7 Reasons to consider a headless commerce solution

8 min read
November 8, 2021

What if you could create the storefront of your customers' dreams that drives more conversions and sales because of a better shopping experience?

Headless commerce offers just that. But how?

In this post, we explore some of the significant benefits of adopting a headless solution. Let's take a look.

1. It can scale with your business


For retailers looking for a solution to help scale business, headless commerce is an excellent option. With the decoupling of the frontend and backend of a headless site, it can work harder for you by leveraging new technology advancements in online shopping.

Headless architecture paired with Progressive Web App (PWA) technology alleviates many of the pain points merchants often face, such as:

  • Handling high traffic

  • Supporting mobile traffic

  • Competing with faster sites and Google standards

  • Enabling customized storefronts to the established brand identity

  • Allowing for quick building of new content, landing pages, and other assets without a developer

  • And more

Solving for these pain points makes for an overall improved customer experience.

The launch of a new eCommerce store for fashion and influencer brand Something Navy is a great example of how the flexibility of headless commerce can help merchants grow.

Something Navy crashed Nordstrom's website four separate times while trying to drop their exclusive collections with the major retailer. Due to this, the brand determined that it needed its own eCommerce store to withstand high volumes of website traffic without crashing.

After launching their new Nacelle-powered PWA, Something Navy sold $1 million worth of clothing in 30 minutes without any site performance issues. From a traffic standpoint, the PWA supported 100k unique sessions in that 30-minute time frame. The brand's new eCommerce store yielded a 1.4-second website load speed and 34-millisecond page-to-page change load speed—outperforming some of the most visited sites across the industry.

2. Increase conversion rates


Did you know that a slow page load speed is one of the main reasons customers don't convert? A report from Kissmetrics found that a one-second delay in page response can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions. Even for a retail giant like Amazon, page speed is critical to their bottom line. In fact, a page slowdown of just one second can cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales each year.

Unlike traditional eCommerce setups that have to wait for a response from a server and reload each page from scratch when requested, a headless storefront only loads once with a single-page application and static generation. Retailers that leverage static generation let visitors bypass the server entirely. This functionality gives the site it’s speed and helps support high traffic spikes.

Take Nacelle's customer, Ballsy, as an example of the power of a lightning-fast eCommerce store. Three weeks after Ballsy launched its new PWA, the men's skincare brand saw an increase in conversions by 28%, mainly due to a decrease in page load speeds.

Ballsy went from an average page load speed of 15.8 seconds to 1.4 seconds, and a page-to-page change load speed of 16.5 seconds to 42 milliseconds after switching to headless commerce.

3. Boost average order value


With traditional commerce, a potential customer might see a product, click on it, and then be transported to this jarring experience where everything has to reload. It’s a discovery deterrent, and it becomes hard for them to understand the full context of your offerings.

Not only will faster page load speeds lead to more conversions, but low-latency sites enable customers to explore your product catalog more quickly, which can lead to an increase in average order value. If customers can explore your products quicker (and easier), they are likely to add more items to their cart.

As mobile commerce continues to evolve, customers are taking advantage of its fast, instant shopping capabilities. A Statista report found that in 2019, the average order value was $86.47 on mobile devices.

Many traditional eCommerce platforms use native mobile apps that require customers to download the app to their device, which doesn't always happen. They sound great in theory, but most shoppers don't want to wait for a site to load or for an app to download. Plus, a study from eMarketer found that customers spend an average of just three minutes per month on native retail apps.

With PWAs, customers can enjoy the same functionality of a mobile app—like speed and smooth page transitions—without installing anything to their phone.

Brands that want to increase their sales and cart sizes would benefit from a mobile-first solution, like headless PWAs. Making it easier for customers to shop for your products can mean the difference between them making a purchase or navigating away from your store.

4. Customize the shopping experience


Traditional eCommerce platforms only let a retailer's brand and creativity go so far when it comes to creating a customized shopping experience for customers. The rigidity of these platforms makes it challenging to build something truly unique.

