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Navigating the headless commerce journey

The Contentstack TeamAug 11, 20233 min read

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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 commerce

Here are three key benefits of transitioning to headless commerce architecture. 

Flexibility in front-end design

Headless 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 agility

Headless 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 approach

Headless 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 experience

With 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 markets

Headless commerce makes it easy to add new channels, such as new websites, mobile apps, social media and physical stores. 

Integrate with existing systems

Integrate 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 debt

Headless 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 platform

There 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:

Headless commerce implementation

Once 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 more

Implementing 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.

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Sep 28, 2023 | 3 min. read

Achieve web personalization with a headless composable DXP

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Sep 25, 2023 | 3 min. read

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Unfortunately, there's almost nothing less engaging for content creators than manually tagging image after image for search and SEO purposes. But it's still a critical task. And that is what makes it an excellent job for AI. Recently, AI-powered automated image recognition has gotten smart enough to tag images in seconds—letting your content creators return to more profound work. 3. Scalable Personalization and Predictions AI also brings scalability to another important but nearly impossible task for human workers: tracking and using individual user behavior. AI can automate watching what each user on your website or app is doing simultaneously. Then, it can compile this data to look for patterns that will help it predict, based on past behavior, what each user might want next. This information can uplevel any marketing department's personalization efforts, from serving dynamic content to making product recommendations. And improving personalization has never been more critical. In the words of the management consulting firm McKinsey, “Personalization will be the prime driver of marketing success within five years." They found that leaders in personalization were already able to increase revenue by 5 to 15% and improve efficiency on marketing spend by 10 to 30%. 4. Time-Saving Content Creation Assistance And now for the big one: AI can be a big help when it comes to actually creating content. While the advance of AI integration into content creation may feel scary for some marketing professionals, an article created by Articoolo's artificial intelligence system, “A robot explains how to achieve the perfect work-life balance,” shows that there is a long way to go before "robots" will be able to match the tone or accuracy of human writers. Artificial intelligence is rapidly improving at creating original and personalized content ideas or nuanced content pieces. However, a well-trained AI tool should be able to contribute to straightforward writing projects such as news articles, factual reports, translations, transcriptions, and editing for accuracy. For now, in the content creation space, AI is a tool for improving the ROI of content marketing, which can often be resource-intensive. AI can do the legwork regarding research and data, while human writers can take this info and do the deep work required to create high-value, relevant content for each target customer. Imagining the Future of AI in Content Management Now that we've explored the main areas in which content management and artificial intelligence are already coming together to improve content operations, let's talk about a few ways AI may improve marketing even more. Interactions Between AI Tools Suppose you've used your voice-activated smart speaker (like a Google Home) to control something in your house (like turning on an smart-light from Philips Hue). In that case, you've experienced an interaction between two different AI-powered devices. And similar interactions are in store for the future of AI-powered tools in the content operations space. It's only a matter of time before AI-enabled content management systems (CMS) and other content platforms and tools can interact in innovative, automatic ways to provide faster functionality and better experiences for consumers and marketers alike. On-the-Spot SEO Improvements Taking the idea of sentiment analysis one step further, we predict that AI-enabled content management systems will soon be able to identify opportunities for SEO improvements in real time. This capability would empower marketing professionals to create more compelling content in less time, which will outperform competitors and rank well in search engines. Prepare your organization to respond to evolving market demands, new business threats, and emerging opportunities. The Gartner report guides you on modernizing and future-proofing your Digital Experience Platform (DXP). Download the Gartner report, "Future-proof your tech stack," to begin your journey towards a more agile, adaptable, and future-ready tech stack today. Content Gap Identification When you're in the thick of it all, it can be hard to see where your content may be lacking (or where your competitors' content may be lacking). But both situations allow you to fill those "gaps" and capture more traffic. One day, we hope AI will become smart enough to flag gaps and make recommendations so you can create fresh content that adds value and generates new leads. Customer Service Automation Customer service is another one of those expensive yet necessary parts of business. Fortunately, it can become less time- and money-intensive with the help of AI. Just like AI enables content folks to focus on deep work, AI-powered chatbots can facilitate customer service folks to do the same. While many of today's chatbots can address straightforward questions with answers pulled from a knowledge base, we look forward to when many queries don't have to be routed back to human agents. After all, it's the instantaneous and around-the-clock support consumers seek when interacting with brand chatbots. Get Started with Content Management and Artificial Intelligence with Contentstack The future of content ops is bright, thanks to content management and artificial intelligence. Your business can become a part of that bright future by adopting a composable CMS built to integrate with AI-enabled content management tools. And we only know one CMS of the sort: Contentstack. Contentstack is an agile CMS that’s part of the MACH revolution. That means it’s microservices-based, API-connected, cloud-native, and is built on headless architecture from the ground up. Because of Contentstack's decoupled nature, almost any modern, AI-powered content management tool can help your team with everything from automated content analysis to intelligent content creation and generation. Our turnkey apps and integrations with best-in-class tools like IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, and MonkeyLearn empower Contentstack users to leverage AI and reap various benefits. To get started, sign up for a free trial or a personalized demo today and see why the future of your content operation lies in your ability to integrate content management and artificial intelligence with the help of Contentstack.

Sep 19, 2023 | 3 min. read

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.