Headless eCommerce! Most of us wouldn’t be aware of this new terminology. But in this blog, we shall discuss Headless eCommerce platforms, how Headless eCommerce has emerged, and various examples of brands that have adopted the concept of Headless eCommerce.
E-Commerce is a long-standing option that is no longer siloed. Everyone enjoys getting everything to their doorstep with the click of a few buttons. And this process is loved as it gets done faster. E-Commerce has become a part of the larger digital transformation and omnichannel experience for the global audience.
Research says that in 2021, global eCommerce clocked sales of almost 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. And this whooping sales number is projected to climb exponentially to 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025. The growth of eCommerce and online sales is due to the maximum usage of mobiles, iPads, tablets, and other IoT-connected devices to shop.
Today, brands that want to keep up with changing customer habits need a new approach to appease the growing demands of commerce. And Headless eCommerce is the perfect solution to help brands meet the growing demands without any glitches in the tech system.
What is Headless eCommerce?
Headless eCommerce is nothing but decoupling or separating the front end from the back end of the eCommerce application. It separates the “presentation view” from the backend commerce layer. This gives more flexibility to brands in serving rich Content and a rich user experience.
When we take the use case of heavy shopping sites of certain brands like H&M or Nike, this approach suits these brands in different ways. However, if you are already a long-standing eCommerce user, you know that keeping pace with emerging tech points and user experiences isn’t easy. The fact is that It’s a tedious task that keeps the tech team on their toes with multiple coffee breaks. And all of this is accelerated post COVID_19.
A significant attribute of Headless eCommerce is using APIs, experience managers, certain tools, and I.T. partners. These attributes are crucial to any brand’s functionality, experiences, and innovation strategy. These properties help brands stay ahead of customers’ demands and engage the customers more broadly and smartly.
Traditional Vs Headless Commerce
The front-end development has design constraints in a traditional commerce environment, as the platform is massive. It also takes time to edit the database and code.
Whereas in Headless eCommerce, with a simple API call, there are zero design constraints, and the front-end presentation is built from scratch.
Regarding personalization and customization, traditional commerce has limited flexibility in creating experiences for users and admins. It is more pre-defined. But in Headless eCommerce, personalization has complete flexibility as one can create their own experience for users and admins.
Regarding adaptability and flexibility for changes, the front end is tightly coupled with the back end in traditional commerce. As a result, there is little space for customization as the customer base and product categories increase.
Whereas in Headless eCommerce, as the front end is decoupled from the backend, there is more room for customization; however, there is a spike in the user base or product categories.
Headless CMS eCommerce
These days eCommerce is almost connected to every aspect of the business for marketing strategies or launching a product etc. When a brand sells a product online, an eCommerce component is attached to it. And brands that still haven’t made the eCommerce platform will embrace the change soon.
Post COVID-19, more and more users across the globe are using various devices such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, Ar/V.R. headsets, and countless other IoT devices to shop. To cope with the increasing number of devices or channels, brands have taken the Headless eCommerce approach for a seamless user experience.
The written word is extremely powerful.
Customers don’t want to be sold solely on traditional ads like before. So today, they are bombarded with online ads with attractive Content. In return, customers have started doing their research before buying any product online. And this is why Content is so important, as it helps build relationships and lets customers know about the wide shopping options available.
Content-driven eCommerce leads to a strong brand narrative to increase customer attention and conversion.
But did you know that managing the headless commerce experience comes with relying on CMS, Content Management System? The headless CMS eCommerce platform is responsible for delivering content to all channels.
The major role here is to choose the appropriate channel for the brand to deliver the Content at the right time that is best suited for the target audience. Improving the user experience isn’t sufficient. The experience needs to be omnichannel as well.
Hubspot’s 2020 Content Marketing Strategy research says that 70% of marketers invest in content marketing.
How to Differentiate Your Online Brand Store From Other Brands
If your competitor sells similar products to your brand, you have a competition to deal with. In such cases, Content is one way to differentiate your brand story to encourage customers to choose your products over other options.
Headless eCommerce Solutions Benefits
Switching to Headless eCommerce is worth the effort and can accelerate the big business time. The main benefit of headless commerce lies in for customers and employees where front-end updates can be made faster and easier, thus pleasing customers and increasing revenue.
The main benefits of Headless eCommerce are :
- A High Degree of Customization
In Headless eCommerce, when the front-end and backend are separated, there is endless customization possibility to design the online store. Headless eCommerce helps perform all the backend eCommerce functionality effectively while using the front-end solution like CMS, CRM, or any other custom solution.
The ability and the degree to combine the best solution for the front-end and back-end makes it convenient for the brand to customize the business website, which otherwise would not have been possible with traditional eCommerce platforms.
