Interview with Elastic Path: Headless Commerce

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Matthias Weber in conversation with John Bruno, Vice President of Product Marketing at Elastic Path, about headless commerce.

Interview with John Bruno, Vice President of Product Marketing at Elastic Path, about Headless Commerce

Elastic Path offers the leading purpose-built headless commerce platform to unify experiences across the entire enterprise. As the pioneer of headless commerce, Elastic Path empowers you to sell products and services in the connected world through the web and a touch of a finger or a spoken command. Its products, including Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, deliver commerce freedom and accelerate the creation of any customer experience on a single platform. Through collaborative innovation between Elastic Path’s team, customers and partners, Elastic Path leads the way in revolutionizing commerce.

1. What is headless commerce and why is it the future?

Sooner than marketers want to admit, more customers than not will expect to shop directly via Instagram, Alexa devices, smart refrigerators, or whatever other new touchpoints emerge ten years from now. It comes down to enabling commerce at any of these points, not just when a customer has wandered to your web storefront. It’s also important that marketers don’t treat these future channels as an afterthought. Rather, they should put the need to evolve and adapt front and centre of their marketing strategy to handle new touchpoints as they come. And that’s what brings us to headless commerce.

Adapting to these new touchpoints requires eliminating old barriers between marketing and commerce functions. The marketing website and commerce site are often two separate entities because traditional commerce engines can’t support the marketing content. You can create the most innovative marketing experiences you want, but if your back-end can’t integrate factors like product catalogues, shopping baskets, account information, etc., you’ll always be back at square one. Headless commerce enables brands to transcend this by overcoming that obstacle.

Headless commerce is where the customer-facing front-end is decoupled from the back-end commerce business logic/functional layer (shopping cart, payments etc.) This separation allows the two to work and change independently of one another at their own pace and enables businesses to create new experiences without risking existing ones.

A headless architecture is achieved with application programming interfaces (APIs) so commerce functions can be accessed by any front-end. Developers can use these APIs to deliver customer experiences to any screen or connected device with any technology or customer experience platform they desire.

Why is it the future?

New shoppable touchpoints appear regularly these days. Businesses — if they have the right commerce platform — can place buy buttons on their social media channels. They can enable chatbots to take customers’ orders and modify service contracts. They can even allow customers to purchase products and upgrades from inside a video game or virtual reality experience. And increasingly, equipment and machines can monitor themselves and schedule their own service calls and order replacement parts when needed. Even the most prominent futurists struggle to predict what experiences will look like in the next 3-5 years, but regardless of what those experiences are, a headless commerce platform ensures that it will still work.

Technology will evolve faster and faster and drive organisations to help us experience the world in new and better ways. The Elastic Path platform is built for the future. A future where companies will have dozens or hundreds of different touch points where they’ll want to engage and transact with their customers. A future where we don’t even know what those touchpoints will be. The only way to be ready for this is to build for a world beyond the webstore and the mobile store.

continue to: 2. How does it differentiate from other services already out there, including commercetools?