How Headless Commerce Can Improve UX, Increase Sales
One of the main challenges facing retailers when moving online is looking for technical solutions. Business owners have endless options for technology platforms that can simplify and help scale their businesses. Most retailers are looking for software to improve their processes, but they often make the wrong choice. Retailers need to know precisely what the software provides and whether it fits the needs of their business. A complex and awkward software platform will increase costs and confuse employees.
When selecting technology platforms, the best solution for small to midsized businesses (SMBs) is to go for a headless solution. Every e-commerce website consists of two functional halves — the front end and the back end. The front end of the website acts as an intermediary channel between the user and the e-commerce portal. In contrast, the back end manages the product details and the portal's entire functioning.
"Headless" refers to an application infrastructure without a front end. A headless content management system (CMS) only contains an API and a back-end system that links to a database to store content. Then, the headless CMS can publish content to an API or web service that renders a viewable front end for visitors.
Based on our experience, retailers’ feedback, and the growing adoption of specific e-commerce headless CMS platforms, this technology can open up new possibilities for integrating improved business processes.
From a technical point of view, a headless CMS uses API calls to present information on a web page instead of establishing a relationship between the code and the application. The idea isn't limited to a CMS. A related term, "headless trading," describes the separation of the front end and the back end of an e-commerce application. This experience allows brands to have full control of their website while also providing customers with an immersive experience.
Here are some e-commerce platforms that support a headless e-commerce approach: Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, and Magento.
In addition to functional design and strategic search advertising plans, real-time or complementary tools must be a central part of any e-commerce site to drive sales and reduce the possibility of abandoned shopping carts. Since e-commerce sites are accessible at any time, it's not surprising that the most common time for online shopping has been determined to be 8 pm, after most are home from work. However, research also shows that this time of day leads to higher abandonment rates. Further studies also found that 72 percent of e-commerce merchants failed to provide real-time assistance to their shoppers during this time period. In this situation, implementing complementary tools to avoid cart abandonment is just as important as having a live chat agent to support customers through their purchasing journey.
Many shopping carts are abandoned because consumers often find problems with the checkout process itself. Online cart abandonment is seven times higher than in-store, as 35 percent of consumers don't want to create an account during the checkout process, and 27 percent of consumers get put off due to the lengthy and complicated process of completing their transaction. In addition, 18 percent of consumers don't trust the credit card information provided by certain websites. In comparison, 8 percent of consumers aren't satisfied with the payment methods offered, opting for competitors that provide these services. With some website design adjustments, you can emphasize secure payments by using badges. Multiple payment options, especially those that customers feel comfortable with, can be logical first steps to reducing online cart abandonment.
Taking User Experience to the Next Level
Here are several steps that retailers can take to improve the user experience for their site visitors:
- Integrate a wish list separate from the cart so users will see the separate use cases.
- Increase the number of payment options to include PayPal and Apple Pay.
- Use social login as a form of single sign-on, supporting the ability to create an account through a Facebook, Twitter, or Google account to reduce frustration and password fatigue.
- Rethink your remarketing strategy to fight cart abandonment efficiently and not be perceived as a spammer.
- Clarify shipping costs upfront.
The good news is that the potential to recover some of those abandoned carts is quite significant. There are also some savvy shoppers to watch out for as they can abuse incentives like discounts or free items. Some customers leave many items in their carts and wait patiently to receive coupons and discount codes to complete their order.
As we say in France: prevention is better than cure. Ensuring the checkout process is simple, mobile-friendly, and secure is the best solution. By doing so, you can win back some of those potentially lost sales and gain loyal new customers in the process.
Ugo Loustalet is the CEO of Buyzooka Technologies, a decentralized alternative to marketplaces that connects to online stores for fast and automatic checkout.