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Is your platform ready for the future?

Over the last decade, we’ve seen major changes in consumer behavior. Mobile for instance has become the fastest growing touchpoint for today’s shoppers. Business Insider Intelligence predicts m-commerce volume to rise at a 25.5% compound annula growth rate (CAGR) from 2019 to hit $488.0 billion, or 44% of e-commerce, in 2024. Retailers’ success relies on their ability to improve their mobile shopping experience and 41% of them say they are working to polish it.

The example above on mobile is just one of the many changes we’re seeing in online shopping. New digital shopping experiences are emerging in many different places such as in-store screens that provide product information and the ability to place delivery orders, chatbot experiences that offer product advice and purchase options, automated subscription orders, and more.  The omnichannel nature of most retail businesses coupled with consumer expectations has also created the need for new fulfillment models such BOPIS, Ship-from-store, endless aisle, and same-day delivery.

Keeping up with retail trends, and changes in consumer behaviour, is increasingly difficult with monolithic platforms that are slow and difficult to manage and improve. “Traditional” monolithic commerce platforms that integrate many sub-functions and capabilities often become intractable and nearly impossible to cater fast enough to the needs of your business. This can result in delays in innovation, preventing you from launching new experiences.

Using such monolithic commerce platforms today can push you down a path of investing to accommodate the platform vs having the platform accommodate the needs of your business. In order to solve this problem and be able to innovate freely, an increasing number of retailers and brands are turning to a headless commerce approach.

What is a headless commerce platform and how is it different?

Originally, commerce platforms offered an end-to-end commerce feature-set that was focused on providing a web storefront accessed from consumers’ PCs.  These “traditional” commerce platforms were built on a single-purpose architecture that was based on providing an online storefront with home delivery fulfilled from one or more centralized warehouse locations.  This was fine at the time that these platforms were built, but the new omnichannel world we live in today requires a different architecture that offers more flexibility, and more easily integrates into all types of new channels and consumer experiences.

A headless commerce platform is a different type of architecture that decouples the commerce foundation and logic from the front-end experience layer.  Headless commerce platforms are also referred to as “API-based platforms” because they provide a complete API surface that enables retailers with the freedom to design any commerce experience or business workflow they need, and to integrate other 3rd-party platforms more easily.  Development teams leverage this API layer to commerce-enable any consumer experience or device.

A proper headless commerce platform empowers you to tailor the front-end experiences. You can also deploy changes easily so you can customize the experience without changing the platform foundation.  In addition, headless platforms should provide an event-driven architecture that allows you to build your business processes exactly how you need them to be.  For example, your can customize workflows for omnichannel order fulfillment and integrate commerce data and processes easily with other internal platform’s you use (e.g. WMS, payment and fraud, marketing automation etc.).

The headless approach is ideal for mid-large retailers wanting to integrate an ecosystem of best-of-breed solutions.  It also allows them to leverage existing systems they have in place, so they don’t have to re-platform components that are still working well for them.

Headless Commerce Platform

Key benefits of a headless approach

  1. Create unique shopper experiences - With a headless approach, you will never have to compromise on the user’s experience since you are not limited and can choose to leverage any front-end solution you wish to use. It provides more freedom and flexibility to choose the CMS you want, build a unique mobile experience, or create digital experiences in-store to really capture the essence of your brand.
  2. Support all omnichannel fulfillment requirements -  In an omnichannel world convenience is key, you need to enable a “buy-anywhere fulfill-anywhere” capability for your customers. While many order management system providers claim to solve this problem for you, they only solve the part of the problem related to managing and orchestrating the order itself.  There is still the work related to the customer experience and the integration required between different systems to get the business process just right.  An API-based commerce platform with flexible workflow capabilities can more easily help you make your entire network of inventory accessible across all sales channels, while also helping you build a consistent consumer experience across all omnichannel fulfillment options.
  3. Easily integrate with other best-of-breed solutions - An API-based platform will enable you to integrate with other 3rd-party platforms easily so that you don’t have to compromise in any area of your technology stack. For example, you can select the Recommendation Engine or PIM that make the most sense for your needs, and integrate them via your commerce API layer.
  4. Reduce re-platforming costs - Make changes to your architecture, add new applications or replace existing ones without having to re-platform and rebuild your entire commerce ecosystem. You can kickstart your headless commerce transition by first taking on an initial problem or use case, such as enabling a new store fulfillment capability or building a new mobile shopping app. Then once you have the platform in place delivering successfully on the first use case, you can extend your investment to deliver other priorities on your roadmap.
  5. Deliver with speed and agility: By reducing the cost and complexity of re-platforming you deliver on your roadmap priorities faster with less risk, since you can implement one use case at a time and extend it based on your evolving requirements.

Get started with the only API-first platform with built-in omnichannel order management and fulfillment capabilities!

Here are few of the many reasons to go headless with Orckestra's API-first omnichannel commerce platform:

  • Benefit from a rich commerce API and event-driven platform that allows you to tailor your customers’ shopping experience to your exact requirements.
  • Omnichannel order orchestration and fulfillment is a core requirement of any modern retail business, and it is a built-in capability of Orckestra’s platform. Enabling BOPIS or Ship-from-store for example does not require heavy development since the platform has the APIs, workflows, order routing options, and notifications to support this.
  • Powered by Microsoft Azure, our API-first commerce platform helps you move quickly in the cloud, while leveraging the global scale and key innovations offered by Azure. You can start fast and expand economically as you grow.
  • Built with developers in mind, our Commerce OrchestrationTM Platform and comprehensive Commerce Services API layer make it easy for your development team to build new solutions.
  • Leverage already built-in applications as needed! Orckestra’s Commerce OrchestrationTM Platform does not force any compromise. You keep using the systems that you love, while you always have the option to use the various Orckestra business applications and built-in shopping experiences that are available.  

For more information about Orckestra’s headless commerce platform or to start your headless journey, please contact us.