Headless eCommerce & Omnichannel Functionality

Developing an Omnichannel Headless eCommerce Platform is No Easy Task. Why go at it alone?
Highly Potent, Effective, Match-Made in Heaven Solution

Improving Workflows with an Omnichannel Platform

Headless eCommerce platforms and omnichannel strategies are a highly potent and almost match-made-in-heaven scenario. In many ways, omnichannel significantly influenced and drove the concept of headless eCommerce. The reason is that consistent multi-location and multi-platform adoption calls for the separation of functionality and user interface. This enables the availability of a unified functionality across all different user interfaces and mediums that the typical omnichannel experience demands.

For example, consider a B2C website that offers products sorted under a robust set of product categories. There are also several hundred store locations which have a point-of-sale system and need to utilize very similar access to data and functionality. On top of that, you also have a polished mobile application where users can place orders, look up the location of a store, put something on layaway, or note that they want to purchase that item in the store and maybe have it pulled for them.

Their next step is to continue their experience in-store and provide their mobile device during the checkout process to show that they've completed purchasing the items that were pulled, then claim them. This entire process requires that these different systems are talking effectively to each other and the different functionality pieces are interacting with the same underlying sets of data, so that the user has a seamless experience as they're interacting with multiple channels of eCommerce and ways of purchasing or getting fulfillment for their orders. Headless architecture makes all of this happen.

Evolve Your Headless eCommerce Platform with Your Business

Scaling Possibilities and Applications

In essence, headless eCommerce is created for omnichannel and provides strong benefits on so many levels. In addition to the concept of having just generic omnichannel, there can be a retail group that is comprised of different brands. As a result, the retail group may need to leverage the same functionality across all brands, but have actual different websites and distinct physical store presences. Maybe they need to leverage the same core functionality with slightly modified ways of implementation.

Perhaps they have different policies and procedures. As an example, to complete a refund with one store all you have to do is just say that you want a refund and provide some proof of purchase. But for another brand or business unit you actually have to prove that you had a defect with the product as opposed to just requesting a refund.

Contrasting policies or governance models may be in place within the functionality while still calling for the same capabilities. The data will also need to go back into a centralized data set, but be intelligent enough to cater to the particular business unit, group of stores, or particular store location.

The idea behind headless eCommerce for omnichannel is that it empowers brands to preserve and maintain their branding, while also taking advantage of the enterprise level scale of the organization. If it's a large organization, many resources must be brought to bear. However, if the resources aren't used optimally, then the scenario could unfold quite unfavorably.

Imagine twelve separate eCommerce platforms, all with custom mobile applications and each store has a different point-of-sale system. In this scenario, you have a very inconsistent experience for the users across these different channels of interaction with the company. In some cases you may have amazing experiences, but in others you might get disappointingly poor and inconsistent experiences. A huge burden falls to people who are tasked with maintaining and optimizing those systems over time. It's very challenging if they're drastically dissimilar, if they're written in different programming languages and hosted in separate physical locations.

It’s obvious how this can create a huge logistical challenge if you're working with an omnichannel scenario and attempt to leverage disparate systems. The best headless eCommerce platoforms offer the best of both worlds: being able to customize and cater the experience while leveraging the brand, governance, and business logic that's specific to each business unit, location, or channel. Headless architecture coordinate how those perform in respect to the end customer.

If you look at a headless eCommerce system for omnichannel, there are some important criteria that you'll want to consider. Typically, you'll need the ability to have information going to a central repository (headless CRM or ERP, for example) and practically shared across the devices. Also consider the ability for the system to synchronize data intelligently whenever the same user is on their mobile device while checking out on a point-of-sale system, or simply being able to notice that the customer is actually in the store.

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Headless eCommerce Is Built to Scale

Headless eCommerce platforms provide a perfect way to scale quickly and easily while still retaining company branding. Let Clarity show you how it's done.

The Clarity Team Experts Are Here to Help

Omnichannel Customer Experience Unraveled

Being able to manage the experience across the different channels is a key aspect of a headless eCommerce platform to utilize. Visualize a customer who is online at home and at a website. They find a store using the store locator and determine that the item they want is in stock at a different store. They go ahead and request that the item be transferred to the store location that's closest to them, and they see how long that's going to take.

They then complete the checkout process and sign up for an account. Next, they get an option to send a text invite to their mobile device so that they can get updates on their order status. They click on a link in their mobile device and then download the app and sign in.

Soon, they get notifications showing them how their order was transferred ahead of schedule and arrived a day early. As they are stuck in traffic on the way home, they see their order status and think “Great, I can go pick this up today. I'm so excited to go get it!” Once they get to the store, the system would need to actually understand that this person is currently in the physical store. Now the customer may present something in the mobile app that can be scanned, like a QR code or a barcode, so that the order can be pulled up by the point-of-sale system or the inventory management system.

All of these concepts are underpinned by having core functionality in the underlying eCommerce system that has intelligence for multiple locations. Important aspects that need to be incorporated seamlessly into an omnichannel headless eCommerce experience:

  • Managing inventory across locations
  • Customer interaction across different devices
  • Leveraging technology best practices for text messaging, QR codes, barcodes, and scanning for inventory

Clarity Ventures has extensive experience incorporating complex technology in an elegant and seamless manner. We encourage you to reach out to our team to discuss your upcoming project and the headless eCommerce solutions we can provide. You're always welcome to browse the resources below if you'd like to get additional information.

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