For all of us keeping track of how e-commerce is rapidly growing since 2020, the even faster rise of D2C brands is mind-blowing. Every day brings in the news of yet another Indian D2C brand raising VC funds to fuel their already fast expansion.
India now has close to 1,000 D2C brands - names like Licious, Mamaearth, boAt, or Wakefit are widely known and loved. From skincare and grooming to electronics, direct to consumer is sector agnostic.
D2C = Digital Omnichannel
Being D2C today means being where the shoppers are and developing a deep relationship with them.
In the digital world, D2C brands are leveraging social channels such as Instagram or Facebook, listing their catalog and products on marketplaces such as Amazon, and also ensuring high performing web-and-mobile stores where shoppers can directly browse, love, and buy their brand's products.
This adds a ton of complexity to their day-to-day business and store operations. Imagine the equivalent of this in the non-digital world, where a single team is running all of McDonald's in India, handling customers, their queries, their orders, throughout the day, 24/7 on the phone, SMS, email, and in-person as well.
What is ‘Headless’?
Headless is a technology started in the content management space to support online customer experiences. It's all about authoring once and adapting across - a central nervous system that fuels a cohesive customer experience no matter where the customer is at, while at the same time ensuring that there are no redundant workflows or systems in the process so that the experience is not just seamless but also fast.
"Headless commerce platforms decouple the frontend shopping experience - or 'head' - from the backend commerce functionality - or 'body,'" Faisal Masud, CEO of Fabric, a headless commerce platform, explains.
By adopting a technology architecture that prioritizes the delivery of customized digital experiences across channels over systemic complexities, Headless Commerce enables businesses to optimize e-commerce experiences faster.
Headless commerce comes power-packed with features that enhance the customer experience - for example, powerful product catalogs, shopping carts, bundles and recommendations, and checkouts - all these without the constraints of a standard template. E-commerce-centric abilities can be easily reused and customized to deliver a brand's unique shopping experience.
The Promise of Headless Technology
"The promise of headless commerce is the freedom to sell anywhere without design or development constraint," the team at Shopify says. "It's as if the world is your storefront and headless your builder toolkit."
With a headless infrastructure, anyone can turn new channels into a digital storefront without having to set up complex new infrastructural systems or workflows. For example, a headless approach can easily turn any of the following channels into a new storefront from where customers and shoppers can directly enter the buying funnel -
● Social media
● Mobile apps
● Smart mirrors
● Self-serve kiosks
● Vending machines
● Voice-assisted technology (like Amazon Alexa)
There are several benefits of going headless for an Indian retailer today:
- Faster Time to Market for New Channels - From TikTok to Amazon Marketplace, using headless technologies can help brands and retailers go live on any channel seamlessly.
- Increased Visibility and Control - The headless infrastructure is central to all parts of the shopping funnel and across channels too. This gives never-before insights into the entire customer experience journey and hence allows tighter control.
- Easier to Personalize the Experience - Once you have visibility over the entire omnichannel funnel, it gets easier to deliver a personalized experience to the customers across their journey from one part of the funnel to another. And also across channels.
"Shoppers are 40 percent more likely to spend more than planned when the shopping experience is highly personalized", a report from Shopify states. Hence, choosing to go headless gives a brand the agility necessary to keep up with changing customer acquisition trends.
The Future of Technology in Retail
McKinsey partner Praveen Adhi says: "We’re going to see digital mannequins that quickly change what they're wearing based on who you are and what you like. There will be a lot more in-store experiences to help customers engage with the product, touch and feel it, and get to know it."
Headless and omnichannel are a match made in heaven because a consistent and unified shopping experience is available for all consumers - whether in-store or off. Headless commerce can power a mobile app, an internet of things devices such as an intelligent mirror or watch, voice shopping, a Buy button, or a progressive web app. Headless commerce turns any possible customer touchpoint into a sales opportunity while the commerce side is managed from a single back end.
And in giving brands oversight of their data, headless commerce is the foundation upon which businesses can build sustainable, personal customer relationships and achieve long-term growth.