How businesses are preparing for the digital-first future

person on Facebook on laptop and smartphone
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Content is everywhere. It’s on your mobile phone, on your computer, your tablet. But it’s also proliferating onto newer devices such as smartwatches, in-car displays, AR and VR headsets

If it drives engagement and interaction, it’s of interest to companies who want to build a relationship with customers to elicit some form of business transaction. The problem is maintaining speed and scaling the operation of doing this when the number and types of platforms are growing all the time.

Let’s look at this problem from a retail perspective for a moment. You might want to create a diverse range of touchpoints for the customer to enter the sales funnel and ultimately make a purchase. 

In an ideal world, they’d also come back again and again to make more purchases if they like the sales experience and they believe in, and trust, the brand. According to the Edelman Brand Trust report in 2021, 61% of people will advocate for a brand and 57% will purchase from a brand they fully trust. A vital part of developing that trust in the first place is creating relevant touchpoints with information that is relevant to them.

This isn’t just an issue for retail though, it’s something that all enterprises with an emphasis on customer engagement should consider. How do you create omnichannel experiences and deliver them in a cost-effective way, while preparing for the future where new platforms are springing up with a great deal of regularity?

Ahead of the game

Headless is a type of web architecture that is growing in popularity because it is providing a robust solution to this challenge. According to the 2021 research from WP Engine, 64% of enterprise organizations are using a headless approach, which is an almost 25% increase from 2019. Others are evaluating the technology to implement it soon.

At its core, headless is a type of web architecture that decouples the front end of a website (the graphical user interface or GUI) from the back end (where the code and data live). In this architecture, the front end and back end work independently. And with this independence comes the freedom to use different mechanisms to develop and display content. 

You’re no longer tied to one technology that requires you to keep the front and back end wedded to each other. The key to carrying out this approach is the use of an API that can be connected to any channel, such as mobile apps, smartwatches, voice assistants or digital kiosks. On this front end, developers are free to create a user interface that can be tailored to each user, application or screen.

Headless is a technology that makes good on its investment dollar. It provides a great ROI by eliminating the need for re-platforming and allowing companies to keep their back end CMS while APIs navigate the various digital touchpoints on the front end that unify the customer journey. This setup allows for fast web pages, enhanced security benefits, and a consistent content experience across all channels.

Addressing concerns

There are some considerations that businesses should make when going headless, however. Not every headless setup provides the entry point that is right for every organization. The people we spoke to for the research we carried out regularly mentioned skills as a potential concern. The adoption of a new technology like this can have a learning curve that can be compounded by the general skills shortage of talented developers in the industry.

WordPress is a platform where headless can work well because it has easy integration with other software, while also providing additional layers of security. It’s also a platform that many people are already familiar with because it runs 40% of the entire internet. Going headless using the WordPress back end allows organizations to keep the critical features from WordPress that they expect, such as SEO tools, layouts, and authoring workflows. Native headless CMS can be fast and flexible but it doesn’t always have the WordPress functionality that are essential for many firms.

One way to address this issue, as well as the skills challenge is to look for a solution that offers headless in a straightforward way that helps you to get to market as quickly as possible. Look to deploy a single headless solution with the frameworks and features of your choice, all built-in, under one roof.

Scaling in an unknown future

Headless boosts performance today and helps enterprises prepare for tomorrow. They can anticipate new channels, new devices and have the ability to publish more broadly and to any device. According to WP Engine research, headless is being chosen for current and future implementations to help with websites, ecommerce, IoT and more. In whatever environment it’s deployed, it has the potential to deliver great digital experiences at scale and a consistent content experience.

Part of the excitement is that enterprises don’t yet know every platform they’re developing content for right now, but we know it has to be API compatible and therefore scalable. 

When it is, businesses no longer have to worry about new platforms coming along because they have already created the means to use it. They have developed relevant and compelling content that works for 2022 smartphones as well as devices that haven’t even been created yet. Headless helps to futureproof organizations in a digital world where technology changes but customer experience is timeless.

Fabio Torlini
As Managing Director, Fabio Torlini leads WP Engine’s strategy, revenue growth and operations in the EMEA region. With over 15 years experience in the hosting and cloud industries, Fabio has a thorough understanding of all aspects of IT B2B sales, marketing, scaling operations in Europe and management. He held business leadership roles at Cinven, Rackspace, XO Communications and GX Networks. Fabio holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in European Business Studies from Brunel University in London.