Industry Insights

e-Spirit Strengthens Headless CMS for Commerce with Mobify

There has been a lot of talk, lately, about Progressive Web Apps in the commerce realm and it seems to be becoming the leading retail technology trend for 2019. So what are PWAs?  “Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that are regular web pages or websites but can appear to the user like traditional applications or native mobile applications. The application type attempts to combine features offered by most modern browsers with the benefits of a mobile experience.”— Wikipedia: Progressive Web Apps. Essentially, it’s a website that uses modern web capabilities and behaves more like an app, enabling a better customer experience overall.

If you are deciding to go headless, a PWA can be the perfect first step. A headless commerce architecture allows retailers the agility needed to stay at the forefront of the best digital experiences and reduces the time and effort required to build and maintain amazing experiences for all shoppers.

Recently, e-Spirit and Mobify partnered together to bring this experience to the forefront. I was fortunate enough to connect with Michael Gerard, Chief Marketing Officer at e-Spirit, to not only discuss this recent partnership but to also discuss the benefits of how headless commerce and Progressive Web Apps complement each other. Michael also delved into some of the most significant trends he foresees to hit the commerce market in the future. Read our conversation below!

What is the biggest benefit that brands and retailers can obtain from this new Partnership with Mobify?

“The biggest benefit that brands and retailers get from this partnership is the speed with which they can deliver immersive, content-driven shopping experiences that go beyond website-focused catalog buying. Marketers create inspiring content directly from within their commerce environment using e-Spirit’s headless CMS, such as promotional banners and product teasers, interactive images and videos, user-generated content, and other types of vendor or third-party driven content. That content is then instantly pulled into Mobify’s front-end using e-Spirit’s Content-as-a-Service capability within the CMS, and reassembled at the mobile device (front-end), speeding customers through the buyer’s journey while providing the personalized content and experiences they crave across all touchpoints. No IT involvement is necessary, eliminating a step that helps them speed time to value. It’s very simple to use.”

Your press release states that Mobify and e-Spirit will “help retailers to more easily create content-driven shopping experiences delivered through Mobify’s Front-end as a Service and e-Spirit’s headless CMS.” How do you intend on delivering these shopping experiences through joint marketing and sales initiatives in 2019?

“e-Spirit and Mobify will leverage our deep experience in the retail and e-commerce industries, including joint customer experience, to bring our industry-leading solutions to market in a coordinated manner. We look forward to working with Mobify to gain exposure to each other's client bases and partner relationships through co-marketing initiatives such as webinars, trade shows, and other marketing tactics featuring our joint solution, as well as pursuing new customers. We are excited about increasing market exposure to headless architectures which are rapidly gaining in popularity due to their inherent technology and business advantages. (e.g., faster time to market; ability to offer more inspiring and immersive shopping experiences for buyers).”

Forrester analysts Michael Facemire and Ted Schadler stated, “PWAs provide the best of the native and web worlds: a great customer experience with the efficiency of building the web,” in their 2019 February report: It’s Time to Make Every Web Application a Progressive Web App [paywall]. Could you please explain how headless commerce and Progressive Web Apps complement each other?

“There is no doubt that Progressive Web Apps offer the opportunity to optimize the user experience on mobile devices, and will be a key success factor for retail/e-commerce success. However, PWAs represent the front-end of a content and commerce platform or the technical, layout-driven part of the user experience (i.e., content delivery and presentation, input collection and front-end code). A headless content management system (CMS), such as e-Spirit’s CMS, coupled with a headless commerce system provides the emotional, content-driven part of the user experience. This content-driven part represents the back-end, including commerce-related capabilities, product information, content creation and storage, content workflow, and collaboration for enterprise-class capabilities, etc. This combination of PWAs and a headless CMS and commerce platform enables the creation of exceptional user experiences representing the best of native and web worlds.

A headless CMS and commerce architecture in combination with PWAs offers the following benefits:

  • Supply of quality content, delivered in a fast and scalable manner, to create a great customer experience.

  • Support of any type of device or channel, now or in the future (omnichannel management): PWAs, as well as any other type of front-end devices or applications—SPAs, digital signs, interactive voice devices, wearables, or other types of IoT devices—can be used interchangeably or in a synchronous manner within a headless CMS and Commerce scenario with little to no disruption of back-end applications.

