The eCommerce ecosystem has undergone tremendous changes in the last decade, with additions such as mobile commerce, social commerce, shifting consumer behaviours and expectations, AI driven logistics and IoT driven shipping and now, headless commerce. The business world today is a blossoming field for experimenting with various technologies to present, perfect or modify newer solutions, influence customer behaviours, simplify interfaces and bring ease of business to owners of eCommerce businesses. As such, headless commerce is a new trend in this series.
First, what exactly constitutes Headless Commerce?
As we know, an eCommerce website is built on both a frontend and a backend architecture. However, Headless Commerce removes the frontend layer, i.e. it stores, manages and delivers content without a theme or template that typically constitute a front end. Thus all the actions and maintenance of the eCommerce website is done in the back-end. In this case, developers use APIs (Application Programming Interface) to create and deliver blog posts, products and customer reviews to any device and the front-end developers work on the ways to present that content with their desired framework. Needless to say, Headless Commerce is the product of a rapidly expanding IoT age.
Many experts categorise headless commerce as “decoupling” the frontend and backend of the website, where a separation is made between the frontend presentation such as blogs, images, colours, styles, graphics from the backend functions of pricing, infrastructure, security and checkout.
Experts also believe that the biggest advantage of a Headless Commerce is flexibility and the scalability to businesses. This is also where Headless Commerce deviates from Traditional Commerce. Let’s know more about this:
Traditional eCommerce typically constitutes a website or a mobile application. This system has a tight integration of their frontend and backend, therefore even when there are plenty of customisation opportunities and unrestricted access to code, however, there is no way to deliver their content and host their business other than in the form of websites and native mobile apps.
In contrast to this, headless commerce is hosted by a Rest API or Representational State Transfer API where two computer systems communicate over HTTP in similar fashion to web browsers and servers. This model comprises a backend data model and a cloud based infrastructure that can deliver content, products and payment gateways to multiple devices including smartwatches, Alexa Skills, kiosk screens and more. This flexibility enables eCommerce owners to tap into IoT devices other than the traditional mediums.
Flexibility in front end development is another aspect in which headless commerce towers over traditional eCommerce that imposes a number of constraints on front end developers in designing and other processes. It requires a lot of time to edit databases, code and frontend platform, and developers have limited choices on what can be updated and edited without voiding warranty.
In comparison to this, headless commerce enables frontend developers to create their desired user experience from scratch without any predefined frontend platform. They can modify databases without upsetting the backend functions. Though everything has to be built from scratch, from product pages to landing pages, they have the liberty of endless customisations in web designs.
With the basic differences between traditional and headless commerce now cleared, let’s talk about the advantages headless commerce offers-
- An Omnichannel venture: The headless content management system enables an eCommerce brand to deliver products, content (videos, blog posts) to any channel that exists today and will exist tomorrow. From Alexa Skills to smartwatches to refrigerator screens everything becomes accessible.
- Competitive Edge: To remain competitive and viable in today’s market is key to success. Headless commerce allows multiple updates without impacting backend functionality, as well as making changes to the front end to adapt to the speed of changing customer technology. Rolling out updates to parts of the system therefore becomes an easy task (with a record time of 11.7 seconds according to Core dna)
- Seamless Marketing: Headless commerce propels the growth of marketing with fast creation of multiple websites across different brands, portfolios and divisions. Tasks that would have required weeks can be accomplished within days.
- Optimal Customer Experience: Headless commerce paves the way for a consistent customer experience across all devices.
- Faster Website: With the help of APIs to distribute content located in the cloud, headless commerce drastically increases the page load speed for an exceptional customer experience.
- Seamless Integrations: Headless commerce is built on APIs which makes it effortless to integrate and communicate with multiple platforms. Therefore, one can add their brands to any device and expand their customer base within hours.
- Better Conversion Optimisation: Optimisation and customisation becomes simple and easy to execute with headless commerce such as experimenting with different backend search solutions while running the same frontend search option.
While there is much more about headless commerce, here were seven powerful reasons to learn, experiment and try out headless commerce.