Headless Open Source CMS for eCommerce
Quality content is key to winning customers and boosting brand engagement, but in the fast-moving world of eCommerce, traditional, website-based content management systems aren't up to the task. Now, headless content management systems are giving online enterprises the tools to share content across all channels for greater visibility in a competitive global market. Today's best headless CMSs are easy to implement, endlessly scalable, and far more flexible than traditional website-based systems — and they're all open source.
What Is a Headless CMS?
A content management system contains all the tools needed to create, store, and manage all the text, images, and other content that appears on a website. Traditionally, these systems are structured with a "head" — the place where the content appears, such as the client-facing side of the website — and a "body" on the backend, where it's created and contained.
In this kind of system, though, there's only one context for presenting content: the webpage. Content is shared across other channels largely by linking back to that webpage — and in order to appear directly on other channels or devices, the content usually needs to be modified. It can take time and resources to manage content in this way.
Headless CMSs provide a solution that saves time and money and puts content before its audience on every channel a company uses to enhance its visibility. In a headless CMS, the "head" that displays content is separate from the "body," where all content-related data is stored. That makes it possible to display content in its original form across a variety of channels through application programming interfaces, or APIs.
Because a headless CMS is run through APIs, it offers considerable flexibility for web developers, who are free to choose any language they want for front-end development. These systems are entirely decoupled from a site's front-end presentation layer, which makes it possible to share a website's content in its original form across all the channels a company uses to establish its brand.
Headless CMSs are also called Content as a Service, or CaaS systems — cloud-based platforms where content isn't limited to a presence on a single webpage. In CaaS solutions, the frontend and backend are entirely separate, and content becomes available to any device or platform in its entirety. That can lead to better overall website architecture since developers can integrate several quality solutions for performance, security, and appearance.
The benefits of headless CMSs for eCommerce span the entire spectrum of functionality, from creating and storing original content to sharing it across multiple channels and updating it quickly at any point. Along with its flexible, omnichannel architecture, a headless CMS is economical since it's relatively easy to learn and use. Headless CMSs are also scalable so that companies can begin with smaller solutions and expand as their needs evolve. In a cloud environment, multiple hosting options can accommodate every stage of a company's growth. Of course, you can also host your CMS system securely on-premise and enjoy full control.
Why Open Source?
Many of the top headless CMSs available today are at least partly licensed as open-source software, which means the source code is available for public use. Under open-source licensing, any user has the right not only to use the software but also to modify it for any purpose and distribute it to anyone.
Open-source software usually requires no licensing fees or other ongoing costs, and users own the code for as long as they wish. That makes it easy to customize a headless open source CMS in a multitude of ways to meet the unique needs of any user.
Open-Source Headless CMS Systems
Today the best headless CMSs are also available under open source licensing - at least their cores. Keep in mind that if you want to take advantage of advanced features, you may have to switch to the paid version. Anyway, here's a look at five of the top enterprise open-source headless CMSs for eCommerce.
Magnolia is a full-service, headless CMS that allows users to access all content from a single place and reuse it multiple times for deployment across all websites and channels. Magnolia integrates with all leading eCommerce platforms to automate workflows, track the performance of products and campaigns, and connect with other digital tools to give customers a personalized shopping experience on every channel.
DotCMS is a unique hybrid CMS that combines features of headless and traditional CMS systems. On dotCMS Cloud, users can manage hundreds or thousands of sites and channels from a centralized platform, along with the content creation and visual editing features of a traditional CMS. With its API-first architecture, dotCMS integrates easily with various third-party eCommerce tools to create a personalized shopping experience across all channels and sites.
CoreDNA combines content management with full eCommerce support. Users can manage an entire eCommerce business with multiple stores from a single dashboard, with tools for creating custom shipping companies, setting promotional pricing, tracking statistics, and more. CoreDNA's centralized store management allows users to customize catalogs and create targeted campaigns for a personalized shopping experience.
Bloomreach is a headless CMS built for eCommerce that allows users to build personalized eCommerce experiences across multiple platforms and channels. Its customizable eCommerce platform integrates with leading eCommerce tools and services and centralizes all aspects of the customer interface for personalized content, product, and shopping experience.
Typo3 is a headless enterprise CMS that offers the flexibility and customization of open-source software. Users can manage an unlimited number of websites in various content languages in a single installation and integrate digital marketing tools from a variety of platforms to deliver a customized, content-rich experience across multiple channels.
Headless, open-source CMS systems give eCommerce enterprises the flexibility, scalability, and security to move forward in a new, digitally-driven marketplace. With tools for managing eCommerce content and multiple stores across many different channels, these systems help online businesses share their brands' stories and create a personalized experience at every stage of the customer journey.