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What is headless commerce and why is it important for e-commerce brands?

illustration of a person standing next to a large phone with products on the screen. to the left is the tidal logo.

This blog is an excerpt from our latest ebook “The Metaverse of Now: how hyper personalization is bridging the retail divide” by Whiplash partner Tidal, payment processing and merchant services that work for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

At last count, there were about 2.5 million online retailers in the U.S. alone and over nine million globally, according to Etailinsights. So narrowing the search down to, let’s say, running shoes for men yields over 500,000 results from a range of established and emerging brands. 

If the competition alone wasn’t challenging enough for merchants, the similarity of their offering online has created “a sea of sameness.” E-commerce selling platforms, plug-and-play integrations, marketing automation, and third-party logistics (3PLs) have enabled online merchants to offer similar bundles of benefits, like next-day delivery, free shipping and returns, social proof, loyalty rewards, and seamless customer service experiences via channels such as live chat, text, and messenger. 

So many substitutes, how does your brand stand out?

In this sea of sameness, winning against online competitors comes down to providing a positive, seamless, and personalized customer experience across the customer journey. According to Forbes, companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%, and 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties.

Why deploy headless commerce for a seamless, immersive, and hyper-personalized customer experience?

A headless development approach provides e-commerce businesses with a significant competitive advantage over those on a traditional e-commerce stack because of much faster load times and the ability to create memorable storefronts that customers love and keep coming back for more.

But wait, what is headless commerce?

Simply put, headless commerce is a development approach in which there is the separation of the front and back end of an e-commerce platform, providing merchants with the flexibility to craft a highly customized and seamless omnichannel customer experience on any digital device. The architecture of a headless build can also lend itself to particular operational efficiencies if your business warrants it in size and complexity.

Hyper-personalized and omnichannel shopping experiences

The ability to personalize shopping experiences with headless commerce allows merchants to leverage data to surface relevant content and recommend relevant products that drive customer conversions.

As an API-driven approach to development, headless commerce enables exchanging data, which means brands can collect and aggregate customer data from different touchpoints and upgrade analytics solutions to receive better customer insights.

Increasing demand for headless commerce

Here at Tidal Commerce, we have seen an uptick in clients embracing headless commerce technologies as a solution to differentiate.

Desert Steel, a U.S. client, sells premium handcrafted outdoor and indoor ornaments. These ornaments are works of art inspired by nature, so providing a cookie-cutter shopping experience was not an option in the long run. 

This is why Desert Steel is deploying a headless frontend to enable its customers to see the beauty of their products with tastefully laid out immersive interfaces that they can interact with at blazing speeds.

Using customer behavior data, the brand can cross-sell and upsell relevant products to customers in a tasteful manner.

In Canada, October’s Very Own (OVO), a high-end streetwear brand, is rebuilding its online stores with headless commerce. Tidal and SIX, our design partner, have crafted a differentiated and customizable user experience with headless, powered by user data.

With its agile nature, headless commerce allows trying, A/B testing, and experimenting with different experiences easily and quickly. By viewing what content creates the most lead conversions, businesses better understand customer needs and can customize experiences on all localized storefronts. 

Headless commerce helps online businesses to become more competitive, attracting more organic customers through more up-to-date, engaging content while offering them the omnichannel experience they expect. For that reason, online merchants should either adapt to these new technologies or risk being left behind.

Ryder E-Commerce by Whiplash + Tidal: Building stronger e-commerce experiences

By leveraging emerging tech like headless commerce, blockchain, and AI-based personalization, Tidal is helping e-commerce businesses to stay ahead of the competition with memorable brand experiences and higher levels of customer loyalty. Combined with the support of a technology-led 3PL like Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash, e-commerce merchants can feel confident that every touchpoint in the customer journey is being optimized to maximize conversions and retention. 

Find out more about the Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash + Tidal partnership here.

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