Ties Luijendijk, Business Consultant

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Multi-channel e-commerce,

brand experience and the choice for headless

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Multi-channel e-commerce, brand experience and the choice for headless

Optimum brand experience now and in the future

When clients express a clear desire or wish that their customers be given the option to make online purchases through multiple channels, we (often) advise opting for a headless or API-driven architecture.  With a headless architecture, the front end or presentation layer (the head) is disconnected from the e-commerce platform and other backend systems that you have as an organization. This gives you a lot of flexibility to set up different channels entirely according to your own wishes and customer preference. You can adapt your (rich) content fully to the channel and give your customers an optimum brand experience. Adapting the front end to enable experimentation, optimization, or providing temporary marketing themes - all of these are possible. An e-commerce environment with a headless architecture is also extremely future-proof. It can easily keep up with changing propositions and/or international expansion. Our headless solution lends itself well to multi-brand and multilingual needs. Where traditional CMSs centralize content management across multiple channels, a headless solution is more tailored to web-based channels (PC, mobile), in mobile apps, on smartwatches, a stand-alone kiosk, outlet online stores and so on. There is also no need for the back-end to be overhauled when a new channel is added. Expanding the brand experience to include emerging popular channels has never been so easy.

The technology: API-first and PWA

In e-commerce there are often loosely coupled environments, and headless is therefore mainly an API-first matter. All the components in the e-commerce environment have an API, which makes them easy to link and integrate. These can be links to parts within one's own environment(s), but also links to third parties. These links range from ERP systems to marketplaces and other online (martech) platforms. Or vice versa, third parties can easily connect to the environment, for example to become a marketplace.

API-first thus creates a very important uniformity in the increasingly complex environments, and many providers of e-commerce solutions are already offering it. A modern web-based user interface, in the form of a Progressive Web App (PWA), is also very important for realizing a good user experience. With a headless platform, headless CMS and a PWA, a front-end on a headless platform can be developed relatively quickly. While maintaining the flexibility to give the online store its own identity, instead of having to choose from standard templates. With the PWA, we can quickly link together a selection of functionalities, with their own styling. We supply all of this on Microsoft Azure and make use of the specific Azure cloud services that are available. Of course we work with continuous delivery pipelines.

High performance for maximum conversion

We weten allemaal: in de wereld van e-commerce is het geduld van klanten een zeldzaam goed, alles moet zo snel mogelijk. Ook hier scoort headless hoge ogen. De prestaties zijn uitstekend. Een PWA frontend, als aanvulling op een headless backend, heeft een zeer hoge performance, essentieel voor het maximaliseren van conversie. Ook is een PWA toegerust op rap presenteren. De Vue Storefront PWA werkt hiertoe bijvoorbeeld samen met Elasticsearch, die razendsnel producten en hun prijzen oplepelt. Een headless CMS (zoals Contentful), levert snel content af en een headless e-commerce platform (zoals Commercetools en Virto Commerce) is toegespitst op snelle prijsberekening en orderverwerking. Aan de snelheid van de omgeving, net als aan de snelheid waarmee de frontent kan worden aangepast voor een nieuwe marketingcampagne, zal het dus niet liggen. Marketingcampagnes uitvoeren volgens de momenteel populaire 'content-led' of 'design-led' strategie, is echt sneller te realiseren met een headless architectuur. Kortom, is multichannel e-commerce je doel, dan is headless wat ons betreft de beste optie.

Do you want to know more about Ties?

Do you want to get started with the e-commerce platform within your organization after reading this blog or whitepaper? Or do you have questions about the topics discussed? Then contact:

Ties Luijendijk
Business Consultant
+31 (0)299 200 800

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Or check other e-commerce cases or blogs in which he had a prominent role: