Hold on, give it a minute.
This is not another piece about how"you need to buy this product" (spoiler alert, I don't even have a product), actually, it’s about a movement.
Headless systems are on the rise and it’s important you know about it and get on board.
My goal is to help people get up to speed with headless and explain some considerations to get you started on the right path for the future.
Put simply, a headless approach enables you to control core capabilities such as content, products, data and business rules behind the curtains. This lets you send that information through APIs to many channels such as websites, apps, voice or even AR/VR.
This enables you to have best-in-class tools and use them in multiple ways and through multiple channels.
Your front end can then be designed and built to deliver the flexibility brands need to stand out amongst the crowd today.
Content Management Systems
This is often the first thing that comes to mind when speaking about headless. One content hub to rule it all.
Think of the scenario of typical apparel or fashion company in the market today, one example I am aware of is ALDO group. They have multiple brands, websites, channels and languages.
Using a headless CMS, they can use just one tool, one user-friendly content system that is driven through APIs. You can push the relevant content to all of their digital experiences in all of the languages and not have to use one line of code.
A CMS also allows you to create an approval workflow so marketing can own the content management. This gives your development team up to 50% more time focusing on improving digital experiences.
A flexible and scalable commerce platform for all channels
eCommerce, the buzz word of 2020. Just as with a headless CMS, a headless eCommerce system works by passing requests between the presentation (front end) and application layers through web services or application programming interface (API) calls.
For instance, when the user clicks the “add to cart” button on their smartphone, the presentation layer of the headless eCommerce system sends an API call to the application layer. Actioning the leg work such as check inventory and verifying the price, tax and shipping.
This means a few things:
- No code to manage commerce, products and pricing, you’re product team can do it all from a clean user interface
- Flexibility to create any shopping experience you want with endless customization
- Agile marketing to make changes quickly, no backlogs and prioritization
- The speed of your commerce will be rewarded, a report by Deloitte found 0.1-second site speed improvement resulted in a 10.1% increase conversions and a 1.9% increase in average order value.
Goodbye search, hello content discovery
The last topic I’ll mention is search. This is a topic that people often consider to be just a box in the corner of a website that you find products from.
Firstly, search sucks. Secondly, people have started to realize this and are on a journey to fix it.
Using an API-first search product allows you to pull data from commerce, CMS, CRM and even your ERP. This lets you display capabilities like instant or suggested search allowing you to show and push specific information to your customers.
The world of digital has become so saturated that customers just want to find what they are looking for instantly. If they can find it fast they convert fast and they buy more, it’s a simple equation really.
Think about the use cases that companies like Lacoste have at their fingertips using a headless search, push the products with the highest margin, using suggestive search to push the new brand launch, use customer data to personalize customer suggestions.
Search as a Service is a quick way to recognise improvements to your website. The powerful part is you can get started on your headless journey with search today without the costs of a full website redesign.
There are endless other examples of headless applications that can be plugged into the stack that will help brands stand out in a world full of sameness. At the core of all the capabilities are a few things:
- Allowing your teams to take back control of the product, marketing and content management, let the developers create new experiences and not spend their time maintaining them.
- Data is available and at the ready. Using one tool to serve multiple channels and regions means you have one data set, one dashboard and one source of truth for what is working in your experiences
- Agility and flexibility are given back to your teams. They no longer need to change 5 back end tools to change how something looks and feels. They can create the front end experience without taking on tech debt with every move
- Foundations to endure. You can now scale tooling, capabilities, channels and regions without needing to re-platform. The point solutions are gone and you now have an ecosystem and a digital platform that you can plug new tools into as you grow. This is especially important for emerging technology as you might run a short test of a new voice experience or maybe a VR product display.
The true benefit of headless is flexibility. You don’t need full platform implementations nor do you need to silo out a team. You can move to a headless approach over time.
Pick a problem you need to fix, make it something that keeps you up at night and has company-wide exposure. Any one of those topics can be implemented to your experiences without needing to deal with the legacy of what you have today.
If this has sparked your interest, given you an itch to learn more or you want to hear it straight, I'd welcome connecting to share more content or talking about some more examples of how to get started. Connected with me on LinkedIn here!