It’s Time to Take Control: Design, Data & Experiences
By Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer of commercetools
Online sales outpaced brick and mortar purchases at the height of the pandemic, and retailers are refining the online experience for their customers this year. For many brands, 2022 is an opportunity to pivot to better ecommerce options that will boost customer satisfaction and competitive differentiation. Take marketplaces, for example. While large marketplaces work well for tech giants and large retailers, this likely isn’t the best option for every brand, as they can’t control the whole shopping experience if products are on a separate platform. Over the next twelve months, more brands may opt to sell their products direct-to-consumer (D2C) so they can curate the experience while minimizing costs.
More brands are also attempting digital transformations on their own—in fact, in 2021, around half of commercetools’ customers were already implementing their platforms without outside help. One way to do this is by investing in better tech talent to build experiences internally, providing more control over the end product that a brand is envisioning. However, the maturation of headless commerce is providing another easy option for brands to build experiences—and it’s gaining a lot of momentum. With headless architecture, the backend of the website becomes separated from the front-end user experience, making it much easier for less technically savvy employees to add elements, change layouts and other options. The biggest benefit of headless commerce is that it’s vendor agnostic, so builders aren’t tied to one solution suite. Instead, commerce components can be switched and swapped quickly, allowing users to build the platform of their dreams—and keep up with the demands of the market.
While large marketplaces work well for tech giants and large retailers, this likely isn’t the best option for every brand, as they can’t control the whole shopping experience if products are on a separate platform.
- Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer of commercetools
Additionally, I expect the majority of retailers will be using GraphQL in 2022—it will no longer be a “nice to have”, but an indispensable part of their technology strategy. With GraphQL, developers can specify exactly the data they want without worrying about where the data is or how to access it. GraphQL then coordinates across the various backend systems to ensure the request is fulfilled, much like a SQL query allows you to easily work across multiple database tables with one command. This is particularly useful for commerce, where the data needed to render a web page or screen may have to come from 10 or 20 different APIs or other systems. Because GraphQL is designed to make APIs fast, flexible, and developer-friendly, it can improve slow performance problems and will likely emerge as the industry standing moving forward.
Kelly Goetsch is the Chief Product Officer at commercetools, responsible for global product designs, integrations and strategic partnerships. Prior to commercetools, he led product management at Oracle.