Choosing a Mobile CMS: A Buyer's Guide for Marketers and IT Teams
The phrases “mobile CMS” and “CMS mobile apps” are often used by marketing and IT decision-makers that need a platform for keeping content consistent across various devices (like smartphones and kiosks), platforms (like iOS and Android), or channels (like websites and social media).
It’s a term that makes a lot of sense for those accustomed to working with traditional, monolithic content management system (CMS) platforms, which connect content creation to how the system delivers the content to a device or channel. That’s because traditional CMS is an outdated solution in today’s omnichannel, mobile-first world.
The following explains why it’s now or never when it comes to choosing a modern CMS and how enterprise marketers and IT leaders can choose a mobile CMS ready to deliver on current demands.
Today’s Demands Mean It’s Time to Switch to Mobile CMS
If you’re using a CMS that isn’t built to work with mobile applications and other modern technology, you better find an alternative that is — that is, if you want to keep up with the competition.
Mobile apps are projected to generate more than 900 billion dollars globally by 2023. And, mobile purchases are expected to account for close to 54% of all ecommerce sales in 2021 alone.
Already, over 90% of all websites report seeing more unique visitors come from mobile devices than from desktop. And we’re inclined to listen when the search master — Google — tells us, “Mobile-friendly sites show up higher in search results.”
Many organizations still think it’s enough to take shortcuts when it comes to mobile-focused content delivery — such as simply shrinking their desktop-optimized marketing websites to mobile size and hoping that consumers are willing to navigate tiny navigation and deal with slow load times.
Unfortunately, today, that isn’t enough. When your website is not optimized for mobile consumers, they are five times more likely to leave your website.
All of the above is why mobile CMS isn’t just the way of the omnichannel future — it’s the way of today.
If you’re shopping for a truly mobile CMS, it’s time to ditch traditional and go headless.
What Makes a Mobile CMS?
Let’s start from the top because, ultimately, exploring what mobile CMS is more about what it isn’t. With a traditional CMS, the content is the “body,” and the front-end display (made up of things your audience can see like formatting, navigation, and layout) is the “head.” A traditional CMS is monolithic, meaning the body and the head are interconnected, so that content is formatted in the system for the devices on which it is to be published. This system worked fine when marketing was as simple as publishing static content to a single, static, web-based site.
Increased demand for content across more channels and devices — especially mobile ones — calls for removing those front-end handcuffs to create a headless CMS. A headless CMS is by its very nature mobile-friendly (and smartwatch friendly, and social media platform friendly, and so on) because no built-in front-end system determines how to display content to your audience.
With a headless CMS, content creators have all the tools and flexibility they need at their fingertips to create content, publish it to various sources, and even reoptimize and reuse content to create a new experience on every new platform that hits the market.
And at the same time, your front-end development and design pros have the freedom to create whatever display is best for a specific piece of content. All they have to do is use application programming interface (API) technology to pull in that freshly-created content, and your organization will have a cutting-edge content experience up and running in no time.
If you’re in the market for a headless mobile CMS, here are several traits we urge you to look for to ensure the growth of your enterprise.
Choosing a Headless Mobile CMS: Key Traits Enterprise Marketers and IT Teams Must Consider
With mobile usage exploding, you’re wise to start seeking out a mobile CMS that meets IT’s requirements while delivering the quick and creative marketing that will set your enterprise apart. Use this shopping list to make sure you don’t overlook any vital considerations when choosing a mobile-friendly headless CMS for your enterprise.
Built with Enterprise IT in Mind
It’s imperative to select a mobile CMS built to handle enterprise-level IT needs. While you should develop your parameters, we believe the most basic requirements should include the following:
- Guaranteed performance measures that ensure you’ll have steady uptime even when traffic spikes
- Security that includes various encryption methods, two-factor authentication, secure APIs, authenticated Webhooks, and more
- Rich developer tools like SDKs, migration scripts, web frameworks, static site generators, and APIs
- The flexibility to code in your preferred language, framework, and IDE so you can keep up with the latest technology
Another primary measure of whether or not a mobile CMS is enterprise-ready is how it scales. A typical solution is to add multiple time-consuming and expensive servers to run the CMS when traffic increases with a traditional CMS. A more enterprise-friendly solution would be a headless CMS platform. Since most headless platforms are cloud-hosted, the cloud infrastructure can automatically adjust to keep up with demand and avoid database bottlenecks when traffic grows.
Comes Equipped with a Mobile SDK and Optimized Delivery Features
Mobile apps have unique development needs and follow vastly different conventions than websites. If you’re shopping for a CMS that’s optimized to work with mobile apps, make sure to look for one that comes with a mobile-specific software development kit (SDK) that equips developers to build dynamic, custom mobile apps.
A headless CMS with a mobile SDK is beneficial. It allows developers to pull content into the app via API, enabling IT and content teams to work in tandem to get the app queued up for approval and launched that much faster.
If you’re curious what it looks like when a headless CMS and a mobile SDK come together to create a mobile app or mobile-friendly website, Contentstack has plenty of examples and documentation to help.
Additionally, your mobile CMS should be optimized to meet the nuances that accompany mobile content delivery. This optimization could include accounting for slow or impaired network connectivity and data transfer rates, minimizing media assets for faster load times, and more.
