What is Headless Commerce?
Headless commerce is an ecommerce architecture where the frontend is decoupled from the backend, with an API enabling communication between the two. This architecture offers brands freedom of expression to build whatever and however, they want. Most importantly, it enables an enrichment of the customer experience.
Why Choose Headless Commerce?
Headless commerce is a good choice because of its:
Flexibility: Because the frontend is decoupled from the backend, developers can choose the best frameworks to use.
Scalability: The frontend and the backend can be hosted and scaled independently. Further, the system can be designed to make compute and network tasks as efficient as possible.
Performance: A well-constructed frontend is the best approach for delivering a super-fast UX that ranks highly in search results. By offloading the backend server from having to render the frontend, the server can be optimized to execute queries and business logic and send and receive data.
Security: Because the backend is logically separated from the frontend, gaining access to the frontend does not compromise the security of the backend and its sensitive data and business logic.
Rapid Innovation: Frontend designers and developers can focus on crafting and delivering great user experiences across all different form factors, devices, and touchpoints. Backend developers can focus on building differentiated functionality, extending APIs, and upgrading system components.
Higher Conversions: Merchants can reduce the mobile conversion gap by building their frontends as Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s)
How is a Headless Commerce Architecture Different from a Traditional, Monolithic Architecture?
See our monolithic glossary entry for more info.
A monolithic system is one where the frontend and backend are tightly coupled. This can provide high-level performance, but will also limit the ability to isolate and scale components. If one component in the entire system needs to be scaled or updated, that means the entire system needs to be redeployed. This limits innovation because any change is a more labor and time-intensive process than with other commerce solutions.
A headless system rectifies these issues by decoupling the front and backend, which as mentioned above, frees merchants, UX designers, and developers to work on their independent aspects of the website in a way that won’t disrupt other parts of the website’s functionality.
What is the Business Impact of Transitioning to Headless Commerce?
Headless commerce is a revenue-driving initiative because it emboldens every member of an ecommerce team to be able to independently scale, update, and innovate their part of the website experience without impacting other aspects of the site. Combine this with the improved performance and functionality of a PWA, and it makes a headless commerce solution one that is highly performant and efficient.
It also allows a merchant to transition to composable commerce, which is the newest and most technologically advanced solution available. A headless architecture allows a merchant to convert to a composable commerce setup piecemeal, one component at a time.
So not only is headless a great setup for today, but it also allows the forward-thinking merchant to transition their commerce solution to composable when they’re ready.