  • Faster response to customer (and business) needs: Faster updating of the user experience (UX) at the front-end without changing the underlying CMS or commerce application.

  • More inspiring customer experiences: Creation of more interactive digital experiences for greater engagement by leveraging the most innovative front-end frameworks. For instance, the front-end can be changed with little to no disruption of the back end.

In fact, the best back-end platform should ensure:

  • Deep (decoupled) integration between CMS and commerce applications, such as that offered by e-Spirit and leading enterprise commerce platforms like Salesforce, SAP, IBM, and others.

  • The ability to preview and edit into any new channels by the Headless CMS including PWAs, traditional web interfaces, digital signs, wearables, interactive voice devices, and other IoT devices.

  • AI-driven personalization for the delivery of individualized experiences.

  • Enterprise-class software if needed (for support of many brands, sites, languages, etc.)."

For additional information about headless architectures, refer here.

Looking into the future, what do you think will be the most prominent trends and technologies to disrupt commerce experiences?

  • Experience-driven commerce — B2C and B2B: As retail and e-commerce growth began ~20+ years ago, there was a race to create online stores that would make it easy for individuals to search for and buy products. Many of today’s e-commerce platforms do just that, with super efficiency; managing thousands of SKUs, shopping carts, and financial transactions. The one thing missing from many online stores though is “experience”, and this experience will be the key differentiator for tomorrow’s successful e-commerce and retail companies. These companies will excel at leveraging the best technology vendors that will enable their e-commerce and marketing teams to easily create and deliver personalized, content-driven experiences, as part of the shopping experience, for buyers across any channel, physical or digital, in a synchronized manner. (e.g., promotional banners and product teasers, interactive images and videos, user-generated content, and other types of vendor or third-party driven content.) And a key ingredient to the success of this trend is empowering non-IT staff to execute these strategies independently from IT resource — i.e., a low code/no code environment, a user experience that requires little to no IT resources.” 

  • AI and Machine Learning: While AI already has a foothold, it will continue to evolve at a furious pace, challenging retail and e-commerce companies to re-think how they deliver experiences along the entire customer journey. The Chatbot is a great example of an AI-tool that addresses a number of customer experience needs; from answering buyers’ questions to customer support to fielding complaints. AI personalization is another example. e-Spirit’s Intelligent Content Engine—personalization powered by machine learning—enables hyper-personalization at a scale not possible without the power of AI. e-Spirit’s Intelligent Content Engine enables non-technical staff to identify micro-segments using internal, external, and behavioral data, and then, in an automated manner, deliver individualized content to these segments. In addition, this delivery of content can be optimized based upon any number of attributes such as ARPU, click-thrus, etc.  The most advanced retailers are already using the power of AI to drive efficiency and growth across their commerce channels and to optimize customer experiences.” 

  • Internet of Things: Smart things are beginning to permeate every part of our existence, and it is only a matter of time before retail and e-commerce companies tap into the power of these smart, connected devices for more engaging and personalized experiences across the entire customer journey. Examples of these smart things include augmented reality devices, voice-activated devices, wearables, appliances, TVs, and smart home devices to name a few.”

Ending Notes

With customers wanting an exceptional experience forthwith, implementing your digital transformation might take your team time. Engaging PWAs can improve your customer experience and provide a prompt and positive impact on revenue if done right. The AppInstitute complied the latest stats from Google’s case studies on PWAs. These demonstrate the advantages PWAs have to companies:

  • 68% increase in mobile traffic

  • 15-fold improvement of load and installation speed

  • 25-times the reduced use of device storage

  • 52% average conversion increase

  • 78% average session increase

  • 137% engagement increase

  • 42.86% lower bounce rate when compared to that of mobile websites

  • 133.67% increase in page views

By delivering a good PWA experience, your business can grow much faster and be more cost effective than going through traditional web or native applications. PWAs are the way of the future, which is why you should consider switching to them now to get the most out of their capabilities for your business.

Natalie Evans

Natalie Evans

Natalie Evans has over 16-years in the tech industry and currently works as the event coordinator and tech reporter for CMS-Connected, keeping up-to-date on what's happening in and around the Content Management industry.

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