Caters to All Channels, Not Just Mobile
Implementing a CMS that only caters to mobile websites and apps misses the whole point of going omnichannel in the first place — to deliver content wherever it’s needed. Going headless with your mobile CMS is the only way to separate content and presentation so that whatever you publish will feel both consistent yet still natural no matter the device, platform, or operating system.
To take omnichannel a step further and tap into the powerful personalization that modern consumers crave, partner with a tech-agnostic mobile CMS provider. By plugging in their third-party customer insight applications, marketers and content managers can quickly personalize content without ever leaving the editing screen.
Allows for Content Updates Without Breaking or Resubmitting Your Apps|
A mobile CMS has a lot to offer when it comes to increasing agility in the marketplace. With a headless mobile CMS, marketing and content teams can start creating and publishing content even while your app sits waiting for app store approval. And once it is live, there’s no need to repeat the build/release/approval cycle every time you need to update the content. Because the app’s content and functionality are separate, you can tweak the content at any time.
This agility empowers organizations to keep up with fluid marketing goals and distribution channels without completely maxing out IT’s resources (and sanity).
Has Powerful Content Management and Collaboration Tools
Any mobile CMS you choose shouldn’t focus so hard on mobile-specific features that it loses sight of the people who use it to manage and publish content day after day. We recommend choosing a mobile CMS with a built-in editor with intuitive yet powerful features for creating, publishing, and managing content across the entire organization. That feature list might look a little something like this:
- In-line content previews that allow you to view content in a safe staging area before committing to the changes — complete with versioning and rollback if something does go wrong
- Powerful custom fields that let you do almost anything from adding a video to implementing SEO recommendations to pulling data from one of your third-party marketing applications
- Access controls and approval workflows so you can define content processes that align with business processes; all while enabling safe publishing and preventing unauthorized changes
- Internationalization and localization features that allow for easy deployment across multiple languages and locales
- Grouped content releases that simplify publishing the content around a specific project, event, or campaign
- Automated publishing that allows you to schedule time-sensitive content pushes ahead of time for hands-free updates
- The ability to create unlimited development, testing, staging, and other content environments
- Drag-and-drop features that allow non-technical users to build and edit dynamic pages without a developer’s help
Contains All the API Capabilities You Need
A headless mobile CMS allows you to leverage content creation and management features without sacrificing eye-catching design features or powerful functionality.
If you do end up looking at a headless mobile CMS, we recommend one that’s “API-first” — like other modern MACH technologies in its class. Many traditional CMSs tack on API features. Be sure to look for well-documented APIs that meet your querying complexity and flexibility requirements.
Integrates Into Your Existing Marketing and IT Systems
It often takes a good amount of trial and error before marketing, IT, and content teams can find a workflow that fits their unique needs for creating, publishing, and managing essential content assets. The right mobile CMS will complement that workflow instead of upending it and sending you back to square one.
Again, we have to recommend a headless mobile CMS platform for smoothly integrating into existing systems. A headless CMS is built to empower content-focused and tech-focused users to work together without stepping on each other’s toes.
You want to choose a headless CMS with a comprehensive API library that allows technology teams to build out the best front-end display. Additionally, you want a user-friendly editing tool where content editors can create entire pages without requiring developer support and opportunities for marketers to integrate the applications they rely on to launch effective campaigns.
While we can’t speak for every headless CMS provider, at Contentstack, we take integration seriously. That’s why we built out Experience Extensions that allow the content editing experience to be customized and extended and empower developers to create richer content experiences.
What you can create with Contentstack’s customizable fields and extensions is nearly limitless, but here are some common ways enterprise businesses are taking advantage of this exciting feature:
Video selector: Browse and select videos
This field displays the visual interface of a video platform like Brightcove or Ooyala to the user. The user can browse videos and select the required one from the available videos directly from Contentstack’s editor.
Conditional fields: Auto-populate a list of languages based on a selected country
When you select an option in the Country field (e.g., U.S.), the Languages field automatically populates that country’s languages (e.g., English, Spanish, French, and Chinese). The user can then choose from the options provided.
Code editor: Input and edit any code in the code editor
This field provides a code-editor interface to users for entering code. It helps the user format the code and enter relevant syntaxes, methods, etc.
Product catalog: Search external product databases
A product catalog search displays products from your ecommerce website to the editor in Contentstack. The editor can choose any product as the value of that field.
Add Marketo, Salesforce, or another cookie: Track user interaction across the web, Marketo, Salesforce, etc.
Integrate field storage system: Fetch files saved in your DAM
This field fetches and displays files you have saved in a DAM platform like Egnyte. The user can then browse these files and select the required one from the available options.
Which Mobile CMS Will You Choose?
The key to choosing a mobile CMS is making sure it’s easy to integrate into your enterprise IT stack. Additionally, the more user-friendly the CMS is, the more likely it is that content editors will use the CMS. Having an easy-to-use CMS is critical for fast-paced marketing teams who need to serve consistent content everywhere from websites to apps, kiosks, chatbots, smartwatches, voice assistants, and other home and IoT devices.
