How Headless eCommerce Will Enable Manufacturers to Become Software Companies in 2018

January 9, 2018

Categories: B2B eCommerce, Headless eCommerce

Today, we see more companies embracing and engaging their enterprises in the process of digital transformation. IDC, in their Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions for 2018, explained that “by the end of 2019, digital transformation spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion worldwide, a 42% increase from 2017.” As companies move rapidly down this path, we’ll also see them embrace the need to think of themselves more like software companies.

Mark Muro, a Wall Street Journal expert who blogged about how “We Are All Software Companies Now” back in 2016, explained that digital skills, talent, and organizational structure are all transforming manufacturers and distributors. “The transformation of the nation’s factories by digital technologies is not only remaking the sectors hiring needs but altering how it needs to operate,” he explained.

Muro goes on to point out that Michigan manufacturers posted more software and computer jobs since 2011 than mechanical engineering positions. This is important to note because it reflects the fact that manufacturers require digitally skilled workers today to handle the entire manufacturing process, from design and prototyping to production and support.

As manufacturers think about transforming their staff, they’ll inevitably prioritize making sure the softwares and technologies they are using internally can be maintained and managed by their internal development resources.

In 2018, we’ll see more and more companies taking a “client owned commerce” approach on headless eCommerce platforms.

What is client owned commerce?

The ability for the client to maintain, support, and evolve their front-end application code in house, so that they are empowered to own their own product roadmap and adapt as quickly as possible to changing business priorities and demands.

Traditionally, there were two different options for a company to tackle the need for an eCommerce offering: an on-premise or in-house solution, or a full-stack SaaS solution. Today, headless eCommerce platforms offer a new approach, a middle path, a better way. And this new way is empowering manufacturers and distributors alike to adopt the client owned commerce approach.

What are some of the benefits of a client owned commerce approach?

  • Say goodbye to steep hourly rates charged by vendors
  • Repurpose the internal development resources for your growing list of technical needs that accompany your digital transformation strategy
  • Own your own roadmap, and stop relying on your software vendor’s timeline

How does headless eCommerce allow for client ownership?

Since the front-end is decoupled from the platform, companies who build their eCommerce experience on headless eCommerce platforms can utilize the resources they already have to handle front-end development without touching the back-end infrastructure. It eliminates the need for specialized developers, full-stack developers and database administrators, simplifying the hiring process and opening up a broader pool of capable candidates. Headless eCommerce platforms, like Four51 OrderCloud, also take care of all security needs, certifications and burdensome audits for you. The openness of the complete RESTful API also empowers your team internally to dream up new connections, integrations and evolutions of the platform using other best-of-breed applications down the road.

With a headless eCommerce API and a basic agile team consisting of two front end developers, one QA resource and a business analyst, for example, a solution can be built and maintained that meets the business needs and specifications exactly. For that reason, we’ll see a growing number of manufacturers and distributors embracing the client owned commerce approach in 2018.