It is the future of digital commerce, whose market size has been tremendously rising for the last few years and is expected to reach USD 3.5 trillion by 2025, according to Forbes.
If you’ve already been working with a traditional commerce platform. In that case, because of its editing limitations, you must be familiar with the immense labor required to revise a single section with custom codes.
Moreover, if you want any additional functionalities that your template doesn’t support, then hiring a professional to do so keeps exhausting your assets every now and then.
Both time and money draining! It doesn’t sound like a great choice to make, right? Then there’s where the Headless Commerce solution wins. It allows you to create eCommerce store backstage scenarios and presentation layers according to your technology expertise.
Sounds confusing? Let us help you with a detailed Headless commerce definition, in simpler words. So, let’s dive in!
What is Headless eCommerce?
As you are already familiar with the eCommerce business term, understanding the Headless ecommerce platform will also be way easier for you.
Now, as we know to run online, an e-commerce platform requires two reinforcements: front-end and back-end. The Headless commerce approach lets you decouple these layers and decide which technology to use.
Hence, no predefined front end experience is required, and no need to forcefully fit your eCommerce storefront in predesigned templates.
Even if you want to add a coupon countdown to customers’ carts, keep the site translatable, and add animations out of the box, you can do everything.
Headless technology’s only limitation is your imagination; the more you want to advance it, the more it can happen!
You can also consult with an eCommerce development company offering these services so that you can ensure that your eCommerce store has each commerce functionality your business needs and front-end design that improves an overall customer experience.
What is the Working Procedure of Headless E-commerce?
As you know what Headless architecture ecommerce is, let’s understand that even after different frontend and backend – how do Headless storefronts interact with customer queries? And deliver results as per their requests.
Headless commerce enables API to work as a middleman, basically, software that allows two applications to communicate, process, and deliver results together.
The commerce engine first receives a request from the presentation layer and passes it to the application back-end layer through the API. Bringing VR experience to you; let’s suppose you are exploring side tables on Target (one of the top Headless commerce examples) and are about to checkout.
The presentation layer is the interface where you interact with the images, descriptions, title, and overall layout. When you tap checkout, the front-end element connects with the API. Then, the back end of the Headless CMS processes the request, helping the shopper checkout and track their order status via confirmation through email.
Hence, using a Headless commerce architecture benefits you with customization flexibilities and user experience. Headless commerce allows designing a front-end from scratch specifically tailored to your business niche and audience preference.
Difference Between Headless eCommerce and Traditional eCommerce
As the term Headless platform might be new to you, there must be multiple queries about which one to choose: Headless eCommerce or Traditional eCommerce.
Well, both of them are approaches used to build and manage online ecommerce brands only, but their offering aspects differ based on which you can check out which one works the best for you:
The front-end and back-end are tightly coupled, as they are often part of a monolithic system.
Performing any update without affecting the entire platform can be challenging.
The front end and back end are decoupled in different layers, utilizing API as the mediator to perform tasks.
This separation allows more flexibility for developers to design, deploy, and test the updates on each layer independently and without affecting the entire platform.
It is limited as per the template/theme functionalities. Suppose the need for any additional modification arises.
In that case, you will need support from a dedicated back-end commerce developer or team to create and test code. This process can be time-consuming and require extensive back-and-forth work.
As created from scratch, using modern technologies and frameworks that too, as per the developers’ expertise, the customization with Headless technology gets much easier.
This flexibility enables frontend developers to create innovative designs and deliver improved user experience.
Maintaining scalability can get more difficult for you as the traffic starts growing.
As traditional platforms can’t handle huge loads individually, you’ll need to upgrade hardware or set up more servers to do so.
The scalability portion also gets bifurcated between frontend and backend in a Headless solution, this architecture is often more scalable.
To ease down the process independently, you can also add cloud-based solutions and microservices.
It is usually integrated within the eCommerce solution. Thus, the flexibility of content creation and deliverability is limited to the offered functionalities.
A Headless content management system enables both marketers and content creators to work individually with CMS tools while offering developers the flexibility to work on technical aspects.