To be sure that your mobile CMS checks every single box on your requirements list, make sure that you get to try it before you buy it. It would help if you also looked into finding out what your ROI is going to be. In many cases, companies are finding that they can save thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars when switching from a traditional CMS platform to a headless, mobile-ready CMS like Contentstack.
Some other things to consider are reliability, scalability, and support. Choosing an enterprise-ready, mobile-first CMS that includes the features mentioned in this article ensures that you can speed up your time to market and guarantees that you can handle omnichannel delivery.
Contentstack’s ease of use, reliability, and return on investment are things we can guarantee so that you can handle omnichannel delivery today and tomorrow in our constantly-changing world.
Recommended for you:
5/26 hands-on workshop, "How to Use Behavior Tracking to Personalize Content With a Headless CMS."
Leveraging headless CMS for optimal page speed optimization and performance
A website's performance is critical in ensuring user satisfaction and improving bottom-line results. Thus, website speed, particularly the time it takes for a web page to load, has become an essential factor that marketing managers and developers must prioritize.A slow website can lead to lost traffic, decreased user engagement, and lower search engine rankings. Studies indicate that even a one-second delay in page loading time can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions.On the other hand, a fast website can result in increased user engagement, a lower bounce rate, and higher page views per session, which translates into higher search engine rankings.This blog will explore how a headless content management system (CMS) can improve page speed on desktop and mobile devices. We'll look more closely at the benefits of page speed optimization and how to achieve it using headless CMS.What is a headless CMS?First, let's understand what a headless CMS is and how it differs from a traditional CMS. A headless CMS is a content management system without a built-in front end. Instead of a traditional CMS's complete website management approach, a headless CMS separates the data and content on the back end from the presentation layer on the front end.The headless CMS provides APIs so the back-end and front-end can seamlessly communicate. This capability enables content to be called up and delivered to the front end, which developers build and maintain using static site generators like React, Angular, or Vue.How a headless CMS improves page speed optimizationHere's where page speed optimization's benefits come into play. With headless architecture, since the front end doesn't store or manage content, it can be optimized for speed and performance. This capability includes images, scripts, and server responses. Many front-end systems can also plug into a headless CMS to deliver consistent content to multiple devices and platforms, not just websites.One of the practical features of a headless CMS is that it allows for Content Delivery NetworkCDN) integration. A CDN acts as an intermediary server between the website and users in different parts of the world. By locally caching website components, a CDN can deliver content faster and reduce server response time, significantly improving website performance and speed.Case studies of companies implementing headless CMS include a well-known UK-based fashion retailer. The company reportedly improved its website's speed with headless CMS, enabling a 4x increase in page views per session and decreasing the bounce rate by 35%.By fixing common issues causing low page speed, a headless CMS enhances individual page performance and overall website speed. Slow-loading images and bloated scripts contribute to poor performance. With a headless CMS, developers can build a front-end that optimizes the size and quality of images and limits unnecessary scripts. A headless CMS can help boost website speed and overall performance by correctly leveraging server responses.Using techniques such as caching, CDNs, and image optimization to improve page speed helps to cache and compress content, reduce file size, and deliver content faster to users' browsers.Another way headless CMS can affect website speed optimization is by reducing server requests and server-side rendering. Creating server-side templates to generate HTML content is crucial for website speed optimization. With a headless CMS, the site is built in HTML and fully optimized for web crawlers and search engines. Additionally, server requests can be minimized as the website assets are spread between the client and server. This feature further assists in speeding up the website and reducing latency for the user.Another significant benefit of headless CMS is the flexibility it provides. A headless CMS enables businesses to build the front end using their preferred development tools and languages. The ability to choose the best tools for creating the front end helps ensure websites are faster, more responsive, and easier to maintain.Overall, headless CMS solutions offer extensive customization options. Developers can build websites specifically tailored to meet their needs and those of their customers. This approach provides a unique and highly engaging user experience, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.Headless can improve both page load time and TTFB.It's worth noting that headless the time to first byte (TTFB) and page load time. Page load time is the total time it takes to load a web page into a web browser. TTFB, on the other hand, measures the time between a user request and the reception of the first byte of data from the server. A high TTFB may lead to slower website performance. A Headless CMS allows developers to improve TTFB and overall site speed, resulting in faster loading times.Seamless mobile experiencesMobile-first is the new norm in website design and development, with users increasingly accessing websites from their smartphones and tablets. A headless CMS allows for responsive design and the ability to optimize the mobile experience separately from the desktop experience.Optimizing mobile apart from the desktop experience can include:Reducing the size of images and other media.Organizing scripts to load more efficiently.Ensuring the website is mobile-friendly and easy for those on the go.A headless CMS can improve website loading times and overall user experience for seamless mobile experiences.Why does page speed matter?Over a decade ago, Google announced that it would consider desktop page speed when analyzing search rankings. Then, in 2018, Google said it would also begin thinking about page speed for mobile searches. Mobile searches are the main reason it's so important to measure page speed against industry benchmarks for mobile and desktop searches and then continuously work toward improving performance.It's believed that when two sites rank similarly on Google, speed can be the deciding factor in one outranking the other.Speed tests like Google PageSpeed Insights help developers identify and rectify page speed issues. It tests speed and provides recommendations on how to improve it. Besides PageSpeed Insights, there are a variety of tools available for testing