What is Headless Commerce?
Headless Commerce allows you to present a backend product catalog without the design constraints of a traditional eCommerce platform. With this approach, you can take full control over the aesthetics and presentation of your products.
In this scenario, developers decouple the front-end (or "head") template or theme from back-end data. As a result, front-end developers are free to style product category, detail and checkout pages without traditional eCommerce template limitations.
Why It's Helpful
There are three main differences between traditional and headless commerce:
- Front-end development options
- Customization and personalization
- Flexibility and adaptability
Headless commerce doesn't constrain front-end development. With headless, you'll need to build front-end presentations from scratch. This solution allows you to create your own experience for both users and admins, which maximizes customization and personalization.
Headless solutions also allow businesses to reap the benefits of different types of website functionality under one website. In this example, blog content on a platform like HubSpot or WordPress could coexist with product data from another eCommerce source.
Traditional eCommerce platforms are often less flexible and customizable compared to other CMS options. In many cases, separation from a constrained front end allows businesses to create solutions that truly meet their marketing and eCommerce needs.
Who Is A Good Fit For Headless Commerce?
The Content Marketer
Headless commerce is an ideal solution for eCommerce businesses who devote significant energy toward content marketing and branding.
Generally speaking, eCommerce blogging functionality can be underwhelming and many businesses require a separate blogging platform. With headless commerce, brands can keep their store and blog under one roof to better integrate and attribute value to their content.
Headless commerce offers almost limitless design customization. As a result, businesses who need unconventional eCommerce template design are perfect candidates.
Headless solutions decouple front-end and back-end data, which offers designers and front-end developers full control of the aesthetics of your store. As a result, you can create unique and customized product detail, category and checkout pages that push beyond the constraints of standard eCommerce templates.
The B2B Guru
We've seen many B2B eCommerce businesses benefit from headless because it allows them to better integrate with CRM systems. For example, companies using HubSpot CRM and CMS for eCommerce are able to centralize their marketing and sales efforts with a single platform
Additionally, many B2B eCommerce businesses don't need the full eCommerce functionality that's typically present in eCommerce templates. As a result, headless commerce allows them to display products, descriptions and more without requiring a direct purchase through an eCommerce system.
What Platforms Can You Use?
To have a successful headless commerce site, you will need both an eCommerce platform and a front-end CMS platform. Any eCommerce platform will work, but WooCommerce is one of the most widely used platforms right now for headless solutions.
That said, we're big fans of BigCommerce in the headless space. BigCommerce recently released a WordPress integration that makes the connection even easier, and we've produced HubSpot and BigCommerce integrations that produce similar functionality. BigCommerce is also a better fit for growing businesses who process more transactions or maintain larger product catalogs.
Once you decide to pursue a headless commerce solution, it's important to consider a few key parts of your website plan.
First, you should remember that your eCommerce platform will handle product listings. Make sure these are up-to-date and clearly organized. Also be sure that your descriptions in your eCommerce platform (or PIM) are fully ready to be consumer facing.
Second, don't forget security. Make sure to offer a secure checkout experience so your customer feels safe and comfortable conducting business through your site. This will also increase your customer’s trust in your brand.
Lastly, cart experience is the make or break part of eCommerce. A smooth checkout is essential for your customer to make a purchase.
If your checkout process is too long or complicated, your customer will likely abandon their carts and leave your site. Consider your customer as they navigate your site and make things as simple and efficient as possible.
Overall, headless commerce is an emerging area in the eCommerce space that’s ripe for technical innovation. If you want to learn more, feel free to reach out and we’d be happy to help!
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