Customize shopper experience with headless commerce components

4 min read
November 8, 2021

In case you missed the first two articles in our three-part series on customization, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 now.

Welcome to the third and final article in our series on customized shopper experiences and how brands are using headless commerce on Shopify Plus, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and other commerce platforms to develop highly customized shopping experiences.

In this article, we look under the hood to see how adopting a best-of-breed, modern commerce stack approach lets you reap the benefits of headless commerce with regard to customized shopper experiences.

Foundation for customization and differentiation

Looking at the state of the industry today, you know fast site speed is table stakes for eCommerce brands, and innovative, new shopping experiences are the new currency in differentiation. McKinsey has detailed the research on the need for customization. 

The good news is that headless commerce (with a data orchestration layer) offers you the freedom to choose best-of-breed components that work together out of the box without replatforming – no need to leave Shopify Plus or Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 

“41% of global purchase influencers at retail and wholesale firms reported that improving the customer  experience was a top priority, second only to growing revenue.”

Forrester, “Legacy Commerce Technology Faces Death By A Thousand Cuts” 

Modular architecture leads to results

Going headless delivers powerful advantages in customization over implementing a single, one-size-fits-all solution. 

One of the most overlooked advantages of headless commerce is the freedom to pick the best tools to optimize your entire tech stack for customer experience. Beyond enabling a cool look and feel on the frontend, internal efficiencies and improvements add up to accelerate your innovation. 

Let’s take a look at how you can coordinate key components of a headless commerce stack to differentiate your brand and achieve better eCommerce results through an innovative and customized shopper experience.  

Customize your storefront with a PWA

The storefront is still the main focus for many stakeholders in headless commerce projects, and for good reason: storefronts are what customers see, and they have the most impact on eCommerce user experience and the bottom line. 

With a modern commerce stack built on Shopify Plus, merchants aren’t forced to choose the same out-of-the box frontend apps that everyone else uses. In fact, the options become nearly endless, since merchants can select and customize a storefront framework that is right for them, whether it is Vue Storefront, Salesforce PWA, or a React storefront.

This freedom also saves developers from wasting time on broken integrations or other workarounds and maximizes the time they spend on new customizations and enhancements. 

Some actionable insights from examples:

  • A PWA can help shoppers find you and keep the integrity of the user experience intact, even for those who might be accessing the site with a slow connection.

  • Get inspiration from unique headless experiences like ILIA Beauty’s “Find My Shade” that matches a customer’s skin tone to the right tint or shade that would work best for them.

  • Use headless architecture to design and launch a website that sells a million dollars’ worth of products in thirty minutes, like the video-rich but still lightning-fast Something Navy site.

Accelerate customers’ buying journey with the right content

The content management system (CMS) is another headless component with rich potential for customization. 

The right headless commerce stack lets you lead customers through a journey efficiently (across channels, even) by serving them the right content at the right time. 

Product information management becomes a potential differentiator – you choose what information to show shoppers based on data you have on their persona and habits. You can infuse education throughout the entire buying experience over time and across channels. And with super-fast page load speeds, customers can make decisions faster based on the information you give them. 

On the backend, marketing and eCommerce teams can build landing pages on the fly and customize beyond what Shopify Plus templates may allow. A headless CMS also lets more team members create and manage this content without help from a development team – and that can lead to happier relationships between marketers and developers.

For example, BUBS Naturals does a lot of its education after purchase in the form of nurture campaigns. Customers are immediately put into a post-purchase campaign that features primarily free education, but also perks and incentives as well.

Don’t overlook the backbone of the backend

Data orchestration is essential when taking advantage of data-intense and real-time customization. The Nacelle data orchestration layer uses one API and an event-based system to orchestrate data among the components of your commerce stack, including the backend of your choice, like Shopify Plus. 

Without it, headless projects can get bogged down while developers build out point-to-point integrations that are fragile and costly to maintain. The Nacelle data orchestration layer allows for out-of-the box connectivity to major commerce platforms and accelerates headless projects’ time-to-value, reducing the total cost of ownership and enabling deeper customization on the backend that shines through on the frontend.

Decoupling frontend and backend helps you squeeze more out of the data and components you have now, including your eCommerce platform, and also supports any future moves you may make. All of this allows you to create and maintain customized shopping experiences your customers will love for the foreseeable future.

“We went headless with Nacelle in order to better serve our customers with a fast, modern PWA and to empower our development team through adopting a modern tech stack. We believe that the flexibility to swap out platforms and choose what tools would bring the best customer experience for our brand is important, and the Nacelle platform allows us to do that.”

Albert Chong, VP of Digital, ILIA Beauty

Supercharge your customization efforts

In addition to decoupling frontend systems from backend systems to increase site speed, going headless frees merchants to implement best-fit technologies in the modern commerce stack, and that ultimately empowers them to deliver powerfully differentiated shopping experiences. 

Headless commerce is also an extremely developer-friendly approach, empowering business users, reducing technical debt, and freeing IT teams to develop the next great innovation that will wow your customers and help you stand above competitors.

Customization: the new competitive advantage

Customization represents a valuable new way for brands and merchants to stand apart from the competition – and stay a step ahead.

To develop customized, compelling shopping experiences, brands can now take advantage of the best tools available in one stack. Where they may have been limited in the past, now the modern commerce stack gives them the flexibility they need to implement best-of-breed technologies in all phases of their tech stack, empowering your brand to deliver a truly one-of-a-kind experience.


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