speed, including, but not limited to:SematextPingdom Speed TestWebPage TestDareBoostDotcom-monitorUptrendsGTmetrixSince search engines like Google consider page speed in their rankings, optimizing speed can boost your rankings in search results. Here's more information on how page speed impacts conversion rates and search engine ranking.And since most users are on mobile devices, faster mobile site performance is particularly crucial, as search engines prioritize mobile-first indexing.As you might imagine, page speed improvements also enhance conversion rates, ensuring online shoppers have a seamless and enjoyable user experience while navigating your site. It makes perfect sense since pages that load faster tend to have lower bounce rates, an indicator of better user engagement.Remember, a bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to the site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages on the site. Most websites aim for a bounce rate of 40% or lower. A lower bounce rate typically translates to a higher conversion rate. It makes sense that the longer a user stays on a site (e.g., an e-commerce site) viewing different pages, the more likely they'll convert to a customer by making a purchase.Recap: how to improve page speed optimization and performanceOne of the primary ways to increase the loading speed of a website is by optimizing the image and script files. By compressing image files, you can reduce the loading time, and by eliminating unnecessary scripts, you can boost website performance. Mobile page speed optimizations can be quickly implemented with a headless CMS.Another essential way to improve website performance is by reducing server response times. Customers prefer fast and efficient websites, and a slow server response time reduces click-through rates and conversions. With a headless CMS, you can ensure faster response times by setting up caching mechanisms that help customers access frequently accessed data faster.A CDN can also help optimize page speed. A CDN can be beneficial if your website has users worldwide as it caches content on its servers distributed globally. When a customer accesses your website, the CDN delivers the content from the server closest to their location, resulting in faster load speed.These improvements can provide seamless customer experiences on websites and mobile devices in the long run. The result is happier customers who will keep coming back.Ready to go headlessA headless CMS like Contentstack is a powerful tool for optimizing page speed and website performance. Its flexible architecture lets developers focus on front-end development while ensuring faster server response times and efficient back-end processes. By improving website speed and user experience, businesses can enhance their conversion rates, improve their SEO rankings, and generate higher revenue.Whether you're a marketer, CMO, or developer, optimizing your website's page speed can provide numerous benefits, and there's no better time to get started than now.Learn moreDiscover how to drive seamless digital customer experiences with a composable UX, as advised by Gartner. Learn to develop an organization-wide digital experience strategy and apply total experience principles to bridge the gap in digital experiences. Understand the importance of customer data management and journey intelligence in achieving a composable UX. Overcome the challenges of siloed UX approaches and monolithic technologies to deliver consistent experiences across channels. Download the report today.
Headless web development: what you need to know
Headless web development is more than just a new trend. It’s an evolutionary step in web development that breaks down barriers to flexibility and scalability in traditional website creation. Taking the headless approach, websites can be built much faster, updated frequently, and integrated with other applications to deliver more engaging and interactive user experiences.The shift to headless web development has been driven greatly by the consumer demand for personalized digital experiences on multiple channels, and it’s quickly becoming a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. If you want to create more flexible, scalable, and engaging websites while getting the most from your digital content, headless web development is worth considering.This blog will explain headless web development, highlight the benefits for marketers, content creators, developers, and business teams, provide tips on choosing the right headless content management system (CMS), and more.What is headless web development?In websites built the traditional way, the front-end code is dependent on back-end code and siloed, and any changes to one part require changes to the other. Making updates can be time-consuming and slow. And there’s no easy way to repurpose website content for use on other channels.Headless web development solves these problems by separating the front-end presentation layer from the CMS on the back end. With headless, the job of the front-end code is to display content, while the back-end code stores and manages it. This allows the front end to be developed and maintained independently of the back-end code, making it simpler to update.An application programming interface (API) is different from a CMS. However, APIs are essential for headless platforms because they enable the back to communicate with the user interface (UI) on the front end. APIs also enable connecting the back end to additional “heads” besides the website framework, such as additional websites or mobile apps. So, in essence, even though a headless platform doesn’t have one head – it can connect via APIs to multiple “heads” (e.g., channels, websites, mobile apps).How headless design worksWhen a website is created with a headless design approach, the content is stored in a central repository, such as a headless CMS. The front-end framework or technology delivers this content to the presentation layer. This gives designers and developers more freedom to create the user experience they want without being limited by the capabilities of their CMS.More businesses are shifting to headless design as they adopt microservices architectures. In a microservices architecture, each software application is responsible for a specific task, such as managing content, rendering the UI, or handling payments. These different applications can be integrated to work seamlessly, yet they are independent. This makes it easier to develop and maintain each application without impacting other functionality, and it also enables the scaling of applications over time as your business needs change.With headless design, organizations can also future-proof their websites because they aren’t tied to a specific front-end framework. They can instead easily change front-end technology or even the components in their tech stacks without impacting the CMS. This eliminates the need for lengthy migrations and downtime when changing the look or functionality of your websites.What is the role of the user interface in headless?In headless design, the UI displays the content stored in the headless CMS. The UI can be any front-end framework or technology you choose, such as Gatsby, Next.js, Vue.js, React, and Angular.The UI can create various user experiences, including responsive websites viewable on any