Headless Commerce: The Evolution of E-Commerce and Path to Profitability

Nogin Coresight Webinar

Register for this Webinar here.

E-commerce has evolved into a cornerstone of the global economy, causing particular disruption in the retail sector over the past few years. The rise of e-commerce has heightened the importance of effective e-commerce infrastructure and the need to address profitability challenges. Just as retailers have adapted to the changing environment and ever-evolving competition, so have the e-commerce infrastructure and tools adapted to support these retailers.

On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, at 11am ET, Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research, will be joined by Jan-Christopher Nugent,  CEO at Nogin, to discuss how online retail players can increase their profitability by adopting e-commerce infrastructures that prioritizes flexibility, scale and innovation. Coresight Research will present analysis of proprietary survey data to understand the perspectives and action plans of US retailers as they relate to e-commerce infrastructure.

During the discussion, we will answer the following key questions:

  • How has e-commerce infrastructure evolved over time to satisfy changing consumer and retailer needs?
  • What profitability challenges do retailers face?
  • How do headless e-commerce solutions compare with legacy software systems?
  • How can headless commerce impact e-commerce profitability?

6 Post Holiday Online Shopping Tactics to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Post Holiday

The holiday shopping season is one of the most profitable times of the year for ecommerce businesses. Most online retailers exceedingly meet their main ecommerce KPIs, and smaller brands can generate profitable sums against their big box store competitors.  

The 2021 holiday shopping season was a gift to ecommerce retailers. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, from November 1 to Cyber Monday on November 29, US consumers spent $109.8 billion online, up 11.9% from 2020. Adobe also found 22 days in November 2021 exceeded $3 billion in online spending compared to only 9 days hitting that number the same month in 2020. 

Those figures are even more notable considering the supply chain issues retailers everywhere are facing and the fact many shoppers started their gift shopping in October.

But now that the wrapping paper has been cleaned up and holiday decorations put away, how do ecommerce retailers keep the momentum going in January and beyond?

“On average, January revenue is usually predicted to be 20% to 65% lower versus December,” says Anh Vu-Lieberman,Vice President for ecommerce at Nogin. However, savvy brands can plan for this traditionally softer sales period (which can last until the third or fourth week of January) and use this time to do a brand reset while refocusing for the coming year.

Vu-Lieberman discusses some of the strategies ecommerce retailers can use to boost their bottom lines.

1. Get Dialed in to Mobile

“As smartphones keep evolving and improving, all ecommerce retailers have to be mobile-first,” Vu-Lieberman says. In fact, research shows smartphones accounted for 44% of all online sales on Black Friday in 2021, up 10.6% from 2020 Black Friday shopping. Delivering positive customer experiences starts with delivering consistent omni-channel tactics. Mobile is increasingly becoming a more and more popular shopping medium for customers. It’s crucial businesses focus on mobile responsive web design to convert mobile shoppers through their ecommerce marketing funnel.

2. Extend End-of-Year Sales

The calendar may have already flipped to 2022, but ecommerce retailers who want to drive customers and conversions are extending into their traditional year closeout sales in January. Sale-on-sale promotions can be a great strategy to move out inventory and make way for new collections that launch in mid-January.

Check out our top three strategies to increase conversions and the best pricing tactics to utilize on your site:

3. Choose Words Carefully

Certain words are triggers for ecommerce shoppers, such as “favorite” or “best seller.” “If you don’t know a brand and it’s your first time going to the site, the word ‘best seller’ evokes an emotion,” Vu-Lieberman says. “If you didn’t have that, you wouldn’t know what the brand is about. It also helps with building out purchase affirmation.”

Another recommended strategy to utilize in marketing campaigns to message your Best Sellers is to feature highly-rated products or most-loved products, whether on your website or social. Make sure to set up your marketing analytics and perform A/B tests to see which product listing phrases result in the most sales.

4. Add Installment Plan Options

Retailers offering installment payment plans such as Afterpay and Klarna target online shoppers looking for a discount and customers who don’t mind paying for expensive items out of their normal price range. Surprisingly, it’s not just millennials on limited budgets who find installment plans attractive; Vu-Lieberman says one of the brands she works with discovered the average age of its Afterpay customers was 44. “Even though the item is full price, it will be more attractive advertising it on Facebook or paid search as ‘Take this home for $39.’ People focus on that installment number rather than the full number.”

5. Don’t Overlook the Present for the Future

While fashion retailers prep for new collection launches in January, it may be easy to forget that ecommerce trends more towards a buy now, wear now attitude. Especially with the cold weather in most parts of the country, customers may not have as much interest in summery resort wear that will sit in their closet for a few months, compared to a pair of boots they will use immediately. 

Vu-Lieberman says brands will often take a new year, new you approach. For example, promotions geared towards New Year’s resolutions can focus on athletic wear, or retailers can craft campaigns for new looks for the office. Luxury ecommerce brands can also try to leverage celebrity collaborations to help support their brand image.

6. Build a Strong Customer Base

Brands need to strike that fine balance between catering to loyal VIPs and bringing in new customers. That can take time and money—Vu-Lieberman says brands can spend up to 25% of projected revenue on advertising—but it’s a substantial investment in the long run. To make it pay off, ensure your shoppers are receiving a positive user experience when visiting your site all the way through order fulfillment. 

So how are you going to keep the momentum going throughout the year?

Top 5 Benefits of an End-to-End Ecommerce Solution

Ecommerce Solution

No matter if you’re a large retail organization that has experienced significant growth but have recently “hit a wall” or you’re a smaller brand that has great potential but don’t currently possess the headcount and/or talent needed to grow to the next level, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce solution could be the solution you’re looking for.

