A Complete Guide to Headless eCommerce


Kiran Bajpai

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Technology is fast advancing, and it has led to customers making purchases and consuming content through various touchpoints.

It has evolved from basic mobile apps and web-based applications to IoT devices, kiosk screens, and everything in between.

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With the rising expectations of customers, legacy or traditional eCommerce is finding it hard to keep up with their demands.

Let’s talk about it in detail.

Ecommerce merchants now need to rethink their strategy in order to keep a competitive edge and stay profitable in the long run. This has led to the emergence of a headless eCommerce trend for flawless and personalized digital delivery across all touchpoints.

What Is Headless eCommerce?

Headless eCommerce is the eCommerce solution where the frontend presentation layer is decoupled from the backend eCommerce functionality.

The presentation layer, which is generally a CMS-powered theme or template that stores all the files, content, inventory, and folders, is separated from the functional layer. It can be changed or updated individually without interfering with the backend.

A headless eCommerce architecture focuses on background processes and utilizes APIs to pull and push the data to separate frontend applications. Thus, it gives developers more flexibility to create a unique experience for visitors.

They can build and customize the frontend experiences of their commerce platform as per their choice.

In short, the frontend and backend are not connected and, instead, communicate with each other via simple API calls.

Also, Read: 11 Best eCommerce Marketing Strategies to Peak Sales in Holiday Season

Traditional eCommerce vs. Headless eCommerce

If you are still feeling confused, don’t worry.

Here’s a comparison between traditional and headless eCommerce that will clear all your doubts.

I. Flexibility and Adaptability

The frontend solution is tightly coupled with the backend coding in case of a traditional solution. In other words, everything is packaged together.

Thus, it leaves hardly any room to achieve any amount of customizations. While some elements can still be modified or tweaked, it often comes at the cost of time and effort.

It is a very time-consuming process, and there are possibilities that it might lead to breaks when a critical code is altered.

However, the same is not the case with headless eCommerce. Since in headless eCommerce, backend and front are not connected, it allows developers to easily customize the platform whenever required. It doesn’t create much of a fuss.

You would just need a frontend developer to make changes — whether big or small.

II. Speed-to-Market

Another difference between the two is that of speed.

A decoupled architecture frame for the eCommerce platform enables developers to make rapid changes without any inconvenience. In fact, it allows content creators and developers to work side-by-side without disturbing the other.

Headless eCommerce functions via API calls, which ultimately saves time and effort for the developer. It allows you to easily install new things or maintain full-stack software.

Whereas, in the case of traditional solutions, it can take a considerable amount of time to edit the code, the database, and the frontend platform as well. Furthermore, they are restricted to what can be updated or edited without the risk of preventing any future updates or voiding a warranty.

Now that you know the difference between traditional and headless eCommerce, let’s look at why you need to adapt a headless solution.

Also, Read: 3 Unmissable Social Media Marketing Strategy for eCommerce Store

Why Do You Need Headless eCommerce Solution

As a retailer, if you want to avoid the frustration associated with a traditional commerce platform, you need to adopt the headless eCommerce solution.

Here are a few benefits that you should know.

1. To Easily Deliver Your Content on Various Channel

The most significant advantage of a headless eCommerce platform is that you can deliver your content anywhere and everywhere. It could be your product or product videos or blog posts across channels like digital signage, progressive web apps, Alexa Skills, and refrigerators with screens.

Furthermore, it includes channels that might emerge in the future.In short, headless eCommerce allows you to truly go omnichannel without any pain.

2. For Agile Marketing

Technology is constantly getting upgraded. If you want to stay in the game, it depends on how quickly you can adapt to the new environment.

A headless eCommerce platform may be a new technology in itself. But the good thing is that it is well-equipped to support any new technology as and when it arises.

This enables you to roll out new customer experiences. Besides, the flexibility of the headless eCommerce allows you to set up a new site or launch a new campaign in just a few days instead of months.

3. To Have a Competitive Edge

In today’s time, customers want a personalized and seamless experience on the digital platform.

What you need is an eCommerce platform where you can easily roll out all updates without disrupting your backend system and in no time.

A traditional platform usually takes a few weeks to roll out any updates. But you would be surprised to know that Amazon deploys updates on average every 11.7 seconds.

In the case of headless eCommerce, the frontend is not tied to the backend. And thus, it enables you to easily install all updates without affecting the entire system. You can promptly deliver what your customers want and stay a step ahead of your competitors.

4. For Seamless Integration

A headless eCommerce platform allows you to seamlessly integrate with any third-party applications you want.

In a headless eCommerce solution, the frontend and backend system communicate via API calls. Thus, the backend can be integrated with any other platforms via API.

It gives you opportunities to expand your presence and reach out to a wider audience at the same time.

Besides, it doesn’t take much time to connect your commerce platform to a new system.

5. For Better Conversion Optimization

A headless eCommerce platform results in a high conversion rate.

With its ability to quickly test and adapt to change, it enables you to optimize your cycle. By running a continuous test, you can understand your customers well, and thus, it helps improve your eCommerce business.

Closing Thoughts: The Future of eCommerce

Creating content and improving the overall digital experience is essential to reduce customer acquisition costs.

The business landscape is continually changing, and if you want to blend in, you need to be extremely agile and adaptable. And by far, a headless eCommerce solution can be the right platform.

It not only offers speed to market but also helps in achieving a lower total cost of ownership, while also providing greater security.

Whether you like it or not, the change is coming. And the sooner you are prepared, the better.

Kiran Bajpai is Marketing Associate at SoftwareSuggest. Her expertise lies in Software Analysis. She can never get bored of reading books, especially those related to History and Politics.

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