global Marketing, Fluent Commerce

According to the 2021 Consumer Trends report, 56 percent of people would like to shop online more since the pandemic hit. The world of e-commerce is dependent on consumer behavior, so as shoppers change their preferences, retailers and brands must adapt. Traditional systems are rigid and lack the flexibility needed to meet these demands. By contrast, headless commerce assists companies with crafting seamless and consistent experiences across channels. It enables companies to create a positive user experience while decoupling the presentation layer from the back-end systems. This allows retailers to give their customers what they want, when they want it.

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How does headless commerce affect today’s consumers?

As technology moves further ahead, people are no longer as patient with mistakes. More than a quarter of consumers listed convenience as a deciding factor on where they shop. With consistent e-commerce advancements, if you aren’t making strides forward, you will be falling behind.

Consumer preferences are adapting at record speed as well. You need to have the ability to shape the customer experience—and do it well—which includes making sure you can control what you sell and where you sell it. This not only applies regionally, as customer preferences may differ, but it also applies globally. Having the ability to adjust what you sell by product or category and where—stores, marketplaces and more—will put you ahead of the game.

There is also the need to balance supply and demand, alongside business objectives and promotions. Adapting your strategy in real-time in order to keep up with trends will help you move ahead of your competitors. But there are further optimization opportunities too. What are your customers buying? When are they buying these products? And how much are they spending? Where are the goods being delivered to?

Knowing where you are delivering orders is helpful so you can compare that to where you are sourcing and shipping your products from. This is another great opportunity to optimize and get products to your customers even faster. Remember, no two baskets are the same and you will want to capture all of that data—and then use it to improve and automate your decision making moving forward. A headless commerce system can help you to create a best-in-class customer experience for all your buyer personas, which will lead to better customer service, a better customer experience and higher brand loyalty.

Key benefits

Digital agility will help you to guide and influence where your customers shop. This is why it’s critical to have an API-first approach. Today’s headless commerce platform can be used on various user interfaces such as the web, mobile apps, kiosks, third-party marketplaces or even social media websites.

Variables are hard to deal with across the board. Retailers are selling different things, in different regions and across different channels. If you don’t have a system that is easy to use and gives you the control to make changes quickly, it can be really frustrating and time consuming. Moving to a headless approach helps to combat all these difficulties and allows for a more personalized experience for consumers. Aside from the special offers, promotions and rewards points, you can use your own customer data to capitalize on the buying experience.

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How does my Order Management System (OMS) tie into this?

Your Order Management System (OMS) is the cornerstone of your commerce operations, connecting systems, syncing inventory, and serving your availability master. Additionally, it keeps track of the stock you have Available to Promise (ATP) in real time no matter the market, channel, and region. In addition to the one already mentioned, your OMS serves several critical functions:

  • Allows users to control what is sold and provides a tailored customer experience
  • Enables inventory and data sharing with other systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Point of Sale (POS), Drop Ship Vendors (DSVs) and marketplaces
  • Improves stock accuracy and product availability which limits over or underselling
  • Grants users the ability to accept backorders and preorders
  • Supports phased rollouts to reduce business risk and change management

Are you ready to take a head-on approach?

Flexibility has become a key selling point to businesses and consumers alike. Monolithic systems are expensive to maintain and too rigid to cater to today’s shopper. Companies must be able to pivot quickly when the market moves like it has over the past two years. This includes things such as adding new channels and diversifying a shopping experience. You’ll need to know if your current commerce platform supports headless and if you have the product and inventory data you need to craft the right approach.

Ultimately, we suggest finding an OMS that is designed to be fluid and adaptable to the evolving needs of businesses and consumers. Key factors when making this decision include offering fast, convenient fulfillment options and making sure customers are provided with the most accurate view of product availability. In this day and age, there is no room to leave anyone disappointed.

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