Taru M. Updated : October 20, 2022
Table of contents
1. What is pushing companies to move to a headless commerce solution?
2. Inspiring headless commerce examples:
3. Is headless only for big brands who can have huge budgets?
In an earlier blog, we curated the top eight headless commerce platforms. This time, we selected the five best headless commerce examples built on different headless eCommerce platforms like Commercetools, Shopify, OroCommerce, BigCommerce, etc. You will get to know in brief the challenges they were facing and how by investing in the right technologies ( Headless and PWA – Progressive Web App), these brands set the bar high for customer experience and omnichannel marketing strategy.
A study found that customers expect a seamless experience while shopping online or offline. Millennials love when companies use the latest technologies to engage them online and provide meaningful, honest content about the products.
Similarly, a survey done by McKinsey and Co. in France, Germany, the US, and the UK found shoppers demand the use of technology to enrich their shopping experience. Also, consumer loyalty is at an all-time low. Around 46% of US and 44% of UK shoppers moved to a more ‘caring’ brand.
Amazon changed the entire landscape of the eCommerce business by introducing Amazon Prime delivery to the extent that eCommerce brands are now gearing themselves for 10-15 deliveries. Under the hood, the true headless architecture supports Amazon’s success.
“The company can change its website every second of the day.” – says Tom Litchford, Head of worldwide business development at AWS.
According to him, traditional eCommerce platforms cannot swiftly respond to the market and introduce new features because of backward migration and testing obligations.
The eCommerce sites built on monolithic commerce platforms don’t have the flexibility to create a unique brand experience across multiple points of sale. Omnichannel strategy unifies various sales channels to provide customers with personalized pricing, promotions, and notifications about sales or discounts. Again, it is not possible with out-of-box features of traditional commerce platforms, however customizable those are.
People buy Audi for its sleek performance. Their designs are a visual treat for the eyes. Also, they have been at the forefront of innovating the automotive industry. But soon recognized their eCommerce technological infrastructure was reeling and unable to support their global strategy.
To align with its core values, Audi wanted to incorporate agile methodology for digital development. And it is not possible with traditional eCommerce platforms.
Let me briefly put it for those who do not know about the agile software development process.
In agile development, broad problems are broken into micro problems. These micro-problems are solved iteratively through collaboration with all the stakeholders, including clients and investors as well. On the other hand, is waterfall workflow which follows sequential philosophy. Teams don’t move to the next phase until the previous step is wholly done.
Agile projects are 1.5 times more successful than waterfall methodology. Moreover, the success rate of software developed with agile is 64% compared to 49% done with the waterfall development process.
Coming back to Audi’s challenge. The solution was its Product Information Management designed on Commercetools – a leading commerce platform that offers MACH ( Microservices, Agile, Cloud, and Headless) architecture. A location-independent system maintains all the data. From a single repository, content is distributed to different points of sale mediums.
After the implementation, Audi owners can now upgrade and buy new functionalities for their cars using the myAudi app. Being on the cloud allows them to update the data in real-time for millions of users swiftly.
Four Pillars Gin is an Australian gin distillery established in 2013. Its founders didn’t want Four Pillar Gin’s brand image limited to retail. Their dream is to make people delight in the craft of making gin. To do that, they needed to put great stories for people to engage with. Not just focus on conversion rates and other hard metrics. For this reason, they embarked on an eCommerce journey with Umbraco as CMS (Content Management System) and Tea commerce for powering shopping carts, inventory, etc.
But pretty soon, they hit the wall. Traditional platforms wouldn’t help them fulfill their vision. And in 2018, they decided to overhaul their tech stack completely. What did they go with? Headless solution with BigCommerce.
With a headless approach, they made their tech stack powerful by combining it with WordPress for CMS, Vue.js for front-end, and BigCommerce as backend. The full tech stack of Four Pillar Gin:
The results were truly satisfying. The Four Pillar Gin eCommerce store is not bland. You can sense at first glance how well it expresses the identity of their organization. Clearly, you cannot achieve this consistent brand experience with any hyper-optimization of templates or low-code or no-code platforms.
Another significant benefit of headless commerce is applying omnichannel and personalized marketing. Integrating online and offline experience is the next big challenge for Four Pillars. And they know they have laid the proper technological infrastructure for it.
