Global enterprises with multiple brands under one umbrella sometimes struggle to display a unified and consistent digital experience for their customers. That’s because juggling numerous brands, websites, and the associated infrastructure that makes everything click can be challenging.
Businesses that want to showcase consistency, improve efficiency, and have the flexibility to pivot into new markets and strategies to deliver a better experience can no longer rely on their existing monolithic architecture to support them.
Instead, a new approach that enables them to unify the frontend stack is essential. In this article, we’ll highlight the challenges companies face and how replatforming to a new stack can help.
#The frontend stack challenge
Delivering a cohesive frontend stack requires businesses to leverage a unified architecture. Without one, these companies find themselves facing various challenges.
Complex IT infrastructure
Ecommerce brands expand their backend stacks with tools like PIM software, CRM tools, CMS solutions, analytics tools, and other technologies. However, overtime, this ends up being a mix of different programming languages, frameworks, and libraries that struggle to interact with each other as brands seek to create the user experience from scratch.
Brands relying on monolithic infrastructure might have the best intentions regarding unifying the frontend. Still, they are also likely to suffer from some performance issues, including frequent maintenance requirements and challenging integrations. As a result, too much time and resources are lost, and other challenges, such as speed limitations and restricted innovation, become a problem.
Inefficient team collaboration
The lack of a unified architecture means that team collaboration becomes inefficient. Companies cannot implement the right processes that help them keep everyone on the same page. As a result, time to market is delayed, new campaigns can’t be launched as quickly, and eCommerce merchants miss new opportunities.
Leaving out emerging channels
Brands building engaging eCommerce experiences must be aware of new and emerging channels that appear almost annually. Today customers are leveraging digital channels such as AR/VR devices, wearable technologies, and other devices to browse and shop for their favorite products. However, without a unified frontend stack, it can be impossible to deliver engaging frontend experiences on channels such as these and quickly adapt to other channels as they emerge.
Negative user experience
As all of the previously mentioned challenges cascade, it negatively impacts the digital customer experience. Internally, teams will be unable to deliver on customer expectations. Externally, customers don’t receive the digital experience they crave and will seek out competitors that can meet those demands.
#From fragmented to integrated: introducing frontend unification
Companies need to aggregate all of their backend functionality to easily share data between microservices to solve the challenges of complexity, performance issues, and inefficient collaboration. However, beyond that, they also need to unify the frontend to offer users a consistent experience.
Unifying the frontend stack refers to the process of standardizing and consolidating the technologies and tools used in the frontend development of a software project or application. In other words, it’s about using a consistent set of programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and build tools across the entire frontend codebase.
By unifying the frontend stack, businesses can innovate more quickly and provide developers with the tools to launch new applications rapidly without worrying about disrupting the entire system or that new applications cannot fit into the existing digital ecosystem.
However, achieving frontend unification largely depends on the current architecture being used. Brands still using monolithic architecture will need to replatform to a modern approach leveraging headless architecture or they will not be able to impress customers due to poor user experiences.
#Comparison of unified and not unified stack
Unifying the frontend stack is a strategic approach that can lead to a more maintainable, scalable, and efficient development process. Understanding the differences between what can be achieved with a unified stack and one that is not unified can help businesses understand why replatforming to an architecture that enables frontend unification is essential.
|Unified frontend stack||Disparate frontend stack|
|Data unification||Data is shared between multiple applications in order to create a cohesive ecosystem.||Each system operates independent of the others leading to silos due to the lack of data sharing.|
|Collaboration and efficiency||Communication is streamlined allowing for better collaboration between teams and greater process efficiency.||Teams suffer from inefficient processes, increased redundancy and slower time to market.|
|Scalability||Increased scalability as teams can easily add new projects and applications||Difficulty scaling and innovating|
|Maintenance requirements||Maintaining the system becomes easier as teams use standardized protocols and don’t need to update each system separately||Increased maintenance and security challenges due to having to manage each system separately|
|User experience||Consistent and engaging user experience across systems and channels||Lack of consistency as users move between channels and applications|
#How creating a seamless experience brings customer satisfaction
After achieving frontend unification, brands can realize a number of benefits.
Improved site performance
Unifying the frontend helps to distribute traffic across different servers without negatively impacting the user experience. The knock-on effects of improved site performance are faster loading speeds, less downtime, and an all-around smoother browsing experience. This leads to further benefits as for every one-second website speed increases, ecommerce conversions can increase up to 27%.
Frontend unification also means providing a consistent structure for every frontend application. This improves the findability of websites and can lead to better discoverability for the business and products due to better SEO performance.
Better user experience
A unified frontend offers more consistency for the end-user. No matter what channel they are browsing or where they choose to shop for items, they will be presented with a similarly high-level experience that brings more satisfaction and improves customer loyalty. Having an improved customer experience like this can yield a 2 to 7% increase in sales revenue.
By standardizing protocols and policies across frontend applications and sites, teams can ensure better compliance with regulatory requirements and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to malicious attacks. Better security helps to improve consumer trust, which is important as 71% of consumers are unlikely to buy from a company if trust is lost.
Better efficiency and scalability
Internal teams can make better use of resources and operate more efficiently since maintaining and updating the tech stack is more streamlined. Teams can also quickly scale and enter new markets with ease.
#How to unify your frontend stack
Unifying your frontend stack can provide brands the consistency and flexibility to remain competitive. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the requirements and constraints of your specific project to select the most suitable technologies and approaches.
Start by defining the goals of the unification project and ensure that they match the overall organization’s goals and objectives.
Consult with key stakeholders to understand if the existing system is able to meet their needs and what features they need from the new tools to meet their requirements.
Determine the appropriate technologies needed to meet organizational goals today and the future needs of tomorrow.
If your system isn’t currently built using MACH architecture and headless technologies, it’s time to replatform to a new system instead.
Migrate to a new headless CMS that will be able to unify the frontend and backend.
Achieving frontend unification requires a system that can consolidate the technologies and tools used in frontend development and enable brands to innovate as required. Hygraph is a headless CMS and Federated Content Platform that supports the composable approach and provides the modular architecture required for successful frontend unification.
Whereas monolithic solutions struggle to unify the frontend, Hygraph offers Content Federation. This approach is an enabler to help companies replatform and unify the frontend stack. Companies can orchestrate their content in one unified layer by aggregating data from different sources with one single API.
Moreover, enterprises can choose to migrate their system piece by piece until all of the appropriate tools and technologies are in place, and the entire front end is unified.
Enterprises that want to deliver high-quality products to various audiences need the right infrastructure to support them. By unifying the frontend stack, these organizations can avoid the challenges of complex IT infrastructure, performance issues, and the threat of new and emerging channels.
Hygraph and Content Federation offer the capabilities to replatform to a new tech stack and unify the frontend stack instead of struggling with monolithic architectures. Contact us today to learn more about unifying the frontend stack.