The four pillars of e-commerce: Creating a flawless online experience

Technology never stands still. In all industries, businesses have to adapt quickly if they want to stay ahead of the competition, and in 2020 that means putting the customer first by offering a flawless online experience.

From grocery shopping to general online retail, the customer-centric approach is taking over. That means brands have to deliver a cohesive and unified experience across a number of devices and platforms, allowing customers to engage and shop on their own terms. However, businesses can’t reinvent the wheel every time consumer preferences change and new technologies become available.

That’s where technologies like headless commerce, microservices (find out more here), APIs and cloud adoption (further details here) come into play. Each of these four technologies blends together to allow businesses to develop scalable, adaptable solutions that feed into this idea of a universal service model.

Headless commerce

The commerce experience is tailored to each individual customer-facing endpoint, with those endpoints operating independently of back-end processes.


The use of small, modular applications designed to deliver very specific features, which add up to create a unified experience.


APIs hold microservices together, setting the rules by which data is shared between applications. APIs are so prevalent in today’s digital ecosystem, that some organisations are now starting with an ‘API-first’ approach.


Applications and platforms that are built and continue to exist in the cloud, making them more accessible, secure and adaptable.

These four technologies are most certainly the future of e-commerce, and over the past decade organisations have seriously started to take notice. A 2020 report from Wunderman Thompson found that more than 80% of e-commerce organisations rated their understanding of the above technologies as ‘strong’ or ‘solid’.

However, ‘understanding’ and ‘doing’ are different things. The real question is how many of these organisations feel prepared enough to use these technologies to their advantage? The same report asked 400 businesses throughout the US and UK to rate their ‘ability to work’ with headless, microservices, API-first and cloud-native technologies.

The results were encouraging.

More than 30% of businesses said they were fully prepared to work with any of the technologies. 48% said they had a solid understanding and, with a bit of work, could easily adapt to using any of the technologies. 22% of businesses said they felt ‘under-strength’ and not quite ready.

On balance, this means around 4 out of 5 businesses are fairly confident when it comes to adopting the ‘four pillars’ of e-commerce. With the right levels of expertise and resources, even smaller retailers and brands could leverage the technology to their advantage, levelling the playing field and allowing them to compete for online retail spend.

To find out more about headless commerce and microservices, why not get in touch with our team using the contact form below?

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