Using the omnichannel strategy, marketers received a 287% higher purchase rate relative to single-platform campaigning. (Omnisend 2020)
If we talk in numbers, this bold eCommerce business witnessed a 22% increase in organic traffic, a 79% increase in conversion rate, and a 152% increase in transactions. Besides these staggering numbers, founders are overjoyed that the website creates an immersive experience by showing recipes, videos, stories, customized product pages, and even botanical information about the ingredients.
Nike is our favorite example. It is one of the fine examples of headless commerce. They have perfectly fused the latest technology and marketing strategy to sky-rocket their profits even while facing the Covid disaster and become the case study for perfecting the D2C model.
Nike outdated their competitors, mainly Adidas and puma, by creating a phenomenal omnichannel experience. They share the best sports knowledge over multiple platforms combing it with their offerings. Consequently, they can convert one-time buyers into loyal customers who love engaging with their mobile apps and PWA for proven athletic knowledge.
Our vision is for every consumer who engages with the Nike brand to enjoy an elevated, consistent experience regardless of channel. – Mark Parker, CEO.
Nike’s website uses React for SPA (Single Page Application), combing it with Node.js as BFF (Backend for Frontend) architecture. The benefit is a smooth user experience on any platform – web, mobile, wearables, or physical stores. Their ecosystem of mobile apps- Nike Run Club, Nike Training Club, Nike SNKRS app, Nikeplus app- to fill people’s needs helps Nike do personalized marketing. Personally, Nike Run Club is one of the finest apps.
A leading national B2B company that manufactures and supplies pet food throughout the United States and the Caribbean. The company serves almost 11,000 retail customers.
To expand its business, Animal Supply Co. acquired distributors across different US geographies. They had to manage four online stores now. Naturally, it was painstaking to create a unified experience across multiple storefronts.
Furthermore, B2B brands of this scale have complex logic in the form of complex pricing structures. Each acquired distributor has its shopping journey on different eCommerce platforms. There are restrictions for specific retailers and changes in price because of contracts, locations, and other parameters. To solve this crisis, the company chose to adopt a headless model with OroCommerce, a leading headless commerce platform for B2B businesses.
OroCommerce was deployed as Order Management System connected to multiple storefronts through APIs to create a clean structure and update data swiftly. In other words, they created a single repository for the humongous data. The retailers now could access different stores from one single centralized online store.
Using the in-built pricing feature on OroCommerce, Animal Supply Co. made pricing and promotions personalized for retailers. Furthermore, updating inventory and pricing is swift and real-time because of synchronization with all the storefronts.
An online beauty store from Greek established in 1999 and growing internationally as well. Using Magento 1, they were performing well with multiple channels strategy-many brick & mortar stores, desktop & mobile applications, and a stable presence on social media. With the end of Magento 1, the brand wanted to solve its performance issues and create a consistent user experience across all the platforms.
After researching, they adopted headless architecture with Magento 2 to gain flexibility over the presentation layer and design PWA with Vue Storefront. PWA (Progressive Web App) is a cost-effective performant solution to create a mobile-like experience. Huge tech companies and brands like Twitter, Starbucks, and Nike have made PWA for reaching out to a wider audience. Additionally, Vue Storefront offers excellent speed and sound SEO foundations.
With headless commerce, the company created a seamless customer experience over different platforms and reduced its time-to-market. The numbers are impressive too-increase in monthly organic traffic, mobile revenue, and conversion rate by 34%, 110%, and 35%, respectively. Besides, reduction in bounce rate by 10%.
Going through the above list, you may form an opinion that a headless solution is only for the brands that can spend money lavishly. It may have some truth in earlier years, but as the technology is now maturing, SMEs are evaluating the total cost of ownership (we have covered this point in what is headless Shopify) and taking the risk to headless commerce architecture. ‘Cause in today’s competitive eCommerce world, an eCommerce site cannot thrive without offering high-end user experience and personalized marketing across multiple channels.
Take the services of our eCommerce development company for expert and honest guidance on the right tech stack and kickstart your eCommerce business with us.
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For over 18 years, Taru M. is a successful technology entrepreneur by profession and a tech enthusiast by spirit. She takes pride in offering expertise in her domain to business people's success across the globe. As a business woman and technology expert, she manages to keep her balance along with her family responsibilities. She did her masters in computers, and her work delivery shows the expertise of her education. Connect with her via Linkedin profile to know more about her exciting personality
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