Headless Commerce: Part 2 – Addressing Profitability Issues for Mid-Size E-Commerce Players

Nogin & Coresight Research Headless Commerce Report - Part 2

Nogin and Coresight Research’s three-part report series, Headless Commerce, explores the emerging commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) space in the US and the key trends in the market. We leverage findings from an October 2021 Coresight Research survey of e-commerce leaders in the US to identify the key challenges and benefits in building and using e-commerce infrastructure and tools.

In this report, our analysis and insights focus on mid-size companies, covering the following topics:

• The levers of profitability in e-commerce
• Why brands and retailers should capitalize on artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics
• How CaaS can help improve profitability


This free report is sponsored by Nogin, a CaaS full-stack e-commerce platform that includes R&D (research and development), sales optimization, and ML- and AI-driven marketing and fulfillment.

You can download the entire report for free here.

In case you missed it, you can also download the first report in the series, Headless Commerce: Part 1—The Evolving State of E-Commerce Infrastructure.

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?

Headless Commerce: Part 1—The Evolving State of E-Commerce

Nogin & Coresight

Nogin and Coresight Research have partnered on a three-part report series, Headless Commerce, to explore the emerging commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) space in the US and the key trends in the market.

This report leverages findings from an October 2021 Coresight Research survey of e-commerce leaders in the US to identify the key challenges and benefits in building and using e-commerce infrastructure and tools.

In this report, Coresight’s analysis and insights cover the following topics:

  • The impact of, and retailers’ response to, the Covid-19 pandemic
  • The evolution of commerce and the e-commerce infrastructure landscape
  • The move to headless commerce—including survey respondents’ satisfaction with their existing platforms, the obstacles to adopting CaaS solutions and retailer readiness for CaaS across different business areas

This free report is sponsored by Nogin, CaaS full-stack e-commerce platform that includes R&D (research and development), sales optimization, machine learning, and AI (artificial intelligence)-driven marketing and fulfillment.

You can download the report for free here.

ModCloth Sees Strong Improvements in Results After Transition to Nogin’s Intelligent Commerce Platform

Nogin & ModCloth

Indie apparel brand’s performance bolstered by cost savings, lower shipping costs and enhanced data-driven promotions.

Just six months after switching to Nogin’s leading Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform, indie apparel brand ModCloth is registering significant improvements in its overall operations. Additionally, the brand is gearing up for a robust holiday season with limited-time, sitewide savings in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Mary Jimenez, CEO of the digitally native retailer of women’s fashions and accessories, said the switch to Nogin’s Intelligence Commerce platform has allowed the brand to leverage intelligent algorithms and smart promotions to provide an immediate competitive advantage in a number of areas. Among other things, the switch has provided significant cost savings and increased sales performance. Noting that ModCloth has cut expenses by approximately $17 million in the last six months, Jimenez added that the brand is geared to provide even more products and promotions to its loyal customer base.

“We couldn’t be happier with the improvements we’ve seen in our overall business and our bottom line too,” said Jimenez. Since its founding in 2002, ModCloth has been dedicated to serving a full spectrum of women by celebrating their stories and offering an inclusive range of sizes of unique, vintage-inspired fashion. 

“Nogin’s Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) approach has been a game changer for ModCloth,” Jimenez continued. “Their advanced data-driven analytics have helped drive down our costs, retain our loyal customer base, and cultivate new fans. We no longer have to manage a vast network of vendors and can focus our efforts on what makes our brand so special to so many. Our relationship with Nogin has resulted in significant growth gains, especially in light of the world-wide issues during Covid scarcity.”

As an example, sales thus far from ModCloth’s 2021 Gift Guide are already running 9% above 2020 levels. Curated by ModCloth employees, the “Very Merry ModCloth Holiday Gift Guide” features gifts under $30, ‘purr-fect’ presents for pet lovers and the brand’s most over-the-top holiday shop ever.  Jimenez noted that in addition to the robust holiday product assortment, “our strides in sales have been aided by strong gains in social media activity through increased efficiency and better deployment of online marketing tools.” 

Nogin has provided Intelligent Commerce Solutions to major brands such as Honeywell, Hurley, Bebe, Lululemon, and, most recently, Kenneth Cole, Frye, Justice and Charming Charlie.

“We are thrilled that Nogin’s Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform has freed ModCloth to do what it does best. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to deliver such significant savings and help the brand focus on delivering great products to its community of passionate consumers,” said Nogin CEO Jan-Christopher Nugent. “With our help, ModCloth can stay true to its core values that champion female empowerment and inclusivity.” 

Nogin Names Jay J. Ku EVP & Chief Commerce Officer

Jay Ku Joins Nogin

Marketing and strategy executive to oversee brand management and content at leading Commerce-as-a-Service platform; will direct teams focused on driving exponential growth across 30+ brands

Veteran marketing and strategy executive Jay J. Ku has joined leading Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform Nogin as EVP and Chief Commerce Officer.

