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.
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.