What is headless eCommerce and how does it work?

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eCommerce has become more popular than ever. With the increase in eCommerce stores and mobile commerce, the industry has exploded!

New technology is released constantly to make eCommerce more profitable, more streamlined, and easier for customers and businesses alike.

But how can online retailers keep up with these trends and quickly respond to technological changes? How can eCommerce platforms meet the demands of the modern-day customer?

That’s where Headless eCommerce comes in.

Headless commerce architecture separates the front end presentation layer of a website from the back end eCommerce functionality.

This allows developers to use their front end technology of choice to deliver high-quality content experiences.

Developers can then easily plug in an eCommerce solution on the back end that manages all commerce functionality.

What exactly is headless commerce? Check this article to know everything about this new tech, how it works, and the pros and cons.

Headless eCommerce is a term used to describe an architecture where the front end and back end of an eCommerce platform are separate.

This means that the front end (the part of the site that the customer sees and interacts with) is built using one technology, while the back end (the part of the site that handles things like order processing and inventory management) is built using another.

This provides businesses with an unparalleled level of flexibility, allowing them to create unique customer experiences on the front end.

With headless eCommerce, you can choose the front end technology that works best for you and your future goals. This allows businesses to create rich customer experiences on the front, without being limited by the back end technology.

Alternatively, if you use headless eCommerce, you can change the way you build your store or how it looks without impacting how it works on the back end. This flexibility allows you to create a unique shopping experience for your customers.

There’s a lot of debate in the eCommerce world about which approach is better – headless eCommerce or traditional eCommerce.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each approach to help you decide which is right for your business.

There are a lot of reasons why headless eCommerce is becoming popular. The biggest reason is that it allows businesses to separate their front end and back end systems, which offers a lot more flexibility.

This means that businesses can use any back end system they want, as long as it can provide an API, and they are not tied to a specific eCommerce platform.

This gives businesses much more flexibility and allows them to use the best back end system for their needs, without having to worry about how it will work with the front end.

Secondly, headless eCommerce allows businesses to create better front end experiences for customers.

By decoupling the back end from the front end, businesses can create custom front end experiences that are tailored to their specific audience without having to restrict the user experience to match the back end.

This results in a much better user experience and can help businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Finally, larger eCommerce businesses need scale. With headless eCommerce, it is much easier to scale up or down as required.

You can always switch your back end, add new front end platforms to your eCommerce store, and continue to grow.

All while the data that’s being fed to these platforms remains in a single place.

You can use any framework or technology for your storefront that you want. This also means that you are not tied to the platform you choose when you first set up your store.

For example, if you use Commercetools as your back end system you are free to use any programming language or processes for your front end.

You can build your front end using PHP, ReactJS, or any other framework. You simply pull your product data using the Commercetools’ API.

You can also connect your own microservices or use APIs from other companies. You can build a unique user experience without restricting yourself to the limitations of a traditional eCommerce solution like WooCommerce.

If you need to completely update your front end in a couple of years, you can do so without needing to change your back end services. This is because the two are completely separate.

You can also run multiple clients from a single back end. For example, you could have a website, mobile app, and point-of-sale app, all powered by the same back end services.

Another key benefit of headless eCommerce is that it can allow for a much faster development cycle.

Developers can work on the front end and back end independently. This can lead to a more agile development process and allow for new features and functionality to be deployed much faster.

There are many benefits of using a headless eCommerce platform:

A headless eCommerce solution may not be right for every business. You need to spend time identifying if it makes sense to switch.

In the getting started section, you’ll find a few tips to help you know if switching will be beneficial for your business or not.

There are a few disadvantages of using a headless eCommerce platform:

The key downside of a headless eCommerce setup is that it can be more complex to manage. Because the front end and back end are decoupled, there is potential for greater inconsistency between the two. This can lead to increased development and operational costs.

Overall, headless eCommerce can be a powerful tool for businesses that want greater flexibility and agility in their development process.

The choice of your eCommerce technology should be based on a strategic assessment of your business needs both now and in the future.

A headless eCommerce platform can give you the agility, flexibility, and scalability to meet those needs and stay ahead of the competition.

To make sure, we recommend checking to see if you meet at least three of the following criteria:

Now that you know what a headless eCommerce platform is and whether it’s the right fit for your business, it’s time to choose the right platform.

Not all platforms are created equal, and the wrong one can cost you time and money in the long run.

Here are a few headless eCommerce platforms:

Each handles commerce slightly differently, so we would recommend spending a little time utilizing demos or free trials until you’re ready to choose.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, it’s time to start designing your front end. This is where you’ll decide how your customers will interact with your store and what kind of experience you want to provide.

