Understanding headless commerce

By - October 25, 2021

How Dynamics 365 Commerce can support effective headless commerce

Customer buying patterns can change rapidly, and that has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands must be ready to shift strategies and be more visible when and where customers need them. Headless commerce has emerged as a new digital commerce strategy that gives companies more flexibility to adapt to new buyer behavior.

What exactly is headless commerce?

From a technical perspective, headless commerce is an architecture where the front-end is decoupled from the back-end commerce functionality via an API, and can be modified without interfering with the front-end. It enables companies to develop touchpoints with a more agile approach, and ultimately enhances the customer experience. While you’ve likely heard a lot about headless commerce, it’s not just another buzzword, as evident by a considerable adoption of this approach in modern omnichannel retail.

Developing an effective headless platform in Dynamics 365 Commerce

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce offers native digital commerce support for creating headless online and retail experiences, but what does that really mean, and how to make the most of this approach?

Retail server architecture. Retail Server is the hub for API endpoints that support headless commerce platforms in D365, this extends beyond e-commerce into other channels, making it a true omnichannel capable solution from the get-go. These APIs are used for everything from secure checkout, to customer creation, to working with the native content management system (CMS), search and promotions engine. Most anything you can do from the point of sale or e-commerce is available in these APIs, but there is a catch.

Retail server customer and consumer API. With around 600 calls in the retail API, figuring out the best to implement a given experience or feature can be challenging. More importantly, the headless API should not be used for some things, such as using it as a way to integrate multiple solutions together. An example of this could be connecting a third-party CRM to D365 Commerce back office.

There are lots of great applications and reasons to take full advantage of the headless APIs. A few of them are accessing commerce via mobile apps, creating high end truly bespoke online experiences, or leveraging commerce in third-party CMS platforms and pulling in digital assets from other systems into retail. It is not uncommon to mix and match native CMS and e-commerce components while building parts of the application using the headless commerce platform to get the best of both worlds. One example of this approach could be a shared shopping card that gets dropped into a content-focused web experience to enable experience-driven selling.

A streamlined approach to headless commerce

Because of the sheer amount of API calls and complexity, we have developed tools and processes to make headless commerce development on D365 Commerce faster and more streamlined for our customers. We are happy to share this experience and help you along on the digital transformation journey.

Contact our Consulting Professionals or reach us by phone at 800.274.3978 to learn more about how we can help.

Leading Commerce and Digital Marketing practice at RSM US ·Over 18 years of experience in technology and software development ·Specializes in delivering strategic guidance and implementation of Omni-Channel commerce experiences ·SEO and SEM strategy and marketing analytics

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