Over the past couple years, you may have noticed that you’re seeing the term “headless commerce” pop up more and more. As it has become more and more of a buzzword, you might start to wonder if this configuration is something you should be looking into to see if it makes sense for your own business.
But, chances are, headless commerce can be an unfamiliar concept to a lot of folks. Maybe you’ve heard of it, but still struggle to completely comprehend what headless commerce is beyond the buzzworthy term some folks like to throw around. Thankfully, like a lot of other seemingly complicated techno stuff, it’s really quite simple. Headless commerce is simply the separation of the front and back end of an ecommerce site or app.
This separation gives you the ability to create a unique, content-based site, enjoyable customer experiences, and a straightforward checkout process. With headless commerce, you aren’t confined to one system—no matter how “customizable”—where you’re only able to deliver to customers via a website or app. This flexibility, and the ability to piece together different components lets you tailor your system to be exactly what you need for your specific use. It also opens up virtually endless possibilities on where you can deliver your content to potential customers.
How does it work?
Traditional CMS systems like Squarespace and Magento, are integrated and coupled so that while you are allowed some freedoms with themes and other customization features, the frontend is still tightly tethered to the backend. This can make a closed system very user-friendly and easy for those who don’t want to have to learn any code to launch a website or online store. It can also be less expensive and much more streamlined while being easier to maintain.
Traditional ecommerce solutions are generally ideal for smaller businesses that are looking to get their products on their website and aren’t focused or seeking to offer their goods via multiple different channels. Unfortunately, these solutions can tie the hands of developers and larger companies, making their efforts to scale their ecommerce delivery extremely difficult, more time consuming, and more expensive.
Rather than being one integrated system, headless commerce is comprised of multiple systems—such as databases, inventory management, payment processing, and CRMs. Developers then use application programming interfaces (APIs) to pull information from these various components to a much broader number of frontend systems. This gives you the ability to utilize your existing backend databases and systems to quickly grow and expand to deliver that content not just on your website or app, but essentially anywhere such as wearables, vehicles, social media networks, kiosks, in-store experiences, and IoT gadgets.
With headless commerce, your business can continue to use powerful backend platforms, like BigCommerce, while not disturbing anything on the frontend. You can choose the frontend solutions that best support your business and marketing strategies, plug in commerce functionality to additional channels, and provide new experiences for shoppers, quickly and easily.
Why should you consider headless commerce?
Customer expectations continue to rise and they no longer want to be sold to via traditional ads. With the ever-changing world of tech, it can be exhausting and frustrating trying to keep up with the constantly evolving ecommerce world that seems to be building around content more and more. Thanks to the adaptability headless commerce offers, it can be an excellent tool to help you build a content-led online store easily and affordably.
With content-led commerce becoming a key to online success, 70% of marketers are now actively investing in content marketing. Rather than focusing on showy visuals and snazzy ads, innovative marketers are concentrating on improving the customer experience. An easier checkout process, customized user experience, and user-generated content are effective ways to increase your customer’s overall experience with your brand while helping to ensure a bigger chunk of them are more likely to become repeat customers.
5 ways headless commerce makes doing all this possible:
Fluid, interconnected technologies that create fast websites.
How quickly your site loads is incredibly important to visitors and potential customers, and can make or break its success. Studies have found that if your site takes longer than just three seconds to load, you’ll lose over half of mobile users. To make matters worse, Google takes page load time into consideration in determining where your site falls in its search engine ranking.
Utilizing API calls to retrieve information and content that is cached lets your content load much faster, regardless of what channel or device the customer is using. Even better, it can do so while also handling more traffic.
Flexibility for developers.
Because the frontend and the backend are decoupled, headless commerce gives you, and your developer, considerably more freedom in choosing whatever frontend experience works best for your company. Rather than using a cookie-cutter approach, you can tailor the user experience to whatever works best for your particular customers’ needs regardless of the delivery channel. You are also better able to personalize the experience to each user and react quicker to ever-evolving customer behavior.
Get to market quicker.
If you’re currently using a more traditional, closed system and you want to start marketing and selling on a new channel, it’s likely that you’ll have to research, choose, and learn another system to do so. With the flexibility and component-based framework of headless commerce, however, expanding into those new markets and channels only requires add-ons to your existing system.
Higher conversion rates and lower customer acquisition costs.
Acquiring customers can be expensive and is only getting more so (which is why it’s so damn important to retain them!). Headless commerce can help you reduce those acquisition costs by increasing conversions with personalized experiences and helping you to determine and develop the content potential customers are looking for.
Independent functionality architecture.
Because you build a headless commerce system by piecing together separate, independent systems that are each only responsible for a small, defined number of functions, you reduce the chances of having issues with the overall system. This “segmented” approach lets you identify which application or process is acting up and quickly hone in on it and fix it, rather than have a problem that results in a systemwide complication.
Utilizing this style of structure also helps to improve the security of your overall system. If an unauthorized breach results in damage to customer records or payment processing, the setback remains in that system. Problems in one system are far less likely to cause harm throughout the entire system like it could in a traditional, coupled commerce solution.
A headless commerce setup can be an excellent solution if you’re looking to deliver an excellent customer experience, more content, and sell more products across a diverse number of channels. (You want to sell more? Be wherever your customers are!) Like most decisions, however, it’s applicability to your business depends solely on your goals and how your business works. But, if you sell products online, and are looking to reach more customers, or expand your reach to those potential customers now or in the future, you should look at headless commerce solutions to decide if it’s something that would work for you and your business.