How can you keep up in the fast-changing and highly competitive eCommerce environment, and what is headless ecommerce?!
In times of in-store interfaces, IoT, amazon dash buttons, and voice assistants, there are many new options to shop online, which is fantastic for the customers. But, this presents even more challenges for eCommerce businesses, which are already struggling with changing technologies, monolithic systems, countless new features, relaunches, conversion experiments, performance, usability, and the list goes on and on.
To stay successful, your customers expect an integrated, flawless, and personalized shopping experience across many channels and touchpoints. There are continually popping up new ways to shop online, so merchants continuously need to rethink their eCommerce strategy to stay competitive and profitable in the long-run.
All these challenges led to the rise of headless eCommerce!
What is headless eCommerce?
The term 'headless' actually refers to the software architecture that is capable of functioning without a graphical user interface. That means when the frontend of your online store is separated or 'decoupled' from its backend. In other words, the presentation-layer (Website, App, etc.) is separated from the commerce/functional layer.
The headless architecture leverages the power of modularity to serve store owners with more flexibility in delivering rich content and brand experiences across many channels while staying future-proof even if technologies change. With this approach, developers and optimizers gain more flexibility to adapt a tailored shopping experience, because the back- and frontends are not anymore tightly tied together.
In case you didn’t know, we released our very own opensource headless e-commerce foundation: VELOX
Headless vs. traditional eCommerce
Traditional eCommerce Systems
Its predefined design and database constrain a traditional website build because the business logic, infrastructure, and presentation layer are usually tightly connected. So, if your developers want to make changes, they not only have to edit the frontend but also the database and its code. Especially if several layers of code between the database and design have to be edited, it can get time-consuming very fast. In some cases, this can even break your platform's warranty, and upgrades can get a massive task to master.
There is always a tradeoff between eCommerce and CMS functionality. If you use an excellent eCommerce platform, it usually comes with limited CMS functionality, and if you use an excellent CMS, it usually lacks some important eCommerce features.
With a headless approach, you would be free to choose the best of breed solutions and connect them.
While headless software architecture is an API-first, modular, and decoupled solution. Data is pulled into the presentation layer via an API to design the frontend with maximum independence. Therefore, you can modify or add the frontend without knowing much about the backend logic. Also, you are free to easily connect your products to external systems like marketplaces, as this is just another way of presenting them.
For example, if you want to run conversion experiments or change the user experience in any way, you only need a frontend developer. This reduces the time to market but also makes the process a lot less complicated as they don't need to conform to an existing design or template restraint.
Of course, you need developers and designers for this to work out. Still, on the other hand, it gives you a lot more flexibility and freedom to tailor the customer experience to rising demands and changing technology landscapes. This massively benefits you in the long-term.
8 Benefits of headless eCommerce
- Seamless integration of CMS, Webshop, Backend (ERP, CRM), supplier- and vendor portals lead to a single entry point for customers and can be an alternative to portals.
- Single identity and single-sign-on can be implemented more quickly and are not restrained by systems that cannot communicate with each other.
- Decoupling of all components increases the flexibility and cost drastically to exchange specific systems in your software architecture. For example, future trends in the frontend area but also in the backend.
- Rapid experimentation and optimization processes are finally realizable in-time.
- Avoidance of redundancies and overheads caused by monolithic systems.
- Achieve the optimal performance of your site.
- Low infrastructure costs through cloud / cloud-native services that run on self-service hosting providers, eg. Amazon AWS. It is opposed to the high cost of local cloud services on big servers.
- Real scalability and horizontal scalability of many systems.
If you want to stay ahead of your competition, you should invest now into a headless eCommerce approach, especially if you are in the B2B market. With all the integrated systems tightly tied into a monolithic system, the technology landscape gets complex and slow-changing very quickly.
With a headless approach, you can modularize the critical parts and, therefore, stay future-proof of any changing systems or technologies, as well as easily integrate into marketplaces, supplier portals, voice assistants, and in-store interfaces, IoT devices and many more to come. Also, your eCommerce system will be faster, easier to maintain, optimize, and deliver a customized customer experience.
We're a huge fan of headless systems, therefore we developed VELOX, incorporating all these benefits into a code foundation for tailor-made ecommerce implementations.
Give us a call or drop us a line to find out how your business can benefit from a headless eCommerce implementation. Our experts boast more than 25 years of experience working with large scale eCommerce projects. The first consultation is always free. We are keen to bring your eCommerce business to the next level!