“Companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies.”Aberdeen Group
“Omnichannel marketing” is a term marketers are likely very familiar with. It refers to the customer’s experience when interacting with a brand across various channels.
This could be anything from visiting a company website to browsing products on social media to making a purchase in-store. Much like any time you’ve tried to do several things at once — delivering an omnichannel experience can be quite challenging for businesses. How could you remove the friction involved with creating a customer-centric omnichannel experience? Utilizing a headless architecture.
In this blog post, we will discuss the growth of omnichannel marketing and how headless architectures are helping organizations overcome some of the challenges involved in creating an omnichannel experience for their customers.
The growth of omnichannel, “Bricks & Clicks” marketing
Omnichannel marketing is not a new concept, but it has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. This is largely due to the growth of digital channels and the rising use of mobile devices. Businesses are recognizing the need to meet their customers anywhere they are. This often means being present on multiple channels – whether that’s online using a desktop or smartphone, voice using Alexa or like devices, or physically in brick-and-mortar stores.
The “bricks and clicks” movement has been accelerated by the pandemic. More than one-third of Americans have made omnichannel behaviors such as “buy online, pickup in-store” part of their regular shopping pattern, and two-thirds planning to continue1.
A recent study shows nearly 60% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a seamless experience across all channels, and this number is even higher for millennials. 70% say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a consistent experience across all channels2.
Another study found that the vast majority of consumers (89%) expect brands to offer a consistent experience across all channels. This number is even higher for millennials, with over 90% saying they are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a consistent experience across all channels3. And Gen Z’ers buy in even more so, as research shows they’re most likely to evaluate brands and retailers on the seamlessness of their experience.
There is clearly a growing demand for omnichannel experiences. To meet this demand, businesses need to find ways to deliver consistent, personalized experiences across all channels. This is where headless architectures come in.
Headless architectures facilitate omnichannel engagement
With a traditional CMS every new channel – from mobile site, app, to social media – has its own CMS because the content cannot be reused. Some organizations can make this work— until the volume of content and channels increases. If each channel needs its own content and approach in a traditional environment, that means a lot of manual work, time, and limited scalability. It can frustrate omnichannel experiences and business growth.
A headless architecture is a way of building software applications by decoupling the front-end from the back-end.
In a headless architecture, the front-end is not dependent on the back-end and vice versa. This allows businesses to deliver tailored experiences through any channel or device, without being limited by the technology used to build the back-end.
Another benefit of a headless architecture is that it allows businesses to easily make changes to their experiences without having to rebuild the entire back-end. This is because the front-end is not dependent on the back-end. For example, if a business wanted to add a new channel, they could do so without having to make any changes to the back-end. This is a significant advantage over traditional architectures, where the entire back-end would need to be rebuilt to add a new channel.
Omnichannel customer experiences are becoming more important as businesses increasingly rely on multiple channels to reach their customers. Headless architectures provide several benefits that make them well-suited for businesses looking to create omnichannel experiences, including:
- Consistent, optimized content for all IoT channels: Deliver channel-specific content and displays for a consistent experience across websites, mobile apps, emails, voice-activated digital assistants, Apple Watch, etc.
- Eliminating data silos for a smoother customer journey: Isolated data across channels can cause miscommunication and hiccups in the customer journey, and repeating journey stages can be frustrating for customers.
- Personalizing content: Better personalization across devices with optimized layouts and content presentation for each channel.
- Better securing customer data: Custom APIs allow headless experiences to integrate with technologies for marketing automation, etc. – fostering more tailored and secure experiences
- Cross-channel promotions and loyalty programs: Brands can offer their clients cross-channel promotions and loyalty programs, meeting customers where they are and rewarding them with the currency of their choice, whether that’s frequent flyer miles, hotel points, or cash back.
- Content localization: Deliver language and region-specific content, easily adapting your content to a specific language, country, or region.
- Faster campaign development: Content authors can make one change in the headless CMS rather than having to update multiple systems across channels, allowing them to easily manage unlimited channels without affecting the user experience.
- Future-proofing their omnichannel strategy: Decoupling the front and back end technologies (via the API), allowing for a best-in-breed model where technologies can be replaced to stay ahead of the curve.
Deploying headless improves the experience for the Developer, the Marketer, and the Customer
By decoupling content from presentation, a headless approach helps marketing teams to more quickly build omnichannel experiences – creating content once, then rendering it across the many devices that impact a customer’s journey – while empowering IT to integrate best-in-breed technologies behind a strong API layer.
Headless architectures help you fulfill the customer experience in a way that’s seamless, integrated, and elegant. Regardless of what you envision for your customer experience, with headless you can bring it to life in a way that advances your customer’s journey while giving your marketing and IT teams the flexibility to innovate.
The Enterprise Architect can integrate key business systems, flawlessly.
IT teams can choose best-in-breed technologies without additional dependencies on marketing, leveraging an API-driven architecture to integrate them in a way that’s secure and scalable. Benefits include:
- Choose best-in-breed technologies rather than monolithic one-size-fits-all technology stacks
- Better security due to a decoupled code base – allowing changes to each microservice without affecting others
- Easier to scale due to modular technology stack and API-first approach
- Simpler maintenance; no more platform upgrades, re-platforming, or invasive third-party integrations associated with monolithic CMS
The Marketer gets to orchestrate the experience and tell the brand story, as they want.
Headless CMS solutions let marketers control the front-end experience (design, content, and IA), fulfill campaigns, and drive conversions without being constrained by heavy back-end technologies. Benefits include:
- Increase speed to market by creating content once and reusing it across IoT devices
- Avoid content siloes and fragmented customer experiences
- Greater personalization
- Better web vitals, SEO, and shorter load times
- Faster editing, deployment, and control over the front-end UX display
The Customer receives value from the brand, plain and simple.
Meet the customer at the right time and place in their journey with elegant, insights-driven experiences – making it easier to achieve their goals and build loyalty. Benefits include:
- Valuable, consistent experiences across all channels and devices
- Content that is consumable on each channel as it’s meant to be consumed
- Better web experiences that are faster due to shorter load times (and no downtimes)
- More personalized omnichannel experiences
- Improved channel switching capabilities allowing customers to pause and continue journeys across various devices – making them less likely to shop elsewhere
- More secure experiences knowing their data is safe
Make headless a reality
In today’s constantly connected world, customers expect a seamless, personalized experience—no matter how or where they interact with a brand. Headless architectures and omnichannel experiences make that possible—and businesses that embrace them will be well-positioned to win in the age of the connected customer.
What do you think? Are headless architectures and omnichannel experiences the future of marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments!