How Headless Commerce Impacts Merchants

How Headless Commerce Impacts Merchants

Friday, January 12, 2018Lindsay Hampson
You may be sitting in your storeroom, looking at box after box of your product thinking about the next channel you should (or could) be selling on. Or you might be coming back from lunch with a customer who told you how one of your competitors is “…selling over Facebook. Why aren’t you there?” 
The ways in which you will find and sell to your buyers in the coming days, and years will change and evolve.
The trick: Make 2018 the year you plan for agility.  
It’s time to sink hooks into your business’ legacy cloud or prem ERP system… the one you know isn’t going away any time soon.  
These hooks need to connect-up to an open, cloud-based, and universal integration platform that connects to the channels you sell on today, but is also ready to connect to commerce platforms considering headless commerce, like ElasticPath and BigCommerce.  Your processes and vital systems need to be ready to accept data from new API endpoints, apps, and EDI trading partners.  
Prepare connectivity to your ERP now.  That is the trick.  Then you and your teams will be able to seamlessly flow information from current and future APIs and EDI trading partners to your ERP.  Create a platform that is ready to change.  A platform that has considered headless.  
Spend a few minutes reading about headless commerce and how you can create an “open” platform for whatever consumer consumption touch points your business wants to use in the future.  
Let’s take a step back.  
  • Your target customer at their core isn’t changing.  The Tom, Louise, Yves, or ‘B2B customer A’ still have the same hot buttons and needs.
  • Your legacy ERP isn’t changing, although perhaps older and perhaps even on-prem. 
  • However, the opportune moment to fit your product nicely into your buyer’s hand at Target is changing.  (But you already knew that) 
Current state.
Many businesses in North America, with revenue under a billion dollars, are typically selling across 3 “main-drags:”
  1. In stores, 
  2. On their own websites, 
  3. And on a marketplace, or two.  
Those 3 avenues are the life blood of the typical business today.  (If you are a B2B business, perhaps you are just beginning to consider an eCommerce platform for sales).
While these avenues won’t go away any time soon, new end points are popping up all over the place.
Newer trends in buying are baffling in their volume and simplicity.  Consider social media. Instagram commerce, FaceBook commerce, and in-app purchase.  Headless end points such as virtual / voice assistant buying, ‘one button beside your washing machine for detergent’ buttons, wearable purchase, and even virtual reality shopping.    
Why are these futuristic end points valuable?  They create superb user and customer experiences, that are personal, easy and engaging.  
While I could never in a million years guess each one of these emerging customer purchase gizmos or apps, what is important is that your team readies for ERP now.
How connected is your ERP?
Do you have ERP integration that…?Integrating and syncing your ERP and EDI
  1. Seamlessly flows orders, inventory, shipping, product, invoice information to and from your ERP and your sales avenues today?
  2. Is open to add new APIs and EDI trading partners as your customer buying behaviour changes?   
Preparation can enable you to be ready and open to new consumer-to-buy apps and technologies.  And, preparing an integration from your legacy ERP or accounting system to a central platform that is open to EDI and APIs is key.  
Let’s now take a step forward.  
A newer term, headless commerce, considers all the places and ways a consumer (or a business buyer) wants to interact to purchase.  

3 actions you can take today: 
1. If you don’t already have an integration platform, begin researching one.  An integration-Platform-as-a-Service vendor, like ebridge Connections, can be a great first step forward.
2. Learn about new ways to get in front of your customer exactly when they want to buy.  
3. Read, learn, test, repeat.  

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