device or custom mobile app.The UI is also responsible for handling user interactions, such as clicking links or filling out forms. The UI uses data from the headless CMS to respond to these user interactions in an automated yet meaningful way, often leveraging relevant content personalized for each specific audience.When designing a UI for a headless application, keep these things in mind: the UI should be flexible enough to be used on a variety of devices and platforms, performant enough so that it doesn’t slow down the application, secure to protect user data and accessible to all users including those with disabilities.Using headless architecture to create efficient static sitesIn static website design, headless architecture can be used to create more lightweight, efficient, and secure websites. By decoupling the front end from the back end, developers can use different technologies for each layer, leading to better performance and security.Here are some of the benefits of using headless architecture in static website design:Lightweight and efficientHeadless websites are typically smaller and faster than traditional websites, as they do not have to include the code for the front end. This can lead to faster load times, improved performance, and better SEO.ScalableHeadless websites are easily scaled up or down to meet demand. This makes them ideal for businesses that experience seasonal traffic spikes or need to handle many concurrent users.SecureHeadless websites can be more secure than traditional websites, as the front end is not responsible for storing or processing sensitive data. This helps to protect against data breaches and other security threats.FlexibleHeadless websites give developers more flexibility to choose the technologies they want. This provides more freedom to create custom websites that meet specific business needs.Headless architecture is a powerful tool that can be used to create static websites that are more flexible, scalable, and secure. Headless architecture is a good option for a new website design.Using headless for e-commerceHeadless platforms are ideal for e-commerce sites because they don’t limit third-party applications' use. For example, an e-commerce business could use a headless CMS to manage its product catalog and then use a headless checkout solution to process payments. With headless, the back-end codebase is separated from front-end features like storefronts, product information and inventory management platforms, marketing and sales platforms, payment systems, and more.Among the many advantages, headless architecture frees businesses to choose the best-of-breed solutions for each of their unique needs rather than being locked into solutions approved by a website vendor. Other advantages of headless e-commerce include the ability to update omnichannel content quickly, keep up with e-commerce innovation as technology advances, quickly design digital storefronts, and perform A/B testing to identify the most effective design and content. Check out our “Headless e-commerce” guide for more information about the benefits.How headless benefits different teamsHeadless web development benefits marketers, content editors, developers, and even business teams. Here’s a brief overview of these benefits.DevelopersBecause developers aren’t limited by back-end conventions, they gain more freedom to be creative. With Headless, they can focus on developing new features to engage your audience and less time on mundane content edits and updates.MarketersHeadless websites empower marketers to act with greater speed and agility, whether responding to a change in the market, user feedback, or something else entirely. They can get campaigns and promotions to market faster, pivot quickly when needed, and get better results as they optimize user experiences.Content creators and editorsHeadless makes it easier and faster for content creators and editors to publish new content or make updates, whether pushing the content to one website or multiple channels. They can make the content change in one place and then push it to all the endpoints where it’s needed. And they can do this without coding experience or having to submit tickets to developers.Business teamsWith Headless, business teams can more easily and quickly roll out new products and services and expand into new territories while delivering consistent messaging across all the channels they use for customer engagement. They become empowered to focus on growing the business with confidence that their CMS has the agility to keep up.Choosing a suitable headless CMSHere are some factors to consider and questions to ask when choosing a headless CMS:Your unique business needsWhat are your specific requirements for a headless CMS? Do you need a system that can be used to create and manage content for a variety of channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices? Do you need a system that offers a lot of flexibility and customization? Do you need a system that is easy to use and manage?Developer functionality and ease of useHeadless CMSes are a bit more technically oriented than traditional CMSes, so you'll need to ensure that your chosen system is easy for developers to use. The system should also have a well-documented API that allows developers to integrate it with other systems easily.Omnichannel capabilityCan the headless CMS you're considering be used to create and manage content for all your channels? This is an essential consideration if you want to be able to deliver your content to users on the devices they prefer.Content and authoring role workflowHow does the headless CMS you're considering handle content creation and management? Does it offer a user-friendly interface for content authors? Does it allow for different levels of access and permissions so content approvers can access the system?Technical and sales supportWhat kind of technical and sales support does the headless CMS vendor offer? Is a dedicated team of experts available to help you with your implementation and ongoing needs?CostDoes the headless CMS you're considering align with your budget? Does the vendor offer different pricing plans for different needs?A clear strategyBefore you start building your headless website, developing a clear strategy for how you want to use it is essential. This will help you avoid making unnecessary changes down the road.Are you ready to amplify digital experiences?From faster publishing times and website updates to seamlessly rolling out new channels, products, and services without downtime or impacting other functionality, we’ve covered many benefits of transitioning to headless. However, we want to emphasize that none is more important than the freedom it gives organizations to amp up user experience to engage existing customers better and attract new ones.By removing many of the limitations of traditional, monolithic systems, headless platforms like Contentstack enable organizations to move with greater speed and agility to deliver consistent and relevant content to users across multiple channels in multiple formats while incorporating features like localization as well as digital tools ranging from analytics and automation to payment processing.If you’d like to learn how Headless can help your organization amplify digital experiences, schedule a free Contentstack demo today.