But what exactly is a direct-to-consumer ecommerce solution? And how does it compare to a more traditional outsourced agency solution?  Below we’ll cover the difference between more traditional, old-school agencies and actual ecommerce solutions as well as outline what we believe are the top five benefits brands should look for in an ecommerce solution.

By doing so we’ll uncover which solution should be the right fit for your ecommerce business.

The Difference Between an Agency and a Solution 

Let’s first start with what sets an ecommerce solution apart from agency outsourcing since, at a cursory glance, the two can seem very similar. The main differentiator is that, when it comes to outsourcing to agencies, each agency works within a silo. Whichever agency is working to get people to your website is not always in communication with the agency managing your website and tracking online conversions. However the lines of communication are set-up, the results can often end up being a tangled mess. 

However, when utilizing an end-to-end direct-to-consumer ecommerce solution, you gain an entire team of ecommerce experts who are united in their goals, to help you grow your brand and increase your online sales. Additionally, they are in constant communication with one another to help accomplish these goals. Think of them as an integrated solution.

Top 5 Benefits Of an Ecommerce Solution

1. Best-in-Class Ecommerce Technology

There are plenty of website development agencies out there that can build you a beautiful website, but that’s basically where their expertise ends. The competition for online retailers is fierce, you need the benefits of technologies built specifically for direct-to-consumer ecommerce brands to help increase online sales. These include:

  • Insights to understand and optimize customer journeys
  • The ability to diagnose problems and implement solutions in real-time
  • Optimizing internal workflows and processes
  • Self-learning predictive analytics

2. Digital Marketing and Advertising

Saying a direct-to-consumer brand selling online needs to focus on their digital marketing and advertising may invoke a “Thank you Captain Obvious” response. And rightfully so. However, the fact that it’s obvious does not mean every agency out there promising to increase website visitors and sales actually knows what they’re doing.

Are they industry experts? How well do they understand the buying behaviors of your target audience? Do they have a full understanding of how ecommerce works along the entire journey? 

Just imagine a marketing agency putting more money into an ad group for a specific product because it’s performing well only for the website visitor who clicked on that ad to find that product is actually out of stock. Not only have you wasted your marketing spend but you may have just lost a potential customer forever.

When partnering with an ecommerce solution you get a cohesive team of experts who work together, no matter their department, to ensure your brands’ success.

Not only that, but more importantly, the ecommerce solutions provider’s profits might be tied directly to how well your brand succeeds. Incentive to perform is a great thing.

3. Brand Strategy

Your brand. That’s really what it’s all about, right? Consumers trust brands, they’re loyal to brands. Consumers buy FROM brands, not a store. Your brand strategy is, without a doubt, one of your most important initiatives. 

However, one of the biggest struggles brands experience is how to evolve and grow in a way that allows them to maintain their uniqueness all while avoiding becoming “stale”. No one wants to become the next Von Dutch, experiencing an explosion of global popularity before becoming a brand people have forgotten about.

Many brands have successfully maneuvered through changes in trends, economic ups and downs, even pandemics, and have managed to maintain their foothold in the market. How? With a partner who is as invested in their brand strategy as they are. A partner with R&D resources not available to most brands without a more hefty price tag. 

A true end-to-end ecommerce solution understands your success lies not just what buyers see when they open a website browser, but will also provide the resources to help you manage your brand strategy for growth. They will have access to resources, such as R&D related to their product/service, an individual brand typically would not.

4. Website Optimization

Those loyal customers we mentioned above, what will they see when they get to your ecommerce website? Are they going to have a positive experience with fast page loads? Will they be greeted with a navigation menu that makes it easy for them to find what they’re looking for? Is there a prominent “Add to Cart” button to help push them to a sale faster?

By partnering with a team of ecommerce experts who understand the value of your website and have a deep understanding of your buyer’s journey, you get a team that is continually working to optimize your website so it’s at peak performance at all times. 

To ensure website optimization, they will conduct A/B tests on various website elements to make sure the font colors, button placement, promotional banners and product descriptions are displayed in a way that maximizes conversion rates. By conducting regular site audits and testing on both desktop and mobile (never forgetting the power of a mobile device) you know your online shoppers are receiving the best user experience.

5. Warehouse Fulfillment

This benefit, while last on our list, isn’t last due to its lack of importance. In fact, we feel warehouse fulfillment is an often overlooked and critical benefit. While warehouse fulfillment is “behind the scenes” and not something a buyer probably ever even thinks about, it can have a massive impact (for better or worse) on the overall shopping experience.

This is another element that some retail brands may outsource. However, some of the headaches that may arise with outsourcing can be avoided when working with an end-to-end ecommerce solution (this being the second “end” in “end-to-end”, but we’re sure you knew that already). 

An ecommerce solution can offer a seamless connection between endless sub catalogs, end points, warehouses and stores. By providing direct communication between all the systems involved in the buying process, brands enjoy a streamlined process with no “hand off” until the packages are placed on a delivery truck. 

Whether inventory is low, out of stock or shipping may be delayed, teams and systems are communicating with each other so steps can be taken to ensure buyer expectations are met and they have a positive buying experience that encourages them to return.

And there you have our top five benefits of partnering with a direct-to-consumer ecommerce solution! There are many more benefits that brands can gain by this type of partnership, but we chose to focus on the ones we know, from experience, are the most valuable to brands of all industries and sizes. Utilizing a unified solution that scales with your brand can deepen your customer’s experiences and grow your online sales.