In his new role, Ku will oversee the Tustin-based company’s brand management and creative teams. These include ecommerce specialists, performance marketers, planners, buyers, retention marketers, writers, and designers focused on driving sales across 30-plus brands like Hurley, Kenneth Cole, bebe, FRYE, ModCloth, Justice, and Honeywell. He reports to Nogin President Geoffrey Van Haeren.

“Using Nogin’s proprietary Intelligent Commerce platform, Jay’s teams deploy store optimizations and targeted marketing tactics designed to boost sales and profitability through smarter promotions, sophisticated audience segmentation, and maximized conversion rates,” said Van Haeren. “The brand team sits at the center of the wheel — coordinating all efforts between brand management and creative, as well our product, engineering, fulfillment, customer service teams, and the client. Jay is uniquely qualified to direct those efforts, which are all focused on driving exponential growth for the brands on the Nogin platform.”

Ku brings over 15 years of experience in marketing, strategy, partnerships, and business development at Los Angeles-based companies. Most recently, he spent five years as SVP, Marketing & Strategy and Society6//Leaf Group. In that capacity, he directed all brand and performance marketing efforts for the company’s Society 6 artist-driven home décor brand, which generated over $150 million in annual revenue.

Prior to that, from 2014 to 2017, Ku was SVP, Marketing & Strategy, at Participant Media, where he led strategy and campaign development at TAG, the company’s social impact agency. During that time, he worked with everything from start-ups to Fortune 50 brands to drive consumer awareness, engagement and action around important social issues.

Previously, from 2007 to 2014, Ku was Head of Partnerships and Marketing at GOOD.Is//GOOD Corps//Upworthy. In that role, he oversaw all marketing to drive revenue for GOOD Magazine, GOOD.Is, and GOOD/Corps. He began his career in 2006 as Manager, Business Development and Content Marketing at Helio, LLC, a former, mobile virtual network operator on the Sprint network. The Los Angeles resident holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Harvard University. Ku also had a five-year career as a professional cyclist, racing for the TIAA-CREF team as well as the US National Team, He’s also a Board Member of the National Parks Conservancy.

Efforts to Match Amazon Can Be a Form of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ for Retailers and Brands

ecommerce stockholm syndrome img

Rapidly evolving Commerce as a Service (CaaS) model can give mid-tier operators in the fashion, CPG, beauty, health, and wellness industries a better way to keep pace with big retail and drive predictable profitability, advises tech veteran Jan-Christopher Nugent.

Too many retailers and brands suffer from “Amazon Stockholm Syndrome” — the unquestioning effort to compete with the world’s most dominant ecommerce company on its own asymmetrical terms, writes Jan-Christopher Nugent, CEO of Nogin, in an opinion piece for multichannelmerchant.com.

“If the Stockholm Syndrome theory were correct, you’d expect to see long-enduring captives parroting the propaganda of their captors and engaging in behavior that was not in their long-term interest,” Nugent writes. “This is exactly what we see.”

Indeed, companies routinely give up sizable chunks of their margins by trying in vain to play Amazon’s game, he contends. “While a healthy brand’s average discount should be no higher than 26%, we routinely see brands with average discounts of 50% once you factor in shipping and return costs,” Nugent writes.

In the Oct. 11 piece (“How to Snap Out of Amazon ‘Stockholm Syndrome‘”), the ecommerce sector veteran describes Amazon’s success in training consumers to expect free (or seemingly so) shipping and nearly instantaneous delivery. Amazon has also been able to drop prices and force competitors to cut their margins.

While going head-to-head with Amazon may be viable for a tiny number of true giants, for others the rapidly evolving commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) model creates new possibilities, Nugent writes. “In the CaaS model, specialty firms create, maintain and operate ecommerce stores on behalf of retailers and brands. These platforms can deliver superior ecommerce and increase sales, profits and conversion rates using advanced algorithms, data-driven intelligent promotions and discounts, and cloud-based R&D upgrades.”

But before retailers or brands can take full advantage of these gains, they may need to face some captor-induced fears. That could include reconsidering whether there’s truly only one way to please the customer, Nugent notes, and being open to using tech and analytics to win back the respect they have given away by selling at a loss.

For example, CaaS methodologies can reveal which customers are loyal enough to buy even without receiving free shipping, notes the executive, whose firm has delivered CaaS for such major brands as Kenneth Cole, Honeywell, Hurley, Bebe, Lululemon, True Religion, Yeezy and Charming Charlie.

Generally, the mid-tier “is where CaaS has capabilities and services that bolster competitiveness, including higher-order AI and predictive analytics,” Nugent explains. By running intelligent algorithms and multivariate tests, CaaS providers can ferret out which customers will balk at the removal of shipping, delivery and price giveaways, and which ones will keep shopping and stay loyal.

