The number of ways for users to consume content is rapidly increasing and fuelled by a growing number of different platforms, channels and devices (mckinsey.com). New emerging technologies such as smart watches and personal assistants like Alexa are becoming the new norm alongside many other ‘up and coming’ technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) which offer the ability to provide unique experiences like never before (pwc.com).
90% of consumers now also expect a seamless and consistent experience across all the channels they interact with (forbes.com), which presents a challenge for many businesses to optimise how they create and publish content across different channels and devices in order to obtain customers and create long lasting relationships.
Headless commerce approach allows you the agility to create outstanding shopping experiences across any channel or device which your customers interact with by unlocking complete developer flexibility. Our Headless commerce guide provides an in-depth breakdown of the popular architecture and it’s benefits to businesses and customers.
Headless commerce is a type of architecture where the front-end and back-end of an ecommerce platform are separated (salesforce.com) or ‘decoupled’. Headless commerce architecture ensures flexibility and allows brands to display content across any channel or device with almost no limit to the experience they are able to create. Headless makes use of APIs, which allows businesses to connect their back-end system to any front-end platform, channel or device of their choosing where content can be displayed. This approach affords brands the ability to create truly unique experiences for their users across all touchpoints and in doing so create an outstanding omni-channel experience.
Headless architecture is fast gaining traction and popularity amongst big brands looking to capitalise on the benefits of driving breakthrough user experiences and innovations in the market. Headless architecture refers to the ‘decoupling’ of the presentation layer of an application or website (what the end user sees) from the back-end services (the server side which stores data and dictates structure).
The headless model provides flexibility, allowing content creators to manage and store their content in modules while at the same time allowing developers to access and integrate different apps and languages to help build new workflows that deliver this content to different channels including website pages, smart watch apps, chat bots and other channels used across a business.
Decoupling means that content and any other media which is stored in the back-end of an application is now unrestricted and can be displayed across any device, layout or channel and not restricted to just one. That content can be delivered to as many channels as necessary without the developer complexity involved in having multiple front-end options while being connected to the back-end.
Traditional commerce platforms are built with a predefined experience for both an end user who views the content across channels such as websites or apps and for an administrator of a site who creates and publishes content (front-end and back-end). Having both the front and back-end connected makes it difficult for businesses to keep up with the pace of change across the ecommerce market with channels and devices being introduced at a rapid rate. Increasing touchpoints and longer sales cycles means businesses need to adapt and shift their offering inline with the current trends and offer an omnichannel experience, which is difficult with traditional commerce platforms.
Headless commerce platforms however, allow businesses to define specific and tailored experiences to individual channels or devices they choose. This experience is also able to be adapted for both the end user and administrative users alike making it more flexible and easier to use. Headless commerce platforms improve the time to market for businesses by allowing for new and emerging channels to be adopted with less developer complexity by only needing to create a new front-end experience per channel and not a new back-end.
There are a wide range of popular Headless ecommerce platforms which can be used by businesses depending on their requirements and their preferred solution. Here we will discuss some of the most popular headless ecommerce platforms.
Offering your customers the best and most personalised experience across every touchpoint and channel will help create long lasting relationships which benefit both you and your customers. Making things easier to use and offering your customers the most convenient experience possible is never a bad thing and will help to set yourself aside from the competition.
To get started with Headless Commerce it is important to understand what type of Headless Commerce platform is right for you and your business. With a variety of different headless platforms available, different features and functionality of each may be more suited to your business needs which is why it is important to firstly understand what you’re trying to achieve through a Headless approach and then understand your requirements of the system. Finding a reputable software development agency will allow you to understand your requirements more clearly which will help to find the best possible solution and platform for your needs.
Headless commerce was first introduced by a German based organisation founded by Denis Werner and Dirk Hoerig which was a commerce platform with an API-first architecture approach which utilised microservices to allow its customers to create a custom set of tools throughout their ecosystem. Dirk Hoerig coined the term ‘headless commerce’ to describe the platform he has created which separated the front and back end of an ecommerce platform.
New channels, devices and technologies are becoming increasingly utilised for eCommerce, which has urged eCommerce businesses to adapt their eCommerce platforms to provide increased flexibility and to provide an outstanding customer experience well into the future.
A Headless commerce platform supports this shift by offering a means to deploy new technologies fast and effectively while also allowing seamless integrations with new technologies.
Headless solutions afford the ability to connect different platforms and tools through the use of an API. The API allows software platforms and tools to communicate with each other while also affording a more seamless data transfer. Often a headless commerce approach can provide many additional benefits to a site such as improved speed, performance, and flexibility to incorporate tools and new channels into your platform.
Magento can be used as the back-end for a headless commerce build and architecture. Magento could be used as the back-end CMS which controls and manages the content of a headless commerce site. Being acquired by Adobe as part of the Adobe Commerce ecosystem, the Magento platform has already been used throughout various headless commerce projects which has offered various benefits including speed and performance.