Headless commerce architecture: revolutionizing e-commerce for the future
Headless commerce is a transformative approach revolutionizing the ecommerce landscape. This article delves into the fundamentals of headless commerce, its benefits and challenges, factors to consider when choosing a headless commerce platform, and some implementation best practices.What is headless commerce architecture?Headless commerce architecture is an innovative ecommerce framework that decouples the presentation layer – the user interface that consumers interact with – from the functional layer or the back end. This separation allows businesses to manage and update components that control features and functionality independently, leading to enhanced agility and ability for customization.The evolution of ecommerce architectures from monolithic to headless has been transformative and necessary to meet the dynamic needs of the digital market. Understanding this evolution provides valuable insights into the advantages of headless commerce.Advantages of headless commerceHeadless commerce architecture offers many benefits, including unparalleled flexibility, seamless scalability, and enhanced user experiences. Let’s explore how it excels beyond traditional legacy architectures.Flexibility and customizationWith headless commerce, businesses can create unique user experiences, cater to specific customer segments, and respond quickly to customer feedback and market trends.Faster development and deploymentsIndependent front-end and back-end development enables faster updates and rollouts of new features without disrupting ecommerce processes that keep your store up and running.Improved user experienceHeadless commerce architecture empowers marketers to deliver seamless and personalized user experiences across devices, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.Ease of useMaking content updates no longer requires a developer. Marketers, designers, and other business users can easily make updates without technical expertise and help from the IT team. Little to no coding is required to make changes to the presentation layer.Challenges of headless commerce architectureThere are a few challenges that businesses should be aware of before adopting headless commerce architecture, including:ComplexityHeadless commerce can be more complex to implement than traditional e-commerce architectures. This is because businesses need to develop two separate applications, the front-end and the back-end.CostHeadless commerce can be more expensive to implement than traditional e-commerce architectures. This is because businesses need to develop two separate applications, the front-end and the back-end.IntegrationBusinesses must integrate the front-end and back-end to deliver a seamless shopping experience. This can be a complex and challenging process.Choosing the best headless commerce solutionThere are many factors to consider when choosing the right headless commerce solution. TypeThere are two main headless commerce architectures: hybrid headless and pure headless. Hybrid headless architectures use a decoupled front-end and back-end, but the front-end is still connected to the back-end through a traditional API. Pure headless architectures have no front end, giving you the most flexibility in building your front end.FeaturesDepending on your business needs, choose a headless commerce platform that offers specific features, such as multi-channel selling, product recommendations, or personalization.Customer SupportThink realistically about the level of support your IT team will need when implementing headless commerce architecture. Some headless commerce vendors offer more support than others. If you need a lot of help with implementation or troubleshooting, you'll need to choose a vendor offering support without compromise.Current Tech StackIf you already have a lot of investment in a particular tech stack, you'll need to consider how well it will integrate with a headless commerce solution. Some headless commerce platforms are more flexible than others, so you'll need to research to find one that will work with your existing systems.BudgetThe cost of headless commerce can vary greatly depending on the platform you choose, the features you need, and the size of your business.Future plansIf you plan to expand your e-commerce business, you must ensure your headless commerce solution can support your growth. Some headless commerce platforms are more scalable than others, so you must choose one that can meet your future needs.Security requirementsSome headless commerce platforms have built-in security features, but you may need to add additional security measures to protect your data.Implementation: headless commerce best practicesTransitioning from a traditional, monolithic architecture to headless commerce can be complex. That’s why an incremental approach is often the best choice. Essentially, you can roll out different APIs over time rather than taking down your whole platform and building a new one. Here are some factors to take into account when implementing headless commerce architecture.Ensure your teams are readyTransitioning to headless commerce architecture requires buy-in and commitment from the top leaders to your marketing and IT teams. Getting this level of commitment may require education on the benefits of headless and training on how to use the system. It’s vital to have a skilled development team proficient in implementing headless commerce, so this team needs to get up to speed first. Then, before implementation, marketing and other business users may require training on previewing and publishing content and understanding workflow processes.Integrations with existing systemsUnderstand how your existing ecommerce systems and apps will integrate into the headless commerce architecture. Your IT team will need to understand what customizations will be required so that multiple apps and systems work seamlessly together.SecurityHeadless commerce can expose your e-commerce data to more attack vectors, so you must ensure your security measures are up to par. Some headless commerce platforms have built-in security features, but you may need to add additional security measures to protect your data.Learn MoreOur pioneering headless CMS empowers creative professionals and modern developers to deliver composable digital experiences at uncompromising scale and dependability.Schedule a free demo to see how Contentstack’s headless CMS can help your brand deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Navigating the headless commerce journey