- Scalability Option
Every entrepreneur or business dreams of going big. With the use of APIs, the brand site can achieve scalability without needing to replace the backend. The need to build a new site from scratch option is also eliminated. One can integrate new features anytime when the site demands them without any hassle.
- Personalized eCommerce Experience
Headless eCommerce has helped win people’s hearts by customizing the shopping experience per their needs. This seamless and dynamic creation helps build long-term relationships with customers. Moreover, one can create an amazing storefront design without worrying about backend loading or performance issues.
- Going Omnichannel
Headless eCommerce has gone omnichannel, which is a multichannel approach to sales. Whether shopping online from a desktop, mobile device, tablet, or brick-and-mortar store provides the customer with a seamless shopping experience.
- Seamless Integrations
A brand site can get seamless integration opportunities and rich features for existing eCommerce from API-focused eCommerce. They help deliver an out-of-the-box shopping and real-time experience for the customers
- Adaptability by Employees
In certain organizations, the employees would be reluctant to use the new technologies introduced due to the challenges or the time it commands. In such a scenario, the Headless eCommerce development agency solves this issue. The modern eCommerce platform developed by the eCommerce development agency team makes the front-end and backend pretty easy without having to build any special skills by the rest of the team.
- Tools Adaption
To stand out from the traditional eCommerce platforms, Headless eCommerce gives brands the tools to build custom experiences that shoppers will not get anywhere else. Here APIs also play a critical role in ensuring coordinated, brand-consistent experiences such as promotions, ad campaigns, inventory management, product information, and much more.
- Saves Developers Time
With the implementation of Headless eCommerce, the developers can make changes to the front end with agile methodology and thus save time mouser interface changes regularly. Furthermore, Headless eCommerce also comes with some partner solutions, where the developers, only with the help of a few clicks or some light coding activity, can increase conversions.
- Ample & creative ways to promote
When brands implement Headless eCommerce into their business, the launch is quick. Catering to new requirements can easily be done at the backend with minimal expenses. And this is one of the major reasons why teams want to adapt to this new technology to improve the user experience on a larger scale.
In Conclusion, the adopters of Headless eCommerce are mostly the larger enterprises with larger development visions and I.T. teams.
We all know the investment and time in building the front and back end. We also know about the team’s long monthly queues and bugs and the excitement behind trying the new templates, designs, and Content on the front end. With all this, brands should quickly adapt and embrace innovation to speed up their business revenues and cash flow.
Time for Some Statistics
As the number of digital buyers is increasing worldwide, let’s see some statistics.
As per eCommerce worldwide research, in 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and during the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.
The country with the highest retail eCommerce CAGR is Brazil. The total e-commerce share of retail sales is estimated to be 24.5% by 2025.
Challenges of Headless E-commerce
Now that we know the undeniable benefits and where the world is heading in the future, let’s also look into the real-time challenges faced in Headless eCommerce, as the transition is not that easy. There are some concerns that the Headless eCommerce Development Agency should be aware of:
- High investment
Most headless platforms do not come with a front-end platform. This indicates that the cost of investing in a front end is also heavy. Generally, the front end is pay-per-use architecture. With the increase in integrations, the total investment cost also goes up.
- Other Complexities
Implementing and integrating headless eCommerce isn’t tough for big enterprises. Still, certain companies running on a small scale may find it challenging to manage separate systems rather than a single one in a traditional approach. To make the process easier, multiple vendors have to be dealt with; larger teams may need to be appointed to manage the different parts, thus making it easier for everyone to handle.
- Transitioning from traditional to Headless eCommerce
Now transitioning the entire setup may not be that easy. Depending upon the number of front-end experiences and backend integrations, it may be challenging and time-consuming. Therefore, careful time allocation should be made to set deadlines and timelines at the team and company levels. This will enable smooth transitioning without losing business.
Headless eCommerce Examples
ECommerce experience either partly or completely for a responsive and mobile-first experience. Headless eCommerce is coupled with ReactJS. Due to this, Headless Commerce sites can deliver a seamless and streamlined experience, giving users a smooth and non-disruptive flow across various platforms. Let’s see some brand examples that have adopted Headless.
Who hasn’t heard of Nike? The world’s most famous retailer of footwear. Yes, they have gone headless! Nike wanted a mobile-first approach to gain more sales through the mobile device. So they have adopted React SPA combined with Node.js BFF for mobile devices as the best step, and voila, they did it! They crossed the market share against Adidas.
