Q4 Can Make or Break You in Ecommerce and Every Advantage Matters

I have a love/hate relationship with Q4. Before I joined the team at Section, I spent over a decade living and dying by the success or failures my company experienced during what we would call “peak season.”

For most of us, “peak season” means the week preceding Black Friday through mid-January when post-holiday gift cards would be spent. I loved this time of year because it represented a culmination of 9 months of effort, from traditional marketing to streamlined supply chain to the “witchcraft” one encounters when a talented digital marketer brings ideal customers into your funnel while boosting your SEO ranking and overall engagement. The pot of gold at the end of all of this effort could simply be distilled down to “conversions.”

The “hate” part is different. More often than not the most applicable term would be “winner’s remorse.” Despite the success you encounter during Q4, you often find yourself during the last two weeks of January licking your wounds over the conversions that could have been.

I’ve worked for both startups and large enterprise and more often than not, found that headless commerce was the best way to satisfy the most pressing needs for the business. Flexibility. Freedom to create and iterate on an incredible customer experience. And most importantly, the ability to supercharge a store so that it performs at the highest level. The love comes from these things. The hate comes from the myriad challenges and multiple vendors/platforms needed to create optimum performance, and beyond that, the challenges with the API layer of your headless commerce architecture that can seem impossible to overcome.

And so… I was pleasantly surprised when I joined the Section team and learned that not only could deploying containers globally across a federation of infrastructure partners help any company with the efficiency of their stack, but that this technology could solve multiple problems for a company that seeks to create an amazing experience via headless commerce.

Let’s step back for a moment and look at what this means. If you’re part of the ecommerce world you already get it. You need to serve customers in multiple ways via what the industry calls the “front end.” In the Internet of Everything, customers can order your product via the web, mobile, social, and voice-controlled connected devices in their home. In conjunction with this, you work hard on a daily basis to ensure they can message you, engage customer service, or consume the content you provide and convert that into a brick and mortar retail experience.

On the “back end,” you have the operational aspect of your business. Inventory and supply chain. Your cart so that customers can easily and simply check out. You have a payment processor, a catalogue to manage, constant updates to pricing, promotions to support, and then add in the internationalization component. All of this matters without considering the impending doom of a possible ddos attack, bot invasions, and the myriad challenges that come with ensuring that all your customers’ data is safe.

And then there is the “middle layer,” comprised of API’s that connect front to back and enable your company to serve all of this to your customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. The more complex your headless setup, the more complex this becomes.

So what does this have to do with Section? When I arrived here I had no idea. But then I saw the light. It took less than a day.

I quickly learned by looking at what successful ecommerce companies were doing to leverage our technology. The answer to so many problems I’d encountered in my previous lives became simple. Anything that lives in a container can be improved with Section’s platform. I looked at a company that has experienced significant growth and needed to scale quickly. They deployed a nuxt.js app for their front end on a global scale, anywhere they need it. Doing so was easy. They combined that with image optimization, web application firewall, bot mitigation, an intelligent caching layer via Varnish that helped to enable localization, and then I learned of the coup de gras - their work with our engineers to deploy GraphQL endpoints globally so that they could dramatically enhance the performance between front and back end. It was eye opening, and I immediately found myself again with “winner’s remorse” over the fact I’d not leveraged a wholistic solution like this in my previous lives. My story had always been “too many vendors, so much budget to manage.”

This customer was only one example of the many who are leveraging Section technology to address multiple needs for their business.

If you’re seeking a solution that allows you to work with a single vendor while deploying any containerized aspect of your headless commerce architecture as close to your customers as possible, I can speak from personal experience. Be it your presentation layer/front end, your API layer, or microservices on the back end, there is an incredible opportunity to improve your customers’ experience while efficiently managing cost under a single provider. The platform is risk-averse. Try it for free, or reach out and let us know what you’re looking to accomplish.

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