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How headless commerce answers many retail tech issues

SEO heads and digital Marketeers tend to fear Google core algorithm changes--but ecommerce expert Finlay Mure says one big change in response could set you up for a  better ecommerce future

Work in online for any time, and you start to get used to bracing for the next big Google’s core algorithm change. The latest one, Core Web Vitals, was bigger than most, featuring prominently in on marketeers’ lives since last year for mobile, and earlier this year for desktop.

As we all know, Core Web Vitals is a big plank in the company’s wider Page Experience Update. Focus was on three new metrics for websites that were new ways for the search engine’s software to measure website performance.

These are the initial time it takes to initially load the largest portion of the main content of your brand’s web site; how quickly you react to a user interacting with your online shop; and unexpected layout shifts. 

What a lot of people have over-focused on, though, is on the impact the loss of third-party cookies means for visitor tracking and data capture. But doing well on these areas is vital if you want your site to be picked up and displayed high up in search. That’s what matters as far as the Google is concerned… which is also what you as a retailer need to focus on for your customers right now: the best page load and performance you can squeeze out of your entire digital retail set-up.

Getting this optimised as best you can has to be your number one priority. After all, the front end of your website is the first thing a potential visitor sees, and Google is telling us for you to be score well, you must improve not just your personalisation, important as that is of course, but even more so your speed and your performance. The reason I say this is that retailers giving faster load times and better experiences not only create higher engagement, but they are now favoured in search results.

One of the best ways for all types of ecommerce and omni-channel retailer players are finding to do that is going Headless. Yes, before you groan, it is a term that’s bandied around too much now, and I’m not going to do you another explanation of it. But the conversations I have with the C-suites of the great B2C companies we work with suggests to me that not a lot of people ‘get’ that it’s an approach that has arrived in the nick of time to help you with not just Core Web Vitals, but a host of other retail tech challenges.

There are several ways to optimise for a better overall user experience, but a Headless or decoupled architecture offers a clear path for building highly-performant websites and applications that align with Core Web Vitals and provide the seamless, omni-channel experiences today’s digital consumers prefer.

Another reason why B2C companies are moving to Headless is to take more control of their user experience across all their channels. They also love their ability to break down traditional silos that have long existed between front and back-end teams and build a front end that not only complies with Google’s latest changes but is easily integrated with more modern ecommerce technologies. 

At the end of the day, what Headless offers is a way to build the very best architecture to sell the goods and services you want to sell. It’s also a way to avoid the common mistakes of the past and remove complexity that comes from traditional monolithic solutions by supporting a best-of-breed, plug and play approach with API first principles. 

Headless = the best way for creating new, unique shopping experiences and great CX?

That means you’re able to snap together any front-end engine you like… all the merchant and business services you need, the best Product Information Management (PIM) or Merchant Centre or your Order Processing module you like, creating the ideal back end commercial platform for you. Done right—especially if you go full ‘composable approach’ and source all the components as immediately usable modules from expert third parties—this is going to save so much time and money.

The reality is in 2022, an omnichannel site experience is basic table stakes now. Customers expect it so you need to be building capability for the future, and Headless is the best foundation for all your next moves in ecommerce functionality–especially if you want to make your CX as great as possible.

Therefore, look to Headless to get an API/application programming interface-first approach that offers flexibility to an ambitious, omni-channel brand like yours that want to stop being held back by the monolithic ecommerce technology of the past.  By removing the dependencies that clog up processes in these platforms between your front and back-end, progressive retailers will enable rapid change, more effective integration with great future retail tech, the faster websites the new Google algorithm wants, better customer journeys–and so improved business performance.

API-led Headless empowers retailers to focus on creating new, unique shopping experiences and great CX. Given that the global ecommerce sales are expected to cross the $5 trillion line this year, that suggests to me going Headless with the right partner, is the smart thing to do… for not just Core web Vitals, but so much more.

By Finlay Mure, VP Sales and Marketing at BetterCommerce, the leader in the provision of Headless and composable ecommerce solutions for mid-market retailers

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