Content marketers always need to keep up with trends by constantly revising and refreshing their content to reach the ideal audiences. But many times, traditional eCommerce platforms limit creativity with restrictive templates and formats.
Research by CMI on B2B content marketing trends shows that a majority of businesses (58%) rate their content marketing efforts as only “moderately” successful. If we add in the companies that rate it “minimally” or “not at all” successful, the total jumps to 74%. That’s a big percentage of companies that could be getting more out of their content marketing campaigns, though for these underperforming businesses, a different approach might be necessary.
What if there was a way to bypass the limitations of traditional eCommerce and easily create content that best suits your business allowing full design control? That’s what headless commerce can do for you.
What is Headless Commerce?
Think of headless commerce like another famous headless being: the Headless Horseman from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” He could choose any object to be his head, so he chose a jack o’ lantern because it was scary: portraying the perfect image for his brand and to maximize the effect on his audience.
Headless eCommerce follows the same idea. By separating the head and body of eCommerce—the content management system (CMS) and the platform—you can fully customize either part without affecting the other, offering more flexibility and freedom for the marketing team.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a brilliant marketing design idea but not being able to pull it off because of the limitations caused by frontend template restrictions. Headless removes this restriction, allowing your content marketing team complete flexibility to bring their visions to life.
Through the headless platform API, the marketing team is able to build their own user experiences by requesting eCommerce data from the platform. Grabbing products, order or account information when it’s needed. The eCommerce data is delivered through a consistent and predictable framework so it’s easy to work with.
With creative freedom comes the ability to more effectively appeal to your audience base, a must for any type of B2B outreach.
Save Time and Effort
One of the biggest complaints from B2B marketing teams is the time it takes to update traditional eCommerce templates. In many cases, the layout is tightly linked with the core of the eCommerce platform. In order to make updates, the entire platform requires an upgrade which may or may not be feasible.
Given the cost and time to invest in preparing, testing, and launching an entire upgrade, it’s difficult to justify that expense for a single marketing change. In addition, your vision of the webpage must adhere to the specific format of the eCommerce template that you’ve chosen, further limiting your creativity.
With a headless eCommerce platform, the sky’s the limit. The two systems aren’t tied to one another, so a cosmetic edit on the frontend won’t affect the eCommerce platform in any way. Similarly, if you need to update your CMS, the eCommerce platform is unaffected.
Manage Different Channels
When there are numerous sales channels and opportunities for bringing in new customers, the marketing team needs the control to ensure that content appears accurately and attractively across all of these channels without disrupting the backend or setting up separate eCommerce platforms for each.
With a headless commerce platform, you’re building out those sales channels and experiences and connecting to a single eCommerce data repository.
The updates you make through the platform are globally available through the headless connection. For example, if a product goes out of stock, any channel selling that product gets the updated inventory immediately and the product page(s) are updated. Accounts, promotions, orders, settings, and the entire data set is all accessible. Which means no syncing and exporting, or “missing” data between multiple systems. You have a single view into your business.
Create More Content
If your business is like most, one of the most vital strategies for building traffic and increasing order volume relies on content marketing. The challenges presented to marketers to continually add valuable and engaging content are constant and any impediment to building out that content marketing plan can seriously affect the business. Since running a headless eCommerce platform separate from the CMS requires less time and energy to make edits, your team is free to update content as frequently as they need to.
By removing some of the roadblocks standing in the way of your content marketing team, they can add and change content easily, which will provide a better, more engaging experience for your clients. In addition, because the CMS system is managed separately, the requirement to use the system that comes bundled with the eCommerce platform is removed and the marketing team is able to select the platform that best fits its needs.
A headless eCommerce system also allows content marketers to update information almost instantly. Running a sale on a product?
Update the information in your headless commerce platform and it’s immediately applied to all linked eCommerce pages. Your team won’t have to take the time and hunt down all instances of the product on your website to update the pricing. Using a traditional eCommerce system, continuously keeping up with that many updates would be impossible.
Works with Any CMS
Ever hear someone remark that they’re “forced” to use a certain platform for something it’s not great at? It’s far too common. Using the toolset you want without making hard compromises is always ideal, yet, traditionally, eCommerce platforms haven’t given that choice.
One of the major benefits of the headless system is that both parts work independently. That means that any CMS, or even multiple content management systems, can work with a headless eCommerce system. There are no software limitations.
A headless eCommerce platform will also allow you to switch your CMS more easily than if you were using a tightly integrated eCommerce platform. With traditional eCommerce, if you found a new platform that you’d like to use, you would have to start from scratch and set everything up brand new. By using a headless platform, all you have to do is relink the eCommerce platform with the new CMS. You’d only have to make updates on one piece of software instead of starting from scratch.
Headless eCommerce: Worth the Hype
With all the benefits that a headless eCommerce system brings to the table, there’s no reason that B2B content marketers shouldn’t be excited. By giving them complete creative control over their online presence without the limitations of frustrating templates, they can create a cohesive user experience for their clients from discovery to checkout across all touchpoints.
Brad Gustavesen is the CMO at Slatwall Commerce, an eCommerce platform company, based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Slatwall Commerce is a modern, hosted, eCommerce platform that powers B2B and B2C companies with enterprise features and headless commerce flexibility.