It often includes modifying the monolithic codebase; making edits in such core files does include risks, so hiring a dedicated developer is better to ensure that your application programming runs smoothly.
Integrating third-party APIs and services is relatively easy; Headless commerce advantages with the flexibility to incorporate tools, including payment gateways, analytics platforms, and marketing automation systems.
Time to Market
Due to interdependence in frontend and backend development, the process from developing to launching can be time-consuming.
So the Q/A team can ultimately ensure that none of the layers is affecting the other.
As practices can be done on both layers parallelly, you can launch your Headless commerce system comparatively very soon.
Also, only the expertise team works on each commerce layer, which significantly reduces the concern of other layers getting affected too.
Headless eCommerce vs Traditional eCommerce
This difference table of Headless commerce vs. traditional commerce has clarified your choice and acknowledged why most enterprises go Headless instead of traditional eCommerce.
Key Benefits of Headless eCommerce
We now know what different aspects of traditional e-commerce, Headless commerce architecture, gives – Still, there are also several other benefits of using a Headless ecommerce, allowing you to create personalized and customer-engaging ecommerce experiences.
1. Omnichannel Experiences
It is a multichannel sales approach, that includes delivering a personalized customer experience on every channel from a mobile device, or laptop, to a brick-and-mortar store. The Headless system also streamlines these complex operations.
With Headless Commerce, you can add new touchpoints on the front end and efficiently connect them with the back-end system. This communication between both layers becomes possible via API in Headless e-commerce solutions.
2. Unlimited UX/UI Customization
Whether you are new to eCommerce retail or an established name, the user honestly doesn’t care about that – all it depends on is their overall eCommerce experience and how easy to navigate, explore, and checkout options you offer them.
Thus, your UI must be the most suitable and integrated with modern technologies. As ecommerce Headless allows working on the presentation layer individually, you can keep up with this factor while executing the project within the deadline.
3. Optimized Web Performance
Headless commerce benefits you with higher SEO rankings because of its fast, secure, easy-to-checkout, and performant functionalities. While running online retail, what most concerns us is its database and image optimization so the audience doesn’t turn to bounce rate.
Using Headless commerce, you don’t have to worry about any of these, as this stuff gets first optimized by developers and then only comes to use on the eCommerce front end.
What are the Common Use Cases of Headless eCommerce Platform?
Now, first, let’s put on some check marks of what we have covered till now – We got Headless commerce explained, then its working process, and the key benefits to consider while using Headless ecommerce architecture.
But how will you get the Headless model in use if you don’t know where and when to operate it? Below, we have mentioned the curated commonalities that have benefited enterprises using Headless commerce.
We suggest you go through it and check whether your business expectations are aligning with the Headless eCommerce offerings or not.
Handle High Content Volume
Reduce Technical Back-and-Forth
Safeguard From PCI Compliance and Fraud Protection
Improve Customer Experience
Aggressive Growth Plans & Business Expansion
Does Headless eCommerce Fit for all Online Stores?
It depends on your specific business requirements and the goal you aim for by accomplishing a Headless commerce platform. Here are some common scenarios in which Headless commerce can be the most suitable choice:
1. Unique Customer Experience
The most common reason for switching to Headless ecommerce from a traditional ecommerce platform. If you seek to offer functionalities beyond the typical template capabilities to your users, Headless Commerce is the perfect fit for your eCommerce platform.
2. Quick Customization
From development to deployment with features offered by Headless, you can complete each process step in a short span. eCommerce sites based in Headless benefit from staying ahead of competitors and offering improved user solutions.
3. Content First Strategy
If your web’s role is primarily based on content such as blog posts, videos, or multi-media content, then a Headless ecommerce solution can help you seamlessly integrate with the e-commerce platform.
4. Managing Both National and International Audiences
When the entire globe is your audience, setting eCommerce platform premises according to their preferred language, currency, and cultural references is vital. A Headless approach makes this functionality way more accessible and manageable for you.
