10 Advantages of Headless eCommerce

A headless commerce architecture decouples the presentation layer of an eCommerce website from its back-end functionality.
You know we’re going to make a headless horseman of the apocalypse joke, right?

No, we’re not… So, a headless horseman walks into a bar and decided to start an eCommerce store.

Ok, headless eCommerce has nothing to do with our bad Halloween humor. It’s a modern way to build a digital experience platform to drive eCommerce conversions by delivering a seamless user experience on the front-end while allowing more agility on the back-end.

What’s Headless Commerce and How Does It Work?

A headless commerce architecture decouples the presentation layer of an eCommerce website from its back-end functionality.

The front-end and back-end operate independently and talk to each other through application programming interfaces (APIs). Developers can apply any frontend technology to create an online storefront that delivers the desired user experience and pair it with any eCommerce solution on the back-end to manage digital commerce functionalities.

Brands can make changes to the front-end user experience quickly. They can respond to changing market demands and customer expectations without affecting the back-end where the not-so-glamorous but important stuff lives — PCI compliance, security, fraud prevention, inventory management, and connections with ERPs, PIMs, OMS, POS, etc.

The flexibility gives brands more options when choosing an eCommerce platform. Such agility is particularly crucial for experienced- or content-focused retailers (e.g., lifestyle and/or direct-to-consumer brands) that rely heavily on the front-end user experience to drive eCommerce conversions.

What Are the Benefits of Headless eCommerce?

Headless commerce delivers many advantages in today’s fast-paced retail environment where consumers expect a knock-your-socks-off user experience that’s always fresh and relevant. Here are some of the main benefits:

1. Seamless Integration

The API-driven architecture makes it quick and simple to integrate headless commerce solutions with new and existing platforms (e.g., CMS, CRM, ERP, POS, etc.) Unlike individual plugins, which require frequent updates and security patches, API connections transfer data reliably among various systems. While the process isn’t “set it and forget it” (nothing is), it allows you to cut down on development and maintenance costs significantly.

2. Omnichannel eCommerce

73% of consumers use multiple channels to discover, research, and purchase goods. A headless commerce website makes it a breeze to pair your online store experience with other customer touchpoints. These include mobile apps, social media, user-generated content, the in-store experience, etc., so you can reach customers in the right place and at the right time to deliver a seamless shopping experience.

3. Conversion Optimization

A headless commerce structure offers limitless possibilities to optimize the front-end user experience to increase eCommerce conversions. You can easily test calls-to-action, page layouts, and personalized recommendations to see what works best. You can also integrate proximity marketing, IoT devices, loyalty programs, and more to take advantage of the latest conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies.

4. Cost Efficiency

Once you have set up the backend system, you don’t need to invest as much time and resources in updating content and maintaining the eCommerce website. Since team members with minimal technical skills can change the website content quickly and easily, you can streamline and consolidate workflows without compromising the ability to deliver a top-notch user experience to your customers.

5. Rapid Updates

With a headless commerce platform, marketing folks no longer need to go to the development team, take a number, and wait a week or two just to make a small tweak to the website or add content to support a campaign. You can respond to market changes nimbly, launch promotions quickly, and gain a competitive advantage while saving labor costs.

6. Increased Reliability

API integrations keep all the back-end systems working together while ensuring that changes made to the presentation layer won’t break the site’s critical functionalities. There are fewer concerns about downtime or glitches caused by plugins that don’t play nice with each other. Bottom line: you don’t need a huge development team to have a website with all the bells and whistles that work.

7. Reduced Downtime

Unlike traditional eCommerce platforms, a headless commerce architecture allows you to add new features without impacting the back-end system. You don’t need to schedule updates, which often come with outages, every few weeks. Essential upgrades related to functionality and security can be deployed instantly to avoid issues that will lead to downtime, impact the user experience, or even cause data breaches.

8. Enhanced Security

Admit it, keeping up with all the cybersecurity best practices and industry regulations is exhausting. A headless commerce model makes it much easier and less costly to keep your customer data safe. For example, there’ll be much less work for your IT team to ensure PCI compliance, checkout security, fraud prevention, and secure data transfer among your ERP, CRM, etc.

9. Improved Customer Experience

73% of consumers say that customer experience (CX) is a critical factor that impacts their purchasing decisions, and 43% are willing to pay more for a better CX. We may sound like a broken record, but a bespoke CX is critical in driving eCommerce conversions. A headless commerce platform gives you the agility to scale up personalization and deliver a seamless CX across all touchpoints without little added cost.

10. Employee Adoption

An eCommerce platform is only as powerful as how well your team can use it to implement sales and marketing strategies. The simplicity of a headless eCommerce website eliminates the gnarly learning curve, so it’s easy for anyone to jump right in and become productive. You can boost your ROI and take full advantage of the technology when more team members can use the platform (without tears.)

Ready To Build a Headless eCommerce Site?

To reap the benefits of headless eCommerce, you need to address more than the technical side of things. The decoupling of the front-end and back-end gives you the perfect opportunity to design an optimal customer experience without being hampered by technical constraints. Map out how you want shoppers to experience your brand and then choose the right software and systems to support your goals.

For example, consider how you can design the presentation layer to support a seamless CX across all touchpoints. The process may involve integrating the eCommerce website experience with your mobile app’s product strategy and audience and revenue approach to drive conversions.

Involve key partners early on in your design and development process to ensure that you’re blending content and commerce into an impactful user experience. Ready to kick around some ideas? Get in touch to see how we can help you dive headfirst into headless without feeling like a chicken with its head cut off.


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