The future of eCommerce is headless. Headless commerce is already becoming mainstream thanks to the increase in eCommerce during the pandemic. According to Ryan Singerline at Ryder, eCommerce sales increased by 77 percent in 2020.
With more people online shopping than ever before and with generation Z now making up almost 40 percent of the market, eCommerce has to be flexible and able to support more users and platforms.
Businesses that expect their customers to browse, search, shop and purchase the same way that they did only a few years ago will quickly fall behind. You may be able to make some assumptions about what customers expect in regards to eCommerce, but will your eCommerce platform allow you to continue to tweak and adjust your strategy without replatforming?
Headless commerce is the decoupling of the frontend of your website from the backend applications. Separating the two allows users to create unique front ends and storefronts that generate transactions from any device imaginable. In fact, this is how headless architecture gets its name—the backend code is no longer connected to the “head” or presentation layer of the website.
By going headless, you’re future-proofing your business, supporting eCommerce on any device or channel that happens to be trending at the time. And by not being locked into one single platform with rigid layout, design, and template restrictions, you eliminate the risk of being trapped on outdated software and quickly falling behind your competitors.
In the long run, headless architecture will make your website more fluid and faster, with more ability to adapt to changing technology and future trends.
Headless commerce has many advantages over traditional full-stack architecture. When you cut off your website’s head from your store, you’re no longer tethering your CMS to an eCommerce platform. As eCommerce managers and marketing professionals know, these two systems don’t always sync together easily.
Many companies spend a lot of time and money on developer workarounds, backend integrations, and countless CMS plugins to get the eCommerce platform to function properly. Of course, all these plugins and extensions can slow down site speed and loading times and make online shopping experiences clunky, undermining conversions.
With headless architecture, however, you get the best of both worlds. Separating your website’s cogs and gears from its presentation layer means that the interconnected processes which govern traditional, full-stack architecture aren’t restricted by one another.
This strategy provides a number of advantages over traditionally-built systems.
With headless architecture, you can keep up with consumer demand and release new updates without having to deploy your entire eCommerce platform again and again. This will make your site performance more seamless, efficient, and faster.
Headless storefronts create dramatic improvements to your site speeds with no technical changes to subscriptions, checkout, or payments. Consumers will notice faster downloads, quicker page loads, and less time spent at your check out, all of which can equate to better search engine results, more conversions for your company, and better
SEO specialist Neil Patel says that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Google’s Page Rank relies on page loading time for higher scores, so these faster speeds will improve your SEO.
Decoupled systems are, by nature, open and flexible. You’ll have more control over what content you present, site design, templates, and the types of new promotions you make use of.
Flexibility doesn’t just cover the layout and design options, robust APIs allow for flexible architecture with all of your existing systems. Your developers can swap out the pieces of your eCommerce stack effortlessly, make rapid changes, and innovate quickly without altering your entire eCommerce platform.
A headless commerce solution like Slatwall eCommerce provides a single-tenant SaaS environment (Software as a Service, also known as a cloud-application service) with an auto-updating core infrastructure. That means your company will have no more servers to maintain and tighter security.
While no system is 100 percent secure, a single tenant SaaS platform ensures that each customer’s data is completely separate from one another, preventing any chance that one customer will accidentally access another’s data—something which can happen in a multi-tenant SaaS environment.
Built on top of robust cloud architecture, headless architecture allows you to manage your content from a single-source path. Think about how tricky it is to scale on demand. Short-term promotions like Flash Sales need to be launched quickly, nevermind more involved, long-term scaling.
As stores grow and mature over time, managers will need to consider whether their platform is scaling up to accommodate this growth.
Cloud delivery networks can balance traffic through your system and high-performance cloud-based hosting services can be leveraged for dynamic scaling to handle your growth. When traffic and activity demand additional capacity, your environment will scale in seconds to meet your needs.
By creating a more consistent customer experience with more personalized suggestions across different platforms and touchpoints, headless architecture improves your customer experience. Your marketing team will love being able to change the assets that get released to consumers.
Of course, to build a really successful personalization campaign, you need access to timely data from across the eCommerce platform. Think about your orders, accounts, and product information. All of this requires data access through a full coverage API. Create this seamless connection and you’ll start to see why companies never go back after a headless implementation.
More customization means everyone has more freedom, from your developers to your marketers and consumers.
Developers can create a beautifully branded, memorable shopping experience while keeping the existing backend architecture intact. Marketing teams will be able to create promotions, do merchandising, and connect to the eCommerce data for analysis much more easily and quicker than with a traditional CMS. And customers will be able to quickly make purchases no matter where they are.
On the other hand, a company with a traditional platform that needs to make significant changes in their product catalog or storefront will need to build an entirely new eCommerce platform from scratch, weaving together front and backend elements and redoing much of their content to fit within their new framework. But by removing the head, a company will need to build only the backend layer and then migrate existing assets into the separated interface.
Headless commerce doesn’t just expand customization. It gives your company more freedom to sell your products. And when you find a headless eCommerce option that suits your business, you can connect it with your favorite CMS to give your company an optimized experience on both the front and backends.
Since probably 2018, headless commerce has been trending, but the future is finally here. Singerline says, “What we’ve learned from the pandemic is companies no longer have time to wait when it comes to implementing eCommerce...solutions.”
If you’re a decision-maker in the eCommerce space, you need to understand how headless commerce can impact your company’s sales and future. Those new to headless commerce or looking for more information about how to get started should start by visiting our complete guide or by contacting us here.