Disruptive technology is changing the retail landscape for the better, but for those failing to adapt to the ever growing demands of the tech-savvy consumer, digital Darwinism (or survival of the fittest) is already taking place and even global retailers are affected.

Since the pandemic gripped the world back in March of 2020, numerous online retailers have felt the pinch from a sudden surge in website traffic and their correspondingly inflexible commerce solutions that were left trying to accommodate thousands of unexpected customers. Despite many countries now in their third lockdown, some of the world’s biggest retailers have been caught off-guard and forced to re-evaluate their often monolithic commerce infrastructures. 

As reported on the BBC, Sainsbury’s commented: “We temporarily limited access to our groceries online service last night so that we could manage high demand for slots and updates customers were making to existing orders. We’re continuing to monitor the situation and are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.*

Whether it’s unforeseen circumstances or tentpole events in the retail calendar, such as Black Friday or Christmas shopping, websites often struggle due to an outdated architecture. commercetools is built to handle any traffic peaks so that the shopping experience for consumers will run smoothly and stably, ensuring no lost revenue. A headless architecture enables online shops to be flexible enough to build and roll out their campaigns immediately on whichever omni-channel touchpoint they desire, which is especially useful when offering short-term discounts. 

The pandemic has impacted so many facets of our lives, including our purchasing behaviours. Yet brands that could swiftly adapt their business strategies to this new world order have thrived. The latest Black Friday for example, brought a wave of new consumers that have rapidly transitioned to shopping online as their preferred medium.

For our 200 commercetools customers that were taking Black Friday orders, purchases peaked at 7,000 orders per minute, totaling an incredible 3 million orders over the course of the day, and order volume grew over 120%. Industries that saw the biggest spikes in online sales were toy companies such as Lego and Carrera; home interior companies such as Restoration Hardware (RH) and Bolze; and fashion companies such as Carhartt WIP and Express that experienced 10 times as much traffic than usual.

If you’re currently experiencing the pitfalls of a monolithic commerce platform and subsequently digital Darwinism, now should be the time to consider going headless


About the author

Martin Lloyd, Marketing Manager for UK & Northern Europe at commercetoolsMartin Lloyd is Marketing Manager for UK & Northern Europe at commercetools. Martin is an avid tech enthusiast and has worked in a variety of senior marketing roles in the software industry from startups through to global scale ups like GoCardless.