“When CaaS technology is carefully applied across an entire ecommerce store, intelligent segmentation can result in a drop in the average discount from 50% to 25%, or even as low as 4.5%-6% in some cases,” he writes. “Most importantly, it can also help bring you to a cash-neutral position when it comes to returns … That’s what it takes to keep pace with big retail, drive predictable profitability—and snap out of the Amazon trance.”

The full column is available at:
https://multichannelmerchant.com/ecommerce/how-to-snap-out-of-amazon-stockholm-syndrome/

NEWS | Junk Food Clothing switch to Nogin

Nogin and Junk Food Clothing

Junk Food Clothing On Target to Triple Its Online Sales With Switch to Nogin

The premium t-shirt and apparel company, known to adorn celebrities around the world, wanted

lower costs, higher sales and better analytics; Nogin is delivering all that and more.

Junk Food Clothing, the premium apparel company that has become a celebrity favorite with its pop culture designs ranging from entertainment icons to professional sports leagues and popular music acts, is reaping strong benefits after connecting  with another industry leader for its online e-commerce platform: Nogin.

Junk Food moved to Nogin’s Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform in the fourth quarter of 2020, enabling it to deliver best-in-class e-commerce to its clientele, as well as increase sales, profits and conversion rates, and execute R&D upgrades in real-time.

And the pairing began paying off immediately, according to Bill Hutchison, CEO for Hybrid Apparel, which owns the Junk Food brand. “We are on target to triple our Junk Food e-commerce business during our first year with Nogin. Along the way, we’ve seen cost-savings in third-party vendors needed to drive our revenue growth due to the external partnerships and relationships Nogin has in the space.”

Hutchison said it’s been about more than just increased sales. “The analytical data Nogin has shared with us has also allowed us to make informative and strategic decisions to capture revenue while also growing awareness for the Junk Food brand to a new set of customers we’re continuously bringing to our site,” he noted.

Under the agreement, Tustin, Calif.-based Nogin is handling all aspects of Junk Food’s e-commerce operations, ramping up the manufacturer’s online performance with its Intelligent Commerce software, AI-driven marketing capabilities and high-touch digital services.

“We’re able to offer a turn-key solution for companies like Junk Food that combines all the elements they need to be more effective selling online,” said Geoffrey Van Haeren, president of Nogin. “Just as Amazon Web Services was revolutionary for on-demand cloud-hosting, the Nogin technology platform is a game-changer in e-commerce.” Other Nogin users include such major brands as Kenneth Cole, Honeywell, Hurley, Bebe, Lululemon, True Religion, Yeezy and Charming Charlie.

“Prior to partnering with Nogin, we had an in-house start-up digital business while only using an external digital marketing agency,” Hutchison explained. “The switch to Nogin has given us a best-of-class digital platform, allowing us the quickest solution to grow our digital footprint and capture more revenue faster.”

About Junk Food Clothing Junk Food came onto the scene in 1998, creating and forever changing the premium T-shirt market. Carried in thousands of top stores throughout the world, Junk Food is a celebrity favorite, featured weekly on numerous style icons in major media. Junk Food has signature soft fabrics and trend-leading fits that also include unique treatments that make each piece one-of-a-kind. Also a licensing powerhouse, Junk Food has rights to hundreds of major pop-culture licenses, including numerous sports leagues, artists and bands. www.junkfoodclothing.com

NEWS | Kenneth Cole Re-Platforms to Nogin Intelligent Commerce

Kenneth Cole Joins Nogin

Iconic global brand leverages Nogin’s innovative Commerce-as-a-Service technology platform to optimize online store performance, add AI and decrease costs. Move reflects Nogin’s strong track record with brands in fashion, CPG, beauty, health and wellness.

Kenneth Cole has moved its online store to Nogin’s Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform, enabling the iconic brand to deliver best-in-class ecommerce to its valued customers, as well as increase sales, profits and conversion rates, and execute R&D upgrades in real-time.

“Like so many other brands, Kenneth Cole was caught between extremely expensive and inflexible legacy enterprise software on the one hand, and inadequate, lower-end SMB platforms on the other,” said Jan-Christopher Nugent, CEO of Tustin-based Nogin. “Intelligent Commerce provides a long-term delivery model that will help Kenneth Cole profitably keep pace with Big Retail.”

The global brand is leveraging Nogin’s cloud services and experts layered on top of the Intelligent Commerce Platform, allowing Kenneth Cole to scale with demand generated by a platform that is always learning and optimizing. 

From a business standpoint, Nogin’s Intelligent Commerce software, people and process can translate into benefits such as reduced free shipping and fulfillment costs, more efficient media spend,  higher conversion rates, stronger gross margin, and more.

“Just as Amazon Web Services was revolutionary for on-demand cloud-hosting, the Nogin platform is a game-changer in ecommerce,” said  Nugent, who notes that Nogin has also delivered Commerce as a Service for such major brands as Honeywell, Hurley, Bebe, Lululemon, True Religion, Yeezy and Charming Charlie.