In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, speed-to-market matters — but the speed of learning matters more.
New product development starts with a long planning cycle for many traditional businesses. However, for digital products, it’s imperative to co-create digital experiences with your customers. This is done by getting products to market as quickly as possible so that your company can gather the insights that really matter from real users.
Establishing a learning and iteration cycle using qualitative and quantitative in-market data insights achieves two things: First, it ensures that your products fit your customer needs, not what your leaders or executives think they need. Second, it allows the teams closest to your customer — your product development teams like software engineers, designers, and quality professionals — to prioritize their work based on what will provide the most value to the greatest percentage of users.
The top-performing digital products of recent years are those that are evolvable. For many businesses with tightly-coupled digital architectures, keeping up with the pace of the market is nearly impossible. On the other hand, headless architecture gives companies the freedom to build according to the needs of their unique customer base, rather than attempting to customize an existing product, which can be costly and time-consuming. As more and more digital products become part of a company's ecosystem, it’s more important than ever to have a foundation designed to scale, adapt, and grow with your business.
Why go headless?
A headless approach means that business logic and the associated functionalities are connected through APIs to the backend that is separated from the frontend, or display layer, of your digital products. The connectivity frees the teams working on the frontend to create experiences that aren’t restricted by the backend but still benefit from all the data and business logic that it houses, including microservices. It also allows any and all new experiences that you create to be completely customer-centric rather than restrained by engineering challenges.
Companies can employ headless architecture to build custom experiences that give their users exactly what they’re looking for. Headless architecture accelerates the learning and iteration cycle of digital products — your company can launch products in-market faster and get feedback from customers faster. Moreover, the headless architecture is designed to help you change and iterate on experiences faster, so you can activate your customer feedback rapidly and gain a competitive advantage.
APIs can be implemented from various sources that organizations employ to conduct business — operations in sales, marketing, customer support, and so on. This modularity also provides your frontend teams with the flexibility to quickly add new features and functionality to an experience, using whatever technology stack they prefer.
The value of headless architecture
Brands that meet or exceed customer expectations are more likely to capture larger market share and valuable data. A recent study by PwC showed that customers are willing to pay a 16% premium for products and services that offer a great experience. Among US-based consumers, 63% are willing to share more information with brands that deliver better experiences.
Let’s take a quick view of some of the benefits:
- Quick deployment of features: You can quickly add features by tapping into an extensive and growing library of microservices that provide various functionalities for businesses across verticals and channels.
- Integration of services: You can integrate services from various providers into a unique and differentiated experience. Integration works whether you’re building a new experience from scratch or if you want to add features to an existing experience.
- Scalable with growth: As your business thrives, your experiences can scale. With an API-first approach, microservices can be added or removed, allowing your teams to best serve your customers’ needs.
- Content is reusable: With a headless platform, your content is hosted in a central location, meaning it can be deployed to various owned and external channels. Reusable content eliminates variances across systems and makes management and updates easier for teams to execute. You are making changes once, not once per channel!
- Brand is future-ready: Be prepared for emerging marketing channels with unique experience requirements. A great example of this is the rapid emergence of TikTok, which recently overtook Google as the most visited website on the planet. With content in a headless platform, you’re ready to quickly act on emerging trends, not scrambling to adapt as your competitors gain traction in new areas.
Headless architecture enables the ability to create differentiated experiences that combine core commerce services from a variety of sources seamlessly. It also enables frontend teams to develop experiences using whatever technology they prefer. In some cases, they combine different frontend technologies to take advantage of each one's unique strengths. This modularity, flexibility, and scalability make headless architecture the ideal foundation for evolving customer experience.
Great businesses are no longer built to last — they're built to evolve. This evolution necessitates faster feedback loops from customers to ensure the organization is moving in the right direction and that planning and decision-making are based on factual data from the market, not executive intuition. With the flexibility of headless, marketplace businesses can be responsive to their customer, whatever their individual needs may be. While it's impossible to predict the future in a rapidly changing environment like e-commerce, it's possible to be prepared for it with headless platforms.