2. Feel Unique
This brand is Europe’s best retailer of beauty products. While they had millions of visitors to their site, there was a need for the brand to drive the customer experience to increase revenue. Therefore, they adopted React PWA combined with Node.js BFF for Headless eCommerce for mobile devices. As a result, their shopping experience was greatly improved and streamlined with changes in product searching, purchasing, browsing, etc.
Redbox Automated Retail LLC is an American video rental company specializing in DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD rentals, and formerly video games. They adopted React SPA combined with Headless for desktops and mobile devices.
As they specialized in visual Content, they needed a visually attractive homepage to captivate and engage users. Thus, after thinking of many options, a single-page application is what they thought would be a perfect choice for them. By going headless and with responsive Content, they witnessed higher performances.
Target, Amazon, and Walmart are always in tough competition against each other. Customers switch from one brand to another very easily. With such tough competition, Target decided to go headless with React SPA for desktop and mobile devices to capture the uncertain audience and fill the gap between devices. They decided to unify the customer’s experience.
Kirkland’s, Inc. is a renowned retail chain that sells furniture, home decor, textiles, accessories, and gifts in the U.S., with 431 stores in 37 states. Unlike other brands, their challenge was the eCommerce website’s speed; thus, they decided to go headless with React PWA and Node.js BFF for mobile devices.
Kirkland’s is now one of the fastest retail websites giving a unique feature in eCommerce websites such as one-click login, thumbprint check-out, etc.
They are currently one of the fastest-growing eCommerce retailers in the USA. However, there was a time when they had the highest cart abandonment rate and lower conversion rates, and that’s when they decided to adapt Headless eCommerce with React PWA for mobile devices. By doing this, they became the first online health and supplement industry to integrate and embrace the changing headless eCommerce plugins.
At a direct-to-consumer level, McDonald’s is doing business on a new level. From acquiring AI-powered platforms for web, app, and IoT to taking payments from WeChat, McDonald’s has enhanced the features of selling food to have a faster drive-through and over-the-counter pickup.
What are the comparison criteria while looking for the best Headless eCommerce platforms?
The evaluation criteria look something like this when choosing the Headless eCommerce solution
- Usability: Is it easy to learn, grasp, and master with the right tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
- Integrations: Is it easily connected with other pre-built tools or new tools?
- User Interface: Is it attractive and clutter-free? Are the features easy to understand and implement?
- Value for money: Is the pricing appropriate against the features provided? Is the pricing transparent and flexible?
Headless eCommerce Platforms
Here are some of the solutions from leading headless eCommerce development agencies or applications :
- Magento Commerce
It is one of the best platforms for data analytics and visualization. With Magento Commerce, get a headless magento 2 service that allows you to optimize new customer experiences covering all devices and channels. Furthermore, with Magento Commerce, one can get robust APIs to touchpoint all necessary features.
The inventory management feature at Magento helps brands ship the inventory at the right time and in the right place. It also helps accurately track inventory levels irrespective of the locations involved, like warehouses, dropshippers, stores, and many more. It also enables a live count of the saleable stock for inventory management.
Brands can build custom storefronts and designs with the help of Shopify APIs. Shopify pus for custom storefronts, GraphQL storefront for faster designing. Shopify comes with relief as you are assured of plenty of APIs that can help brands go headless without losing the eCommerce functionality your brand must be currently using.
Shopify helps speed up site performance with a web application that acts like a native mobile application. Shopify also helps in integrating all systems involved in the business, like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), PIM (Product Management Information), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and CMS (Content Management System and design frameworks.
Apart from that, you can integrate all the systems involved in your business, like ERP, PIM, CRM, CMS, and design frameworks.
Shopify also has Shopify plus Saas, where stability holds the core part. The dashboard comes with smooth and efficient content management systems. It also includes inventory tracking, exporting/importing, etc. The Shopify plus SaaS analytics tool tracks conversions, store visits, and other data. Shopify integrates smoothly with significant marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
BigCommerce is the headless eCommerce WordPress Plugin. This product has all the tools needed for cart recovery, product listing, customer segmentation, payment processing, etc.
With BigCommerce headless eCommerce feature, it gives us more freedom to create and run multiple stores simultaneously. This technology helps deliver API-driven experiences with the help of CMS, application devices, or a custom front end. Customer experiences on different platforms can be leveraged big time using the BigCommerce API.
And the list goes on…
To conclude, if a brand needs to get ahead of the competition, the innovation of headless eCommerce needs to be adopted. First, the developers must equip themselves with the API tools and plugins to run the eCommerce portal smoothly. Then, let the brand create rich user experiences and interfaces with a responsive design to gain more traction. But remember, with Headless eCommerce, it’s a whole new experience of selling on mobile devices, smartwatches, tablets, and even smart refrigerators.