Young brands led by tech-savvy, marketing-aware entrepreneurs are snapping at the heels of established, more traditionally led brands, and their growth illustrates the success of their model. Emerging as “blands,” these B-to-C businesses are disrupting the e-commerce market by focusing on a holistic and true multichannel experience for customers.
What are blands? In a recent Bloomberg article, columnist Ben Schott described them as “… what makes a brand a bland is duality: claiming simultaneously to be unique in product, groundbreaking in purpose, and singular in delivery, while slavishly obeying an identikit formula of business mode.” Think of companies like Casper, Harry’s, Ipsy, and Warby Parker, just to name a few.
How can traditional brands compete with the “buzz” of blands and win the attention of consumers? It comes down to creating a compelling experience, regardless of channel. To achieve this requires a combination of the right technology with employees who are empowered to deliver these kinds of experiences.
Technology to Drive Engagement
Escalating consumer desires and requirements need a more flexible technology framework — one that gives brands the opportunity to create truly unique branded shopping experiences and meet shoppers’ wants and needs in every channel. For this, brands are turning to “headless commerce.”
Headless commerce enables consumers to easily interact with brands across multiple channels by decoupling the front and back ends and eliminating the need to redesign the e-commerce experience for each channel. The modern version of headless commerce is often referred to by the acronym MACH (Microservices, API-First, Cloud Native, and Headless), and it takes a best-of-breed approach to the commerce tech stack. Rather than extending their full-featured legacy e-commerce platforms, brands can adopt newer, more flexible technologies that are ideally suited to their business while building unified experiences with a shared experience management platform.
With this technology approach to commerce brands can create unique multichannel shopping experiences and evolve them as their brand and customer requirements change.
The People Part of the Equation
Brands won’t be successful with just the technology alone. They also need a cultural shift from “traditional” to more “disruptive” when it comes to marketing. This requires empowering staff to create those compelling experiences for brands to effectively compete.
With the combination of the right technology and people, brands can implement the user experience and design principles that embody them, much like blands are doing. And they can quickly create compelling digital experiences that unite the physical and digital worlds and excite customers every time they connect with the brand, increasing loyalty and profitability at every touch.
When headless commerce is used by innovative, empowered employees, brands are able to design unique and consistent experiences, scale quickly, and bring commerce to new websites and channels — e.g., social platforms, public kiosks, wearable devices, and augmented reality, to name a few. This allows brands to rapidly get in front of customers wherever they are with compelling content designed to drive engagement and conversions.
James Brooke is the founder and CEO of Amplience, an API-first, headless content management platform for enterprise retail.
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