The term “headless commerce” is gaining traction as people begin to see value in its maturity. The overriding advantages of headless commerce are apparent in a multi-storefront experience where you can blend a group of best-in-breed eCommerce, content management, and marketing technologies in a powerful way.

But there’s a big question many companies are asking: “Is headless commerce right for me?”

What is Headless Commerce?

Let’s start with the basics. As an eCommerce brand, most of your consumers interact with a presentation layer, while the administration and what happens from a business perspective occur primarily in somewhat of a back-end management tool.

So, you have two things happening. On the one hand, customer service teams, fulfillment teams, warehouses, accounting, finance, and IT are all working with the back end. On the other hand, the customer is engaging with that front end presentation layer.

With headless commerce, you can separate the front end from the back end of your application. The idea is that you can remove the head from the rest of the body, and the body continues to operate.

The Organizational Benefits of Headless Commerce

There are three significant limiting factors that headless commerce can address. One factor is on the presentation layer and customer experience side. Another is in that back end and management layer. And the third factor is that it helps address limitations inside the organization itself. Essentially, you can use headless commerce as a way to patch over problems you have inside the company.

Traditionally, eCommerce teams carry the primary responsibility for eCommerce growth. However, they often don’t have the authority to manage the eCommerce toolset. They're beholden to an IT team, AI engineering group, customer service teams, operations teams, and maybe even legal and finance teams, limiting their ability to move and pivot quickly.

Headless commerce allows the eCommerce team to work more independently and quickly to achieve its goals without being concerned with all those traditional organizational workflows and approvals that can be restrictive.

Jordan Brannon, President of Coalition Technologies, says, “Headless increases your marketing outcomes. It can be organizational, and it can help free you from some of the bureaucracy traps that maybe you're stuck in with a larger organization… it can be more flexible and dynamic, it can be faster to stand up, [and] it can be more responsive [to] customer needs.”

Real-World Use Cases

Headless commerce can help eCommerce teams address changes in the market — such as iOS updates, TikTok, and short-form video content — and take advantage of emerging opportunities as they arise.

To illustrate, a small pest control equipment company saw a significant increase in demand for online purchases during the pandemic, specifically around beekeeping equipment. They stood up a headless commerce experience specific to these products and saw a 3X increase in ROI. Because they were able to set up subsites and optimize for the consumer, their product sales increased. As an added benefit, the headless approach is also less expensive since their main B2B site is already connected to their accounting software, warehouse, ERP, and CRM.

There’s a wide range of headless commerce implementations. Brands are employing headless for apps, emails, games, and more. Rising projects also include headless commerce as it relates to the metaverse, augmented reality experiences, and 3D rendered products. Beyond content management, headless is also being used in multi-storefront initiatives to differentiate the customer experience and optimize the customer journey.

Coalition Technologies’ clients are using headless to generate content marketing, new experiences, and new interactivity. Comparing two clients based on Shopify and big commerce, Jordan says, “Both are leveraging headless as a way of… selling experiences that are different [from the] typical ‘buy a single product.’ Both use recipe-type content for top-of-funnel traffic generation… they wanted their content marketing teams to have more freedom to be able to publish that and do that easily.” Whatever the use case, headless commerce unlocks greater flexibility and unique content for your industry.

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon is the Co-founder and President of Coalition Technologies, a top-ranked SEO and digital marketing firm. With 20 years of experience working in eCommerce, he helps D2C and B2B brands succeed in the eCommerce and digital marketing space. Jordan and his team at Coalition have helped propel over 1,000 businesses forward across various industries. Jordan has a bachelor's degree in political science, human rights, environmental sciences, and computer science from the University of Washington.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

In this episode…

Are you thinking about migrating from one platform to another, but you’re now sure how? Is it possible to transition websites without derailing your consumers?

Jordan Brannon proposes that if you’re an established eCommerce brand, you have to have a clear thought process before you begin. What steps do you need to take to revolutionize your brand’s online presence? There isn’t a simple solution for every business, but Jordan recommends starting with small visual changes: font, images, and colors. Then you can begin to route your emails, establish certifications and authentications, and manage your data flow warehouse into an ERP. If you want a competitive advantage, providing a unique and faster experience can be the solution. If you’re looking at the next step forward for your brand, this is an episode you do not want to miss. 

In this episode of The Digital Deep Dive, Aaron Conant sits down with Jordan Brannon, Co-founder and President of Coalition Technologies, to discuss the advantages and challenges of migrating from one platform to another. Jordan talks about how to redesign your aesthetics without confusing your consumers, the purpose and superiority of headless commerce, and streamlining management software. 

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