Headless architecture helps retailers improve site search experience

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The e-commerce industry is booming – and the global pandemic contributed significantly to this. While consumers have readily accepted shopping online, their expectations have never been higher with demands for instant gratification, a seamless experience at every digital touchpoint, and faster delivery time. Having the ability to offer powerful site search can play a major role in delivering a successful e-commerce business. 

What are retailers’ most pressing priorities around site search? 

Companies are under increasing pressure to rapidly innovate. In 2020, digital commerce saw 10 years of growth in three months. On Black Friday 2020, Algolia’s data showed 4.5 billion search queries, peaking at 7.2 million queries per minute – an 85 per cent increase compared to Black Friday 2019. Yet, in a recent E-commerce search trend report* that surveyed 900 retailers, 40 per cent of them admit they’re currently unprepared to respond to new surges in consumer demand. Retailers recognise the valuable role search plays in converting online shoppers, and more than a third of these 900 retailers increased their search investment in the past 12 months, and 44 per cent are planning to further increase their search spend in the next year.

Retailers’ investments in search should focus on technologies that fit into headless architectures, which are commonly associated with easier implementation of omnichannel experiences. 

What are retailers’ biggest challenges right now? 

Competition is fierce and retailers that connect at a personal level with their customers will be the most successful. With the rise of real personalised experiences, brands will build stronger relationships with their customers. This means knowing who your customer is as soon as they arrive at a digital touchpoint, understanding both what they’re looking for and what they desire – and presenting them with relevant, actionable suggestions. This ensures the online shopping experience becomes an efficient, enjoyable and rewarding discovery experience. 

What strategies should they implement to overcome challenges? 

Retailers must rapidly innovate, present new consumer experiences, and constantly iterate their offerings dependent upon availability, competition and consumer demand. Customer expectations are increasing and they expect that the retailer “knows them” at first touch. Building these types of experiences has traditionally been very hard and complex.

The net result is that a new generation of API-First companies like Algolia, Twilio, Segment, and Stripe arose to provide a better option that provides retailers with a “jumpstart” using building blocks to create their digital touchpoints.

According to the E-commerce Search Trend report* 49 per cent and 42 per cent respectively of respondents recognise that a headless (API) architecture generates time savings and faster time to market, while improved services and ease of integration are also key benefits associated with an API-first approach. 

How headless architecture helping retailers with search? 

Headless commerce is the separation of the front end of an e-commerce experience from the back end, allowing for exceptional architectural flexibility. The commerce logic behind a retailer’s store, delivered through an API, serves as a core body to which one, two, or several “heads” as necessary or desired can be attached. “Heads” are customer digital touchpoints where transactions take place, or the systems used to support employees like merchandisers, warehouse staff and customer service representatives. Winning in today’s ultra-competitive e-commerce world is about creating a best-in-class customer experience for shoppers. A headless architecture enables exactly such journeys for modern shoppers across any digital touchpoint, while importantly giving retail tech teams fewer headaches and more agility.

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