What is Headless Commerce?
Headless commerce describes the decoupling of the customer facing front end of your eCommerce experience, from the commerce functions and business logic in the backend system that powers your business. At the center of this decoupled architecture lies headless commerce APIs. These enable developers to deliver customer experiences to any screen or customer experience platform they desire. The headless commerce architecture is represented below.
What Are the Benefits of Headless Commerce to Your Team?
Headless Commerce provides a variety of benefits across various departments within your business. Explore the benefits of each role below.
Director of eCommerce
Create and offer seamless omnichannel shopping for better customer experiences
As a Director of digital, it is imperative that you are able to move fast in order to outpace the competition. By deploying a Headless Commerce architecture you will be able to easily launch new products lines, brands, and new touchpoints using one single solution.
eCommerce Merchandizer or Marketer
Design content rich experiences to cater to each customer’s personal needs
As an eCommerce Merchandizer or Marketer, you are committed to keeping your audience engaged with new content and features. By deploying a Headless Commerce architecture, you are granted with the flexibility to seamlessly personalize your shopper experiences with content rich pages and AI powered search and merchandizing that keep your customers coming back.
Support emerging technologies for the scale of your business
As an IT Executive, you want to ensure that you business' technology will continue to evolve and enhance as your business scales. By Adopting a Headless Commerce architecture, your team will be able to continuously iterate and add new technologies and applications with low technical debt and exuberant additional cost.
Reduce technical debt for your development team
As a Developer you'll ideally want to support the technical needs of your business as frictionless as possible. By working with a Headless Commerce Architecture, you'll be granted the freedom make as many changes to the backend as needed without ever interrupting the frontend. This will allow you to continuously innovate and spend less time on development, updates and maintenance.
Control your budget and reduce your overall total cost
As an executive keen on predicting and maintaining a reasonable budget, cost is always going to be one of the largest considerations for your eCommerce investment. By adopting a Headless Commerce architecture, you will reduce the overall technical debt of your solution, leading to an overall reduction of total cost.
Choosing the Right Headless eCommerce Platform
If you have decided that traditional commerce platforms no longer satisfy your business requirements and would like to migrate to a headless solution, it is important to pick the right headless solution for your business. Given the popularity of the “headless” approach for the flexibility it offers, it’s worth noting that some traditional eCommerce vendors offer a version of headless that we identify as “Retrofitted Headless Solutions.” This should not be confused with truly headless microservices solutions.
Retrofitted headless solutions were designed to fix the problem of the coupled architecture in traditional platforms. To address the issue, they have modified their platform to remove (rip) the frontend experience from the already established platform. This is demonstrated in architecture diagram below labelled “Traditional Retrofitted for Headless.”
This change created design freedom and has provided the flexibility to developers to customize their user interface (UI) experiences. However, teams will still lack the freedom to change the rigid business processes of the platform.
A headless microservices solution was designed to be headless from the ground up and therefore is not attached to a rigid platform in the back end, but rather connected to a web of independent componentized services by APIs. This demonstrated in the architecture diagram labelled “Headless Microservices.”
It is only with a truly headless commerce solution that teams will be able to unlock both design freedom and business process freedom. Elastic Path solutions allows users to customize and deploy differentiated commerce experiences. There are two main solutions provided: the Commerce platform and Commerce Cloud platform. Feel free to get in touch with one of our experts if you have any questions or would like a demo of how we can transform your eCommerce website.
Why should you care about headless commerce?
Legacy enterprise-grade eCommerce platforms weren’t built for the way we purchase today. Be it B2B, B2C, the business model doesn’t matter. We’re all consumers and none of us categorize purchase experiences into various business models when we adjust our expectations. We carry those same expectations across every interaction we have when buying goods and services from anyone, anywhere.
We as consumers prioritize convenience first, experience second. We want to purchase anywhere, anytime, sometimes with little thought if any at all. The proliferation of customer touchpoints has made this a reality but, monolithic eCommerce solutions are still keeping organizations from realizing it.
This is why, as the pioneer of headless commerce, we created this market. We knew if we fundamentally redefined the commerce platform, we could offer what we knew organizations would need.
If you want to take a deeper dive into headless commerce, check out our FAQ section here.