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Headless Commerce: Flexibility, Efficiency, and Adaptability

By: Nigel Ewart|LinkedIn Profile

Headless Commerce

Last year, more than 73% of Australian households shopped online, but those consumers aren’t browsing on websites alone.

130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts each month. Monthly social shopping on Facebook’s marketplace totals 800 million people from 70 countries.

Don’t forget the customers who buy products using smart speaker services. Smart speaker adoption in Australian reached 29% of the adult population in late 2018.

Do you want to reach consumers across changing buying channels? It’s time to consider headless commerce.

Keep reading to improve your company’s digital retail operations.

What is Headless Commerce?

Headless commerce separates the front-end and back-end of a commerce platform. You won’t need to reconfigure the back to update the front and vice versa.

It gives the backend product catalog to the developers. They can build touchpoints for products and services in any framework without the site template stifling them.

Back-end developers can create application programming interfaces for any type of device. They aren’t constrained by a traditional eCommerce platform.

Front-end developers are independent, too. They can change the product catalog and checkout pages without limitations.

That’s an ideal situation when your marketing team wants to launch a new campaign. It’s also good when the eCommerce team needs to customise a checkout flow.

Traditional Versus Headless Commerce

Traditional platforms decide the customer and business experience without much room for personalisation.

Headless commerce gives the consumer and business more control. Each one can manage their user experience.

When you remove the front-end of the platform from the back-end, it sets developers free. They can create a flexible experience to fit the needs of the customer or business.

Improve Customer Experience

When eCommerce began, most people used a desktop to shop. The solutions developed at the start of eCommerce were full-stack.

Full-stack was an all-inclusive solution that coupled the front-end and back-end. Any change affected both systems.

A small edit could create a domino effect that forces changes to code, the front-end platform, and the database.

When mobile traffic became a major player, it was hard for full-stack solutions to adapt.

Reach Consumers Where They Buy

Headless commerce makes it possible for consumers to shop wherever they are. They can buy in-store, online, in an app, on a smartphone, or another device.

Integrate Existing Content

Every business wants to take part in eCommerce. Most companies already have extensive content on an existing website.

The goal is to integrate current information into a commerce engine. No one wants to start from scratch and migrate old content into it.

Benefits of Headless Commerce

Headless commerce lets the front-end presentations build what they want. You can create a specific experience for users and admins.

A traditional eCommerce platform is often inflexible. Headless solutions let businesses enjoy many kinds of functionality on a single website. For example, a blog coexists with an eCommerce shop.

Content Management Systems (CMS) are more flexible than traditional eCommerce platforms. Separating the front-end gives businesses a way to create custom solutions.

Personalisation

You can personalise content based on demographics. Use the data to inform and motivate customers on your website. Show them specific products, images, and details based on their interests.

Since front- and back-end systems are separate, you can experiment with design ideas. Changes won’t slow down the website.

Marketing can change a back-end function without interrupting the front-end operations.

Speed

Decoupling your site architecture lets you make quick changes without disturbing other systems. You can change the front-end without any effect on the back-end.

This makes your business agile. You can make an update on the customer-facing side without changing the entire system. The front-end system talks to the application layer via APIs.

The system caches all your catalog and static content requests. The content loads faster and the system can support more traffic.

Flexible

Headless lets you make changes to the content layer without disrupting the back-end. Your marketing team can launch a new promotion without reconfiguring the entire system.

A front-end developer can make the modifications you want. You can run a promotion at any time without waiting for the IT department.

Custom

A headless architecture lets you integrate with other systems without having to buy a package deal. Instead, you identify and install the integrations that make sense for your company.

Although the front and back-end are separate, it’s possible to customise both at once.

Choosing a headless system lets your company experiment, personalise, and integrate.

Compatible Platforms

Headless commerce requires an eCommerce platform and a front-end Content Management System (CMS).  This rules out your standard Shopify plan, however Magento 2 and Shopify Plus provide the flexibly to support headless commerce.

Blog content on a platform like WordPress can also co-exists with eCommerce data.

Important Considerations

Once you decide on headless commerce consider the following:

  1. Pick the right eCommerce solution, either Magento 2, WordPress or Shopify Plus
  2. Organise and update eCommerce product listings and product data. Write every description with the consumer in mind and add attributes that will assist in all commerce environments.
  3. Build a secure checkout experience. Your customers must feel safe while shopping on your site. A secure site builds trust in your brand.
  4. Make checkout easy and efficient. An awkward cart and checkout can lose a sale.

Examples of Headless Commerce

One of the most recognisable examples of headless commerce is Amazon. Alexa voice commands and Amazon Dash buttons let consumers buy in non-traditional ways.

It’s easy to integrate an eCommerce platform into an existing CMS. An important aspect of any platform is the ability for customers to write reviews. Online shoppers read reviews before buying.

Ready to Invest in a Headless Commerce Solution?

Consumers buy from brands 24/7 across all channels. One of the best ways to connect and engage with customers is with headless commerce.

A headless solution means your backend knows what a consumer bought. You can use the data to personalise engines on CMS platforms, social channels, and mobile apps.

If you’re ready to update faster than your competition, contact us. We’ll help your business stay competitive, flexible, and efficient!