E-commerce is evolving rapidly, in synch with customer expectations. Successful businesses must continuously implement new solutions to improve user experiences. Headless commerce architecture is a game-changer for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition. In this blog, we’ll define headless commerce, explore key benefits, look at how businesses use it, and how to determine if it's right for your business.What is headless commerce?Headless commerce is an architectural approach that decouples the front-end display from the back-end e-commerce application. It differs significantly from traditional monolithic architectures, where the front and back end are tightly integrated. The back end houses application programming interfaces (APIs). These components can be developed and deployed separately from each other. This decoupling makes it easier for businesses to make changes or add new features without disrupting their e-commerce processes. Consequently, these organizations become more flexible and agile when delivering personalized customer experiences across multiple channels.3 benefits of headless commerceHere are three key benefits of transitioning to headless commerce architecture. Flexibility in front-end designHeadless commerce empowers marketers, content creators, and designers to create custom user experiences. They become empowered to tailor user experiences by brand, target audience, or specific customer segments. And they can work in the headless commerce platform without coding skills or technical expertise. These teams can experiment with layouts, visuals, and interactions on multiple channels. They aren’t limited by fear of making mistakes, back-end constraints, or developer availability.Headless commerce facilitates the development of responsive designs that seamlessly adapt to various devices and screen sizes. The result is a consistent and user-friendly shopping experience for customers on every device.Scalability and agilityHeadless commerce allows businesses to quickly add or modify features and functionality as they grow or expand into new markets. They can more quickly respond to market demands and customer feedback, staying ahead of competitors.As technology changes, headless commerce architecture has the capability to evolve in parallel. As new software and services become available that customers expect for convenience, businesses can effortlessly integrate these cutting-edge technologies, such as AI-driven personalization or virtual reality shopping.Omnichannel approachHeadless commerce enables customers to interact with your brand the way they want. Customers enjoy a consistent shopping experience across multiple channels, regardless of where or what device they use. They can even switch between channels without losing their shopping progress or data.Leveraging headless commerce, companies can unify their online and offline sales channels, inventory, and customer data. This approach streamlines operations, minimizes redundancies, and enhances the user experience.Is your business ready for headless commerce?The transition to headless commerce can be complex. However, it’s well worth it for businesses willing to take the plunge. Headless commerce is an especially good choice for businesses that have the desire to do the following.Create custom user experiences tailored to their brand and target audience.Quickly expand to new markets or channels with fast rollouts.Streamline management of multiple channels and websites with one platform.Deliver a seamless customer experience across multiple channels.Be agile and responsive to changing technology, customer feedback, and customer expectations.Here are several use cases to demonstrate how businesses are using headless commerce.Personalize customer experienceWith headless commerce, businesses can create custom user experiences for their customers with omnichannel reach by leveraging different front-end frameworks and technologies. These include analytics tools that gauge customer feedback, enabling unique and engaging experiences for each customer segment.Reach customers on new channels and in new marketsHeadless commerce makes it easy to add new channels, such as new websites, mobile apps, social media and physical stores. Integrate with existing systemsIntegrate headless commerce with systems you already use, such as CRMs, marketing automation platforms, and customer support systems. As data is shared across multiple systems, creating a more seamless customer experience is easier.Reduce technical debtHeadless commerce architecture enables the migration of new technologies with little disruption to ecommerce processes and user experiences. It’s also typically easier and less expensive to maintain.Choosing the right headless commerce platformThere are many headless commerce platforms available. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Some factors to consider when assessing each platform include pricing and customer support. Also, look at each platform’s:API capabilitiesIntegration capabilitiesSupport for third-party applicationsScalabilityPricingHeadless commerce implementationOnce you've chosen a headless commerce platform, you must integrate it with your existing systems and databases. This may involve integrating with your product catalog, your order management system, your payment gateway, and other systems.The integration process will vary depending on the specific platforms and systems involved. However, most headless commerce platforms provide tools and documentation to help you with the integration process.With a headless commerce platform, you can develop custom front-end experiences for your ecommerce website. This means you can create experiences that are tailored to your specific audience and business goals.There are a number of different ways to develop custom front-end experiences for a headless commerce platform. You can use a variety of frameworks and technologies.Learn moreImplementing a headless commerce platform can be a complex process in the beginning. However, making the transition can streamline, speed up, and simplify processes in the long run. As we’ve mentioned, the benefits are many. The most important one is offering customers seamless experiences that promote brand loyalty now and into the future.Learn more about the benefits of headless commerce in our guide, “The Ultimate Headless Commerce Roadmap.”Schedule a free demo to see how Contentstack’s composable content experience platform can help your organization navigate the headless commerce journey.
