Headless commerce strategies delivering new business models

Coronavirus restrictions are driving businesses to pivot their strategy and transition into new markets. Headless commerce strategies deliver scalable digital infrastructure that enables these new business models to generate impact and revenues faster.

Transitioning to new markets: change markets, change strategy

Rapidly pivoting your business model to operate in new channels is challenging. Customers in different markets respond to brands and their offerings in very different ways. It is unwise to assume that a proposition that’s successful in one market is an automatic success in another.

For example, if your core markets are usually business-focused, and you are transitioning into a B2C market, you should prepare and adapt to consumer purchasing habits. Some of the key questions to consider when transitioning into new channels include:

  • How can you build your brand for a new audience in this new market?
  • How can you restructure and refocus your digital presence for this new audience? Do you know what buyers need, what motivates them?
  • How can you add value, and demonstrate this value to the new audience?
  • How do you differentiate yourself from competitors with strong market positions?

From the outset, consider how you can create an ecommerce strategy based on your new market’s changing needs, preferences, and behaviours, with the aim of driving repeat purchases and improving long-term customer loyalty. Your overarching objective is to create a frictionless retail experience – because if consumers cannot get what they want fast, they’ll just shop somewhere else, especially if there are strong incumbents.

How headless commerce solutions facilitate new business models

What we have experienced during lockdown is unprecedented. Entire markets have ceased to exist overnight. Market savvy, quick thinking and agile brands have pivoted to replace these lost markets. Some brands did well, others less so. For instance, several household fitness brands and gym chains have moved towards offering subscription-based home workouts and classes. This type of transition has been relatively straightforward, given that many of these companies already have their own apps and digital channels.

Others, such as B2B food and grocery distributors who have lost 90% of their business as the food service market shut down overnight, have pivoted into consumer markets. This has been less successful for some distributors whose digital estates simply did not match consumer expectations of Customer Experience, usability and performance. Consumers have readily adapted to bulk purchasing, especially during times of shortage. But they have not accepted clumsy and dated ecommerce solutions unsuited to low transaction value high volume multidrop patterns.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors’ (PADI) transition to the B2C market is an interesting case study. The organisation’s globally demanded certification has been available in dive shops for decades, but the structuring of its B2B network has long prevented it from benefitting from additional sales opportunities.

To exploit these opportunities, PADI rebuilt its digital architecture around microservices. Implementing the headless commerce solution from commercetools, the brand developed a single product catalogue with multiple commerce-enabled B2B and B2C touchpoints, offering greater commercial opportunity and broader, larger revenue streams.

Adjusting to new markets: start small, grow large

Transitioning from B2B to B2C is challenging because consumers typically have different buying patterns, habits and expectations to business buyers. But just because the B2C market is challenging, it does not mean your transition needs to be. It just requires a change of thinking and approach. Taking a phased approach, you can be bold yet disciplined. You can also better manage risk if your new audience is not receptive.

The key to this approach is the adoption of headless commerce solutions. You can build your digital estate from the ground up and make your transition into new markets seamless. Prioritise the creation of a frictionless retail experience and then build towards more complex commerce functions as you become more digitally mature.

Eventually, enhancing the capabilities of your ecommerce solution will become necessary. Over the next decade, customer data will become the key to improving User Experiences and promoting more personalised products, and you need your solution to be equipped for this trend. Headless commerce solutions better facilitate this future because they are cloud-native.

Headless ecommerce professional development programme

We have teamed up with next-generation software company commercetools to create a professional development programme for businesses who are looking to survive and thrive during and after the coronavirus lockdown: the headless ecommerce masterclasses. The programme targets heads of digital, IT, marketing and ecommerce, and has been designed to equip you with the tools and the know-how to adopt the most suitable headless solutions for your business, allowing you to achieve faster digital success.

Turn your couch into a classroom with our Headless Ecommerce Masterclass