What is Headless eCommerce? Advantages and Disadvantages of the New Store Architecture
Due to the rapid development of the eCommerce industry, you need to be flexible and ready to adapt to new market trends. In order to avoid the problem of frequent modifications in the future, it is worth considering a completely new approach to creating eCommerce sites, i.e. headless eCommerce.
In today's article, we'll take a closer look at following topics:
- What is headless eCommerce and how it works?
- How headless eCommerce optimizes the customer experience (CX)
- Benefits of headless eCommerce
- Is headless eCommerce right for your business?
- Pros and cons of headless eCommerce
Headless eCommerce – what do you need to know?
Simply put, headless eCommerce is an IT architecture in which the front-end layer of an online store's website is separated from the back-end and database.
Traditional eCommerce platforms consist of three essential parts:
- Front-end - the layer in which all information and graphics with which users interact are displayed. In other words - everything that the user sees on the website.
- Back-end - that is the part of the website that is responsible for the operation of the entire portal. This is where processed data is collected, thanks to which you can manage the store.
- Baza danych - all information about products is stored here (description, price, product photos, etc.).
All of these layers can be managed from the same dashboard and platform, but they do not need to.
Headless eCommerce is a solution in which through the "head" of the store we understand the template and the visual frontend of the store. .
In this case, it has been separated (headless), leaving the system alone for handling product data and customer orders.
This strategy provides more freedom in designing the front-end of the website, using any CMS system (WordPress, Drupal, etc.). The front-end can be easily connected to the eCommerce back-end, such as: Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce..
Is headless eCommerce conducive to improving user experience (UX)?
By removing the predefined front-end platform, headless eCommerce enables developers to create a user experience that corresponds well with their business needs.
Developers can use APIs to embed items such as products, blog posts or customer reviews on the page without worrying about the device on which the data will be displayed.
Frontend developers, on the other hand, can focus exclusively on improving the presentation of this content using any CMS they prefer. By using the headless eCommerce approach, developers of the store's visual side can enjoy much more freedom.
Headless eCommerce architecture has been gaining popularity in recent years.
This is especially true of larger online stores with greater development budgets and development teams working to improve the site.
The data shows that up to 61% of owners of larger eCommerce platforms claim they plan to take advantage of some headless trading solutions this year.
Is headless eCommerce different from selling on the Internet?
Front-end developers who work in the traditional system of designing the store's website interface may face many limitations when it comes to the process of designing the graphic and functional side of the store.
With frequently implemented changes, each modification consumes a lot of time. You have to remember to adapt the front-end to the back-end and the database responsible for its operation.
Traditional eCommerce platforms can therefore limit the potential development of the store and make it difficult to reconstruct it in order to improve the customer experience (CX).
Thanks to headless platforms, programmers can design store functionalities with a clear focus on the individual needs of customers of a given website.
Advantages and disadvantages of headless eCommerce
Keep in mind that the headless trading solution will not work well in all cases.
It is a strategy that requires greater financial resources and employees specialized in programming and building web applications.
Although headless eCommerce offers many advantages, its introduction should be preceded by the creation of a sensible strategic plan.
Salesforce has identified several important advantages of a headless approach to building an online store website:
Advantages of headless eCommerce
1. Fast changes and better optimization
Companies using a headless strategy can publish changes to the store interface much faster.
2. Better integration of new team members
Since the graphic and functional part of the store's website are separated from the back-end and the architecture is based on the API interface, it becomes much easier to access and edit the front-end even by new and less experienced team members.
3. Streamlining customer experiences and a more extensive interface
Brands that use headless eCommerce are able to modify the store's interface much more widely, which allows for experiments and non-standard solutions.
This means that the company will be able to easily follow the latest trends in the eCommerce market and keep up with the competition.
Moreover, the increased compatibility of headless trading ensures the website runs seamlessly on all devices and display formats.
4. Time savings for the IT team
Due to the possibility of introducing faster changes to the front-end of the store using the headless eCommerce strategy, developers can save a lot of time on introducing changes to the interface.
The headless eCommerce strategy carries several significant drawbacks that the investor should take into account before implementing it in his online store.
Disadvantages of headless eCommerce
1. Necessary experience and technical skills
A headless eCommerce strategy requires a lot of programming skills when it comes to website development and CMS platforms.
2. More resources
Conducting sales activity on the web based on the headless strategy means that you do not have a ready-made website template and that the entire functional part should be built from scratch.
This is a demanding task intended for more than one person and certainly more resources will be needed to manage such a system.
3. It is more difficult to add new products
The headless eCommerce strategy may also be associated with the problem of the inability to preview newly added products live and introduce changes to the store interface.
4. Multiple endpoints
A system based on this strategy may have many so-called endpoints, i.e. points where the configured API on the basis of which the entire store operates, interacts with other elements of the store. It may result in increased development costs in the future.
Is headless eCommerce a good solution for your store?
The greatest advantage of the headless approach is the easy possibility of developing and introducing solutions that improve sales.
This does not mean, however, that smaller online stores that use standard architecture cannot use various tools to boost sales.
There are many third-party eCommerce solutions, such as Recostream, that can work with both advanced headless stores and simple stores built on a proven platform.
Regardless of the architecture and principles of operation, each store can use it, increasing its personalization and improving conversion rates.
The headless eCommerce strategy is an extremely powerful tool that gives the online store owner a number of unique advantages and opportunities. However, this is not a solution for everyone.
If you lack extensive experience in the IT industry, a large customer base or stable income, it is probably a better solution to stick to universal solutions offered by eCommerce platforms such as Shopify or WooCommerce.