Thanks to an e-commerce architecture that separates back end and front end, headless commerce promises more agility for brands and a better online experience for consumers.
According to Contentsquare’s latest 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark report based on 2020 data, average desktop and mobile conversion rates, respectively from 3.5% and 1.7% in 2019, have increased to 2, 3% and 1.5% in 2020. This conversion difference between desktop and mobile is noticed by many e-commerce players, especially among DNVBs, who massively capture their community on mobile. “Most of our customers bill between 5 and 10 million euros. And the conversion rate on mobile is three times lower than on desktop, while traffic is higher on mobile”, explains Benjamin Huteau, director of e-commerce at Digital Native Group, a consulting firm specializing in the DNVB and D2C model.
With acquisition costs still skyrocketing on social media, brands need to find a way to convert consumers who browse their website from their smartphone. “The problem is that most specialized agencies think of e-commerce sites in a desktop logic. And in this case, the UX is not made for mobile,” notes Benjamin Huteau. The solution ? The headless trade. This process, which consists of decoupling the front-end and back-end management of an e-commerce site, has been a reality in the United States for more than three years. The trend is slowly taking hold in the French e-commerce market, and digital brands are increasingly eyeing this new method.
Customize your front end
It must be said that the promises of the concept are all more attractive than the others. Starting with mobile web performance and therefore page load time. “The idea is to move from a responsive approach to mobile first. We want to challenge the mobile UX to anticipate the acceleration of usage in this channel”, explains Arthur Bonnecarrere, co-founder of Once, a French technology solution created in 2020. and a rare tricolor specialist in commerce headless for six months. Visual menu, fluid navigation between products, intuitive interactions, front-end user experience is guaranteed almost frictionless and latency free. “This part should be more flexible so that brands can customize their front end according to their values”, serine Arthur Bonnecarrere. While headless trading can be applied to all e-merchants, Once primarily targets DNVBs, who are experiencing strong growth and are constantly looking for agility and innovation.
Just like Spring, eco-laundry brand created in 2020. Since its first year of existence, Spring has faced certain limits in the development of its e-commerce website, at the same time impacting the mobile version. “As the site has improved, we’ve integrated complexity and specificity through our product catalog and subscription-based economic model,” explains Ben Guerville, co-founder of Spring. The different apps plugged into the Shopify tools we were using ended up making the code cumbersome and slowing down our site’s performance in terms of page load times.”
In December 2021, Spring’s website got a new headless commerce face thanks to the services of Once, which connected its front-end technology solution, with Shopify continuing to provide the back-end service for Spring. “Shopify has been fully aware of the challenges of headless commerce ever since the platform opened up its API to accommodate solutions like ours,” specifies the co-founder of Once. Even better, the Saas-mode ecommerce platform also offers its own headless commerce solution via Shopify Plus, which brands like Allbirds have signed up for.
In turn, Spring intends to improve its conversion rate on mobile, currently two times lower than on desktop, while the rate of its mobile traffic is 70%, and an impact on the acquisition cost.
On the performance side, at Commercetools, a cloud-based headless commerce platform that provides APIs to drive ecommerce sales, “we see a headless commerce impact of between 10 and 30 points on conversion rate, depending on our customers.” “, says Hubert Odend’hal, commercial director. While French digital brands are gradually taking over, the Commercetools solution serves 350 customers, like Lego or Ulta Beauty, all converted to the headless commerce approach.
What budget for brands?
Brands that opt for the Once solution must subscribe to a subscription of 1,500 euros per month that includes, in particular, the costs of editing and hosting the site, as well as tools for programmers. Added to this are the costs of migrating to headless. A substantial investment for young brands, but necessary according to Spring’s co-founder. “Depending on the stage of development and the level of importance a brand attaches to its website experience to improve its acquisition cost, headless commerce is a step forward, advises Ben Guerville. performance remains limited.”