In a nutshell, with headless commerce platforms, the front end (or the “head”), which is the presentation layer that your customer sees when they’re interacting with your store, has been decoupled from the backend business logic layer (that the customer never sees).
The rapid evolution of the digital landscape has put the customer in the driver’s seat, as more and more consumers expect a seamless experience, being able to consume content and purchase easily wherever and whenever, through any device or channel. Enhancing the customer experience through the integration of content and commerce has become critical, however, difficult to achieve with traditional, legacy eCommerce platforms.
Building an online store used to mean either the eCommerce platform handled everything from content to storefront, or using your content platform and plugging in eCommerce functionality and hoping it would do everything you need it to.
Unfortunately, both of these approaches meant asking one system to handle two very different functions. Typically, the system would handle one part really well with the second being a challenge.
Marketing teams using an eCommerce platform to manage content and their storefront design will quickly discover that designs are restrictive, and content functionality is limited. On the flip side, teams who elect to use an eCommerce plugin on top of their existing content management system (CMS) will learn that the plugin is seriously lacking in capability, functionality and requires additional plugins for even the most basic of tools.
At the end of the day, both options are asking a system to do something it wasn’t designed to do.
Headless commerce takes the opposite approach - the priority focused on finding the systems that are the best fit for your business needs, not making compromises, and setting your digital teams up for success. Modern, cloud-native, API first headless systems make it possible for marketers to take control of their content and apply it to multiple channels and front ends.
Despite its mysterious name, headless commerce is actually a pretty straightforward concept - it basically means the decoupling of the frontend, or presentation layer, from the backend of an eCommerce solution, allowing each one to function independently.
With headless commerce earning so much attention recently, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the historical trends and changing customer expectations that brought us to this point.
Headless commerce is flexible by nature, but some companies are more suited for it than others. In this chapter, we review a few characteristics that may determine whether or not a headless option is right for your business.
Learn about the more technical aspects of headless commerce architecture and how specific commerce elements perform.
There are three leading headless commerce frameworks and each provides a distinct set of advantages depending on your technical capabilities and future growth plans.
You might think of headless commerce solely in terms of pushing more products, but these are only the beginning of the benefits you’ll find from a headless integration—even if you aren’t using it to sell directly.
The ability of headless commerce to quickly adapt to new technologies and enable businesses to roll out innovative customer experiences provides a huge advantage in highly competitive markets.
Not all headless commerce platforms are made equal. Choosing a headless commerce platform is an investment in the future. Consider your business needs now and what you think you’ll need as you scale before evaluating the benefits of each headless approach.
The two major considerations in the final stages of headless commerce implementation are the scope of your project and the partner you choose to navigate the process with.
Still have questions or concerns? Check out our FAQ page for everything you need to know about headless commerce.