There are a few things to keep in mind when designing your front end:

Now that you have a headless eCommerce platform and a front end design, it’s time to connect the two. This is where you’ll need to code or use a third-party integration.

If you’re not comfortable coding, there are a few third-party integrations that can help you connect your headless eCommerce platform with your front end.

These integrations will give you the ability to manage your store’s content and product data from one place.

As the demands of digital commerce continue to evolve, more brands are turning to headless commerce to keep up with the changing landscape.

Headless commerce offers many benefits, including the ability to quickly adapt to emerging technologies, unify data and eCommerce systems, and deliver a more personalized omnichannel experience.

Let’s take a look at five brands that have successfully made the switch to headless commerce.

Nike decided to go headless to keep up with the changing landscape of digital commerce and meet the needs of their constantly connected customer base.

Thanks to going headless, Nike has been able to quickly adapt to emerging technologies and deliver a personalized experience to their customers.

Moreover, they’ve been able to provide a more seamless customer experience by unifying their data and commerce systems.

K2 switched to a headless configuration to improve their API performance and deliver the innovative shopping experience they wanted.

On the front end, they leveraged Contentstack to create content-rich experiences that made their site resonate with their desired audience.

As a result, they were able to create sites and publish content faster, and saw a boost in the productivity of their teams!

Their on-page section scrolls also don’t require a visitor to keep clicking ‘next’, and interact more naturally by dragging the cursor. This makes the entire experience light and airy, completely aligning with their branding.

Kirklands switched to headless commerce to resolve the issue of site speed. As they expanded their sitemap and functionalities offered on each of the pages, the site speed further slowed down.

Thanks to the switch, the brand is now one of the fastest retail websites and runs a variety of unique and experimental features like fingerprint checkout, one-click login, and other new features.

Manchester City decided to go headless to improve the performance of their website and offer a more personalized experience to their fans.

Thanks to the switch, they’ve been able to improve site speed and offer features like real-time match updates and exclusive video content to their fans.

Going headless has helped brands like Nike, Kirkland, Manchester City Football Club, and many others improve site performance, offer a more personalized experience, and quickly adapt to emerging technologies.

If you’re considering making the switch to a headless architecture, these brands are great examples of what’s possible and what you should expect!

Headless eCommerce is a type of eCommerce architecture that decouples the front end user interface from the back end database and business logic. This allows businesses to build multi-platform applications and experiences without being limited by their eCommerce platform.

There are several reasons why a business might want to use headless eCommerce. First, it allows businesses to build custom user experiences without being limited by their eCommerce platform. Second, it makes it easier to integrate with third-party applications and services. Finally, it can improve performance and scalability by decoupling the front end and back end.

Some benefits of using headless eCommerce are that it can make your website faster and more responsive, and it can also make it easier to manage your content. Additionally, headless eCommerce can provide a better user experience for your customers by allowing them to browse through your products more easily. Finally, using a headless eCommerce solution can also help you save money on your overall eCommerce costs.

Before you switch to a headless eCommerce solution, ensure that you have the necessary technical expertise. Headless eCommerce systems may require a developer to stitch together the back end and front end. If you don’t have developers on staff, you may need to outsource this work, which can be costly.

Additionally, consider whether a headless eCommerce solution makes sense for your business model. If you sell physical goods, for example, you’ll need to consider how to integrate a shipping solution into your headless eCommerce platform. Finally, think about whether you want to use a headless eCommerce platform for all of your online sales, or just for certain products or product lines.

Some of the leading headless eCommerce platforms include BigCommerce, Commercetools, Vendure, and Elastic Path.

Some of the benefits of using a headless eCommerce platform include:

Overall, a headless eCommerce platform gives you more control over your store and how it looks and functions.

There are pros and cons to both headless and traditional eCommerce. Choosing one of these two approaches completely depends on your business needs. If you need a more flexible and scalable solution, then headless eCommerce might be the way to go.

Keep in mind that headless solutions cost a lot more than traditional systems. It’s a generally accepted rule that you should not consider switching to headless until your annual revenue hits 8 figures.

Alternatively, you can go with traditional eCommerce solutions if you want an easy-to-implement, affordable, and user-friendly option.

At the end of the day, it’s important to choose the eCommerce solution that’s going to work best for your business. So, take some time to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the decision that’s right for you.

Have you used headless eCommerce? Have you had experience using the solution? Tell us about it below!

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