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Make it Big Podcast: What Headless Commerce Really Means for Your Business with Codal
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Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce.
In this episode, BigCommerce Partner of the Year Codal joins BigCommerce to talk headless commerce. Listen to Codal CEO, Keval Baxi, and Director of Partnerships, Ryan Bloms, take BigCommerce Senior Vice President of Product, Troy Cox, through their success stories of headless implementations and winning user experiences.
Troy Cox: Let’s explain what is headless commerce, how is it different from traditional commerce, and what are some of the common reasons that a merchant or retailer would choose headless versus traditional? What do you think? Tell me about that.
Keval Baxi: “So headless commerce really means the separation of your frontend and your backend. So what your customers see on the frontend is the look and feel, the search, the filters, the product pages. All of that is UI components.
“What we do with those commerce is decouple that so we can integrate those at various API layers. That might be from systems that you have, from your ecommerce providers all the way to your ERPs and some complex experiences.
“What we found is merchants really want to control the experience on the frontend. So traditional ecommerce sites are monolithic. They’re a full package and you don’t have as granular control as you may want. So with headless, you can really go to the layer of animation, the layer of data as far as you want.
“Another common element is, let’s say your marketing team is already familiar with the CMS that they really love and they work with.
Headless allows you to continue to use that you don’t need to make huge transformations in your business just to use a certain ecommerce provider or move your site over to BigCommerce.
TC: We’ve been talking a lot about the possibilities of headless and what it can do for retailers. I’d love to hear from you, do you have some real world examples, some real brands that have implemented headless and the benefits that they’ve gotten from that and how it’s really helping them drive growth?
Ryan Bloms: “Yeah. Troy, you said it. As we opened up and you introduced our agency, we did win the Best User Experience Design Award for BigCommerce last year and it was on a headless implementation. For anybody who’s ever come to Chicago, you’ve probably smelt Garrett Popcorn. I swear they pumped that smell out into the street.
“They just open the doors. You can smell the popcorn on the street. And us being local Chicagoans here, we really tried to recreate that in-shop experience online of building a tin of popcorn. You can select your three flavors of popcorn. And bringing that experience online, we went through a detailed discovery with this merchant, which we do with a lot of our merchants just to really understand their needs. And we determine that, hey, to truly accomplish this, we’re probably going to need to utilize some sort of content management system and really accelerate some of the actual design of the site.
“And our team, they did a lot of research and physically went to these popcorn shops to understand how they operate and the questions that the customers are asking when they come in. How many does this feed? What are the flavors, what are the dietary elements of each popcorn flavor?
And then building that design on top of a platform like BigCommerce with the open APIs… but it was a no brainer to go headless anyways for Garrett Popcorn.
TC: How do I know if it’s right for my business? I’d love to get your advice on that. Which type of merchants or what are the things that merchants should consider in deciding whether or not headless is right for their business?
KB: “Yeah. So at Codal, what we do is we do a process of a headless assessment. Our goal really in there is to understand each department and how they operate in organization. So from accounting rules to tax rules, shipping, product catalog management, seasonality of products, we do this three to five week discovery with most of our merchants to really map out, all right, what are your benefits from going headless? As much as headless is the hot topic of the eCommerce ecosystem, we want to ensure that there’s value, right? We don’t want to just build it and follow the train without a real ROI factor attached to it. So we would really advise going through a layer of assessment.
“Another great resource is the BigCommerce SA team and also just the tools available on their marketplace and forums, really understanding how BigCommerce can play into that ecosystem, where there are handoffs, where trade offs exist. And then, really look at where do I go? Do I launch on a multi-store front with headless? Do I go with a single storefront per each of my business entities? Wherever that goes, we want to understand that upfront and then invest into the user experience phase to make that come to reality.”
Pablo Gallaga is a Senior Manager of Content Marketing at BigCommerce where he focuses on thought leadership content. His years of experience in tech, from startups to enterprise, inform his ecommerce insights.