5. Test Recent Innovations
Headless commerce is an e-commerce that gives an open hand to emerging new technologies and tests if your eCommerce site can improve.
Progressive web apps (PWAs), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality, or any other emerging technologies can be tested with Headless commerce via API calls without getting bordered under any traditional e-commerce limitations.
Best Headless eCommerce Examples
Leading brands across the globe are using this technology and architecture in innovative yet tailored ways.
Objective: Nike aimed to create the first mobile e-commerce website to support the overall strategy to generate more sales from mobile app-based customer segments.
Role of Headless Commerce: They used the blend of React SPA with Node.js backend for the frontend – which is a Backend-For-Frontend approach. This logical strategy helped them to optimize every single element for small-screen interaction.
Results: Raise in market share while conquering their competitors, including Adidas.
Objective: Facing tough competition from Amazon and Walmart, Target analyzed that a large majority of 80% of customers start the buying journey from one device and are likely to finish on the other.
Role of Headless Commerce: Bridging this gap between devices can be an opportunity for growth. Target used Headless Commerce to address this issue naturally, for unifying the customer experience across different devices was the answer.
Results: Witnessed more conversion rate and easy user experience in navigating their products
3. Feel Unique
Objective: This Europe’s leading beauty products retailer brand was focused on brushing up the user experience that can drive them more revenue.
Role of Headless Commerce: By using the React Progressive Web App, Feel Unique’s multiple shopping stages, including product searching, browsing, and purchasing, drastically improved.
Results: Application programming interface resulting in a fast, streamlined shopping experience and increased customer satisfaction.
How to Get Started with Headless eCommerce?
Switching to Headless commerce architecture from traditional commerce architecture is not that overhauling if you are familiar with technical terms or have an experienced support team. Here are some factors to follow:
1. Elaborate Your Business Needs
When it comes to retail e-commerce, there is no one-size-fits-all platform – it basically depends on your business size.
If you are a small business planning to switch to Headless commerce, rather than migrating the entire forum, you can add an API from platforms like Shopify Plus. Thus, the technical pool is quite profound; you may also contact a Shopify development company experienced with Headless eCommerce website development.
2. Choose a Headless e-Commerce CMS
Unlike traditional CMS, with Headless CMS, you won’t need multiple platforms to distribute your content on different channels.
You’ll get to handle it all under a single platform while optimizing it for each channel and letting APIs spread the content among multiple touchpoints.
There are two types of Headless CMS programs:
Open-source: Provides access to software’s code base and maximum customizability.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS): Includes robust customization abilities enabling you to set up your Headless CMS faster without technical complexities.
3. Sync APIs with the Headless CMS
So that your customer doesn’t experience any disruption in navigating to the right path due to a disconnected application layer; to avoid such consequences, we suggest you integrate ready-to-use Headless commerce API.
FAQs About Headless eCommerce
Q1. How does Headless commerce impact your customers?
Fairly positive compared to traditional commerce architecture, with its benefits including:
Creating audience preference-tailored UI/UX.
Easy to integrate API with CMS.
Effortless updates and maintenance.
Thus, commerce architecture gives your business an overall boost covering all the aspects.
Q2. Why is Headless commerce faster?
Headless commerce is an e-commerce architecture that lets both front-end and back-end decouple, and its developers work independently, which speeds up the entire developing and launching procedures.
Q3. What is Headless commerce vs. PWA?
Headless technology is an eCommerce architecture that is connected via API and makes both front-end and back-end work, while PWA is a front-end application.
Thus, online retail is being massively evolving these days and so are the customers’ requirements which is why integrating modern technologies such as Headless Commerce within your commerce store has become vital now.
It not only benefits you with infinite UI/UX possibilities but also in improved SEO ranking, satisfied shopping experience, and increased return on investment (ROI). If you still find yourself stuck or want to know how Headless e Commerce can benefit your business, you can consult with our experts today!
John Niles, a dedicated Technical Consultant at BrainSpate since 2023, specializes in eCommerce. With a global perspective, he crafts insightful content on cutting-edge web development technologies, enriching the digital commerce landscape.
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