Headless: The Path to True Omnichannel with Akeneo
Picture this: the channels your brand sells its products through include a progressive web app, Instagram and an eCommerce site that is also optimized for mobile. Further touchpoints include smart voice assistants and in-store interfaces at your brick-and-mortar locations. Legacy eCommerce solutions have come under a lot of strain handling the requests of product, marketing, and sales departments who are trying to incorporate additional touchpoints for shoppers as part of their evolving omnichannel retail strategies, to ultimately include wearables, automotive, kiosks, Alexa Skills and more. Adding each capability to the front-end impacts the back-end and vice-versa, and can only be undone with a significant amount of effort.
Headless Commerce Architecture
Enter headless commerce, where the business-end (or the backend), the nuts-and-bolts of the system such as inventory, data management and payment processing, for example – are decoupled from the customer-facing content presentation layer, the front-end (or the ‘heads’) of your eCommerce architecture. APIs, experience managers, and other tools are used to connect or call between these two layers. These ‘heads’ could be anything from standard webshops to an IoT device.
BORN called this trend in 2018. The way we see it, headless offers so much more than a traditional eCommerce system, especially for businesses that are content-heavy, where the content changes constantly and the brand is in a rapid-growth environment.
- Flexibility Headless commerce offers a more flexible solution. It also offers full control of the front-end that the user interacts with – also called ‘the glass’ without the restrictions and rigidity of traditional systems. User-centric changes at the front-end will not require reciprocal changes on the other and the other way around. Scaling up or down is less of an issue.
- Speed The decoupled nature of the architecture means updates can be implemented quickly, a feature that lends itself to experimentation and user testing, without disruptions on the back-end.
- Agile marketing An enterprise that wants control over its marketing and content to deliver personalized and targeted experiences and content should benefit from headless commerce. Another candidate would be an organization with many companies, brands or divisions that need to exercise content and experience governance by enforcing workflow approvals or branding guidelines.
- Customization & Personalization It is not only the organization that is at an advantage because it deploys a system into which they can choose their own systems to integrate but the customers too benefit from consistent, relevant and personalized interfaces. Another benefit is contextualization, namely, content is tailored to the channel a customer is shopping on.
It’s not that there are no constraints to using headless commerce systems. It does need oversight and programming by a team of developers, but overall the flexibility brought about by decoupling the two layers and only working on the systems that need work does bring about savings in cost and time.
For the budget-conscious, feature-hungry and time-constrained client with a host of legacy software, there is a third way.
BISON/EP – an out-of-the-box solution
BORN’s out-of-the-box accelerator labeled BISON/EP, which was launched last year, implements the leading headless commerce platform (Elastic Path) together with a headless experience platform (Bloomreach) in a pre-coded framework to power a truly next-gen eCommerce experience.
With Bison/EP, customers can launch a seamless and streamlined B2C or B2B eCommerce shop in under 12 weeks, at a fraction of the price of a custom solution. BISON/EP provides a completely tailor-made user experience with little further design and UX customization needed. As Elastic Path, one of the pioneers of headless, promises, this is ‘commerce freedom’, indeed.
Clients benefit from this fully decoupled and integrated solution with unique features, including integration with Bloomreach’s best in class AI-driven search and merchandising tools, pre-built integration with payment gateways and the ability to market products with customizable landing pages and blogs.
BORN will determine the ideal combination of features to enhance the client’s existing eCommerce shop. Clients also receive simplified ongoing maintenance, flexibility, and advanced security.
Headless continues to march on as one of the great solutions for flexible front-end development. With solutions such as BISON/EP, clients are even more empowered to widen their omnichannel range and support agile marketing efforts, increase conversions, and ultimately grow their business.
For more information on Bison and BORN’s headless solutions, check out our landing page here: https://thisis.borngroup.com/bison/ep-by-born-group
On featured partner Akeneo: Akeneo is a global leader in Product Experience Management (PXM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solutions that help merchants and brands deliver a compelling customer experience across all sales channels, improve product data quality and simplify product catalog management.