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Small Steps, Smart Gains: 4 Intelligent Approaches To Deliver Commerce Your Way

When it comes to ecommerce architecture, you have more flexibility than ever. Here are some of our favourite ways to unlock agility, speed, and revenue.

“Quick wins” are music to our ears. To stay ahead, you need to move fast: test, learn, optimise, repeat. It used to be that commerce deployments were massive and intimidating, requiring major IT resources, long timelines, and big budgets. But with the constant pressure commerce leaders face to both innovate and be more efficient, that kind of investment doesn’t always fly. 

Thanks to intelligent and flexible new technology, you have many options for implementation at your fingertips. What’s right for your business could mean quick iterative improvements, adding AI capabilities, mixing and matching headless and traditional ecommerce architecture, embedding commerce everywhere, or anything in between.

Flexibility for the win

New channels are emerging constantly, and 83% of digital leaders are already expanding their channel strategies. How great would it be to embed AI-driven commerce in every touchpoint in the customer journey? Imagine a GPT-powered concierge that can bring the best parts of in-person shopping to every digital channel; service agents who can accept payments in the field with a Pay Now link; or supercharged merchants using generative AI to improve product descriptions. With a flexible platform, every step of the customer journey is your chance to maximise revenue, savings, and relationships.

Businesses must differentiate on customer experience. Take outdoor products manufacturer YETI, for example. To launch Drinkware Finder, its new immersive customer experience, YETI used a composable storefront to work untethered from traditional ecommerce design constraints, iterate quickly, and go live in less than two months.

Perhaps you want to focus your resources where they have the most impact by phasing your headless commerce transformation. Children’s furniture brand Stokke started by reimagining its checkout experience first. By working at its own speed, the Stokke team minimised risk and costs, and saw a 29% increase in checkout conversions. After a successful deployment, Stokke moved quickly to its next phase.

Whatever your business calls for, you can stay agile and get to market faster when your ecommerce architecture flexes with you.

Your guide to finding your best-fit storefront

Discover the storefront strategy that fits your business best with this decision tree.

Four ways to tackle a commerce implementation

These four approaches give you flexibility in how you approach your commerce implementation. The right course for you, whether you adopt one of these or mix and match, will depend on the unique needs of your business.

1. Embedded commerce

If you want to unlock new revenue opportunities without reinventing your entire commerce architecture — and without a storefront at all — consider embedding commerce into your existing service and sales workstreams. Consumers already engage in an average of nine different touchpoints with a company, so extending commerce to those channels is a simple way to both generate new revenue and improve customer experience. For your business, that might mean giving your service agents the ability to collect payments through a transaction link right within a chat session or field service appointment. For sales, it could mean turning on self-service reordering portals to enable one-click reorders, or allowing reps to process orders on behalf of their customers.

2. Out-of-the-box templates

When you need to get to market quickly or empower merchandisers or marketers with self-service tools, using predesigned templates is a good way to go. They give you a tried-and-true library of configurations like home pages, carts, checkouts, PLPs, and PDPs that you can implement quickly. From there, click-based merchandising tools and page editors let your teams build and update pages in minutes, even using generative AI to write product descriptions, and launch campaigns and promos without the help of the IT department. 

The best platforms will also include preconfigured integrations such as Apple Pay, let you mix and match with composable storefronts, embed AI capabilities, and give you the flexibility to scale with your platform as your commerce needs grow. Downsides? Because templates are an out-of-the-box solution, they don’t provide the same level of agility as more composable solutions.

3. Composable storefronts

Composable storefronts are customisable storefronts built for headless commerce. In headless architectures, the head, or public-facing site your customers interact with, is detached from the body, or the back end, where data is collected and transactions are processed.

A composable storefront is fully customisable, letting you easily build the right set of components and functionality for your headless site. And there’s a huge bonus: The storefront operations — like hosting, securing, and scaling — are all managed on your behalf.

Composable commerce helps you operate more efficiently thanks to faster development cycles and the ability to make quick changes. You also maintain complete design and process freedom. And yes, you can deliver AI-powered customer experiences. Ultimately, composable storefronts reduce the cost and improve the ROI of building and managing a headless architecture.

4. Bring your own storefront

BYOH (Bring Your Own Head) might not be engraved on many party invitations, but this option can make a lot of sense for certain companies or projects. You may have already invested in your own storefront for headless. Or you may have significant IT resources that can handle complexity, and your organisation is committed to the long-term maintenance and support of your tech. In these cases, you can create an extremely customised or specialised experience with integrations or homegrown apps. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to get exactly what you want, but be aware that this strategy requires a large IT team and a lot of overhead.

The right ecommerce architecture keeps up with you

There’s no one right way to build an ecommerce infrastructure. But as a commerce leader, it will always be a priority to respond quickly to market demands, add revenue streams, and maximise your resources — all while putting your customers first. A flexible and intelligent technology platform can be your best partner in creating a digital experience as unique as your brand.

Duluth Trading Co. goes lightning fast with headless commerce

and a headless architecture in just a few months. (Yes, it’s possible.)

Erin Emery

Erin Emery is head of content, commerce, at Salesforce, where she leads the content strategy team for Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Salesforce Experience Cloud.

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