How to transform your content creation with generative AI
Content marketing is a key part of an effective marketing strategy. Unfortunately, content creation can be tedious, time-intensive and difficult to scale alongside your business. Generative artificial intelligence (AI) offers an alternative approach: Artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT and other AI chatbots can create pieces of content based on patterns observed in existing data resources.By leveraging the power of generative AI, businesses can produce high-quality, personalized content quickly and efficiently, without having to invest significant resources into its creation. In this blog post, we'll explore how generative AI works and the ways it can help transform your marketing initiatives.Benefits of using generative AI for content creationGenerative AI has the potential to revolutionize content creation. Using natural language processing (NLP), generative AI can create large amounts of content quickly and accurately, allowing businesses to scale up their content creation faster than ever before. In addition to saving time and money, generative AI opens up new content marketing possibilities for brands. Content creators can use machine learning to develop a better understanding of their target audiences and how best to reach and connect with them, then hone their content to align with the audiences’ needs.Content also plays an essential role in the customer experience. Your content is your opportunity to demonstrate to customers that you are listening to what they want and what’s most important to them. That means being able to react quickly to trends and news events, and with AI generated content, it’s easier to incorporate new information and developments more quickly, accurately and effectively to maintain a positive customer experience.Generative AI can also use its understanding of your customers to ensure the content is relevant to them. This kind of precisely targeted content would normally take content creators days or weeks to create; with generative AI tools, that process can be shortened to a few hours or less.How to get startedDefine your content strategyBefore you can begin using generative AI to create content, it’s important to establish a content strategy, and that starts with defining your vision for your content. What do you hope to achieve with your content, and what types of content are best to achieve it? What topics do you want to cover? What tone and style of writing are you looking for?The more information and guidance you can provide, the more efficient the generative AI can be in creating the content — and the more effective that content will be. Once you have a good understanding of your needs and a solid content strategy, you can start the search for the right tool to execute it.Find the right tool for the jobThere are a number of different AI tools on the market that can be used for content generation, and some tools are better suited for certain tasks than others. For example, Writesonic and Jasper are better suited to creating written content; Type Studio is more geared towards podcasts, streams, and interviews; for more design- or visually-focused content, Designs.ai may be a better solution. You’ll need to do some research on generative AI tools to find the option that best suits your content marketing needs.Train the AI toolWhat makes ChatGPT such an effective AI chatbot? Training. Using reams of text from the open internet, ChatGPT’s developers assigned the program a simple directive: Predict the next word in a text string, over and over. Over the course of trillions of predictions, the large language model (LLM) learned not just how to predict the next word but also learned to apply its training data to answer questions and complete tasks assigned to it. In other words, ChatGPT wasn’t always as advanced as it is today — it had to be trained.The same concept applies to other generative AI tools. You will need to train your AI tool on the finer points (such as your brand voice and the types of content you want it to generate) before it can start generating pieces of content that resonate with your customers. And the more data you can provide, the better the results will be.Generate, edit and publish your contentOnce you have trained your AI tool, you can begin using it to generate content. Depending on the tool you are using and your content needs, you may be able to generate large amounts of content very quickly.It’s important to remember that once you have generated your content, it will need to be edited and formatted before publishing. This is particularly important in the early stages of using generative AI tools: The editing process will help you determine if the AI needs more training on tone or your brand voice.Improving the quality of your AI contentUse high-quality dataTo ensure high-quality AI-generated content, you need to start with data that is complete, accurate and free of errors. If your data is of poor quality or contains errors, your AI-generated content will likely reflect that.Choose the right algorithmThere are a variety of AI algorithms that can be used for content generation. Some are better suited for generating short pieces of content like social media posts and blurbs, while others are designed with longer pieces of content in mind, so it's vital that you choose the right algorithm for your specific needs.Evaluate and improve your AI modelAfter you've trained your AI model, it's important to evaluate it to see how well it's performing. This can be done by having humans read and rate the AI generated content and suggest areas of improvement. Those refinements can then be fed back into the generative AI and used as additional training data, which helps the tool avoid similar missteps in future content.Keep an eye on future developmentsAI technology is constantly evolving and improving, and the AI landscape might look drastically different a year from now. It's important to keep an eye on where AI is going to ensure that you can capitalize on future developments and continue producing high-quality AI generated content.Potential challenges of using generative AI solutionsGenerative AI tools have the potential to revolutionize content creation, but there are still potential challenges you should be aware of.Generative AI is still in its early stages of development, which means there are limited data sets available to train generative AI models — and as a result, these models are often biased toward the training data set. If your data doesn’t align with the training data set, the generative AI tool might choose to ignore that data at first. It may take a few tries to get the model to accept your data and incorporate it into its learning.Generative AI models can also be expensive to develop and train, both in terms of money and IT resources. And even though they are a great tool for quickly creating robust and effective content, there may be a ceiling on the quality of AI generated content. If high-quality — i.e., exceptionally well-written and thoroughly researched — articles and blog posts are a priority for your brand, generative AI may not be able to produce the kind of content that meets your standards. (At least, not yet.)There is also the question of authenticity. As consumers become more exposed to AI generated content, will they develop an ability to tell the difference between content written by a human and content written using artificial intelligence? And if they do, will that affect how they view that content? It’s unclear if that will be the case, but organizations that use AI-generated content should keep a close eye on how those pieces of content are received by their audience.Generative AI is an ambitious and exciting technology that offers endless possibilities for content creation, from increasing efficiency to creating entirely new forms of visual and written content. But before you go all-in on generative AI, it’s essential to understand the complexities of generative AI tools so you can overcome any potential challenges you may encounter during implementation. With the right tools and planning, generative AI can play an invaluable role in transforming your content marketing.Learn moreWatch this episode of "Contentstack LIVE" with Contenstack VP of Product Conor Egan to learn more about the power of generative AI and how Contentstack leverages ChatGPT in our AI Assistant.Schedule a free demo to learn how you can scale content creation and elevate your digital experience using AI Assistant and our composable DXP.