Headless commerce allows retailers to design a store that encompasses your brand's look and feel through a headless content management system (CMS). With a headless CMS, you can create landing pages as you need them, drag and drop components of your store to rearrange the look, and update content without needing a developer to assist you.

Headless CMS solutions like Contentful, Sanity, and Strapi offer flexibility to structure your content in a way that makes it easier to work with.

Australian mattress company, Koala, added a headless CMS to its Shopify Plus storefront to help alleviate lag time and bug issues with their code. With their decoupled system, Koala's different teams can focus on the specific components of the store; the developers can focus on the code, and the marketing team can focus on the content. Koala's flexible PWA enables them to create content much faster.

5. Create a mobile-first shopping experience


As more people reach for their mobile devices to shop, retailers can’t afford not to offer a tailored experience for mobile. In fact, in 2019 alone, there were 5.1 billion unique mobile users across the world.

However, in order for retailers on traditional eCommerce platforms to optimize for mobile, an overhaul of your website’s backend system is typically required. In fact, some retailers have to migrate away from their current eCommerce platform completely to become mobile-optimized, which comes with its own set of risks and costs. Even then, there are limitations as to how you can customize your storefront for mobile.

With headless commerce, retailers can build a mobile-first shopping experience—meaning, mobile considerations are top-of-mind during the build. Retailers can take advantage of PWA technology, which not only gives customers a native app-like experience without having to install an app but also makes for a fast, intuitive shopping experience.

More so, PWAs can be built one time and used for iOS, Android, and browsers. Traditionally, merchants have to build one app for iOS, a different app for Android, and a separate mobile-friendly website. The “one size fits all” of PWAs makes for a huge difference when it comes to cost and maintenance.

A true “mobile-first” approach is one that is built for any device your customers are on—even a desktop. Headless commerce grants retailers the ability to create an optimized experience across all devices, while simultaneously increasing conversions and cart sizes without worrying about site crashes or expensive upgrades down the road.

6. Easier platform management in the long-term


Setting up a traditional eCommerce store requires a lot of ongoing maintenance, time, and energy. From adding products to your store to QA-ing the site and everything in between, this method can take months to come to fruition. While great for newer retailers and those looking for a lower upfront cost, traditional eCommerce is limiting for most retailers.

Keep in mind that depending on how you approach your headless build, you may need to migrate from your current eCommerce platform. However, in the long run, you'll save yourself from headaches around system updates and new technology integrations. Headless commerce is an excellent way for retailers to set themselves up for long-term success without worrying whether their store can withstand growth.

With a headless commerce solution like Nacelle, brands can create and launch a storefront in a fraction of the time thanks to its API-powered architecture. Nacelle works with your existing tech stack and eCommerce platform, including Shopify Plus, so there's no need to migrate your data and processes. Instead, retailers can focus on the customer-facing elements of the shopping experience.

7. Integrate first-rate technology to build an optimized store


The eCommerce world is an ever-evolving one. New technology designed to help you sell more products, secure more leads, and retain more customers is always emerging. This technology doesn't always integrate or work together, which can be restrictive for merchants eager to scale. All-in-one platforms can be beneficial. However, all-in-one platforms are just that, a jack of all trades but the master of none. They are particularly troublesome because they are difficult to integrate outside `third party` systems.

Headless commerce provides retailers with the capability to pair with the tools and software that are right for your company. That way, you can build a store that is entirely custom to your company’s ideal customer experience.

Note: Nacelle integrates with more than 30 eCommerce apps, so you can focus on growing your business using the tools you know and trust.

Scale your eCommerce business with the help of headless commerce

Headless commerce is an innovative solution that helps retailers create memorable shopping experiences with the best technology available.

For eCommerce brands set on scaling without the limits of traditional eCommerce, a headless solution could be the perfect fit.

With Nacelle, getting started and maintaining a headless commerce architecture is simple (and quick). Request a demo today, and our team will show you how headless commerce can work for your business.

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