Customer expectations are at an all time high. To keep up, retailers and brands are moving away from the traditional monolith to a modern commerce architecture. In other words, a decoupled architecture in which the commerce and content systems are connected via APIs to a separate web storefront.
This “headless commerce” approach gives you the freedom to innovate the digital customer experience quickly and frequently.
How would it work?
A decoupled web storefront like Mobify would layer on top of your commerce and content applications with APIs and render the front-end experience. This separates the customer experience from any backend business logic, giving your team the freedom and agility to move much faster.
A day in the life of a…
This approach is very different than a traditional monolithic one, which means it can change your team’s day-to-day.
Moving to this new world can cause some anxiety for those who don’t understand exactly what this change would look like, so this blog post provides a glimpse into a day in the life with a modern commerce architecture. We look at the typical tasks and responsibilities for three key roles, and highlight how they would change in this new world.
Task: Build and deploy new pages and features.
- Build new pages and capabilities in the ecommerce platform.
- Use backend programming languages and templates to create new pages or capabilities, and wait for the next release window to test and deploy changes.
- Build new pages and capabilities in a decoupled web storefront and pull commerce and content functionality from your commerce and content systems via APIs.
- Deploy bundles in minutes instead of hours by updating front-end code without touching underlying business logic or backend integrations, and layer on automation for front-end testing and deployments.
Task: Implement UX changes and measure the impact.
- Make UX changes directly in the ecommerce platform.
- Work in a multi-month waterfall model with upstream requirements, create mocks/wireframes, and undergo several UAT cycles.
- Queue changes for the next ecommerce platform release window, or after code freeze, and deploy all changes during the early morning to avoid chances of errors impacting users.
- Review and QA changes on staging several weeks after code is committed, measure results, and go through another multi-month waterfall cycle to rectify any issues found with analytics.
- Make UX changes in a decoupled web storefront independent of the backend systems.
- Work in a collaborative agile model where teams all work on user testing, discovery, and continuous iterative enhancements measured via analytics.
- Push front-end changes during normal working hours and roll back in 90 seconds if needed.
- Review and QA changes immediately with a multi-disciplinary team, and leverage automation built into the build pipeline.
- Review impact on analytics and create new stories/experiments on what customer experience enhancements to test next.
Task: Implement the latest best practices around performance.
- Optimize for page load times by applying front-end engineering practices, but rely on the backend team to handle holiday-level scaling by scaling data centers and virtual machines/containers.
- Participate in annual load testing and holiday period pre-planning, and adhere to code freeze to minimize the negative impact on performance during holidays.
- Fully own page load times and front-end scalability as a front-end team.
- Monitor and react to changes in real user performance by scaling the front-end independently with auto-scaling for capacity based on serverless techniques.
- Iteratively improve and experiment with constantly changing browser enhancements, and measure page load times automatically via continuous integration on a daily basis.
- Map performance to business metrics constantly with analytics.
Digital Marketer / Site Merchandiser
Task: Update content on existing web pages (products, pricing, promotions, etc.).
- Coordinate relevant content changes across teams based on a content calendar.
- Wait for content deployments to the ecommerce staging site to preview content, and stay up late to adjust any incorrect content to make sure to hit the ecommerce launch window.
- Update content in headless content management system (CMS) and send a notification to any necessary approvers to review.
- Approver reviews the newly published content in-context of the actual front-end user experience and comments, approves, or rejects the submission well ahead of the publication date.
Task: Update content localization/translation across all channels.
- Identify content that needs to be translated when there’s a new locale and manually extract elements based on language tags (if they exist).
- Translate content in-house or send to a translation service.
- Parse and cut and paste the files into the new locale fields for the new language.
- QA and test content before publishing.
- Tag content in headless CMS when a new locale is established.
- Translate the content in-house or with translation service.
- Content is automatically imported into the appropriate workspaces for the content owners.
- Review in a fully rendered preview, make any minor changes in-line, and approve for promotion to production.
Task: Plan and deploy new content for product launches or seasonal campaigns.
- Develop a project plan to coordinate multiple departments to provide product information, imagery, pricing, availability, locale-specific information, ad copy, and promotional information.
- As each task is completed, add the elements to the online records, test, and mark them as completed.
- Ensure extensive cross-team communication to stay in sync on timelines and the compatibility of the assets.
- Identify a project template for a new product and/or campaign in the headless CMS to automatically load in and the workflow and required participants.
- Set the required go-live date and tasks will be automatically assigned.
- As the necessary pieces are completed, the workflow will adjust the schedule to ensure timely assembly and testing for the product or campaign.
Task: Optimize the site search.
- Examine the search logs periodically for hits and misses, and manually track areas where there are a significant number of misses.
- Match the missed search terms to products or content that you’re aware of, and request that IT add new search rules to the indices.
- Test new search rules before they go live.
- Leverage built-in search engine (included with most headless CMS solutions) to generate live dashboards showing search efficiency and trending terms, as well as the conversion or click-through rate related to the search.
Digital Product Manager
Task: Prioritize and schedule strategic and tactical opportunities.
- Spend weeks writing up large market and product requirements docs to drive cost estimates and committee approvals on a quarterly or yearly basis.
- Work with an empowered multi-discipline agile team that independently owns the backlog of strategies and tactics by autonomously owning the decoupled web storefront separately from any backend teams.
Task: Coordinate multiple roles and teams to drive execution and results.
- Drive design requirements and projects up-front with strict schedules and launch plans.
- Work closely with design, engineering, and analytics throughout the entire lifecycle to adjust design/requirements continuously based on small deployments and short feedback loops via continuous integration and continuous deployment with a decoupled web storefront.
Task: Promote better decision making with constant experimentation.
- Draft up ideas, do extensive research and make decisions based on large assumptions.
- Verify assumptions based on post launch results.
- Work closely with design and engineering to design and execute a constant stream of experiments that can be tested with actual users to validate key assumptions with real user data.
- Quickly follow-up experiments with many iterations of key features, resulting in maximizing key metrics over time.
Move Faster Day-to-Day
The unknown can be scary, so we hope the blog provided a glimpse into how a modern commerce architecture would impact your day-to-day. By pairing a headless commerce and content system with a decoupled web storefront, your team gets the agility to move faster and more effectively day-to-day.
If you’re interested in learning more about the transition to a modern commerce architecture, book a call with one of our ecommerce experts.