What is headless eCommerce?
- What is headless eCommerce?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the draw backs?
- Who uses headless eCommerce?
- When should you use it?
- When shouldn't you use it?
Sounds terrible. What is headless eCommerce?To consider what headless eCommerce is we need to consider how the eCommerce solution is traditionally put together. Two sides to the coin - the front and back end of your eCommerce website.
|Front end||Back end|
What are the benefits?Headless eCommerce can overcome a couple of hurdles that traditional eCommerce limits you with.
- Customisation - As we've just touched on, traditional eCommerce systems can constrain the behaviour, aesthetics and functionality of the digital experience. Headless eCommerce frees you of these restrictions and expands your reach.
- Short term pain, long term gain - Developing and maintaining your traditional eCommerce website and it's many back-end integrations can lead to a significant overhead as time goes on. You're bound to specific code, integrations and development standards that will eventually age and require ongoing maintenance. By comparison, headless requires an initial upfront cost with limited ongoing fees and much greater flexibility for omnichannel or agile marketing strategies that keep you ahead of the curve
- Speed - It's the word on every merchant's lips. Fast sites equals happy customers and higher conversion rates. Loading the front end of the site can be anchored to the performance of the back-end system it is reliant on. By cutting off the head, you are master of your site speed in a way that traditional eCommerce solutions can not compare.
What are the draw backs?While headless can sound great, there is a reason that solutions like Shopify exist. They save time and give you a good practice solution to common problems.If you are going to go headless, you will need to invest in building the front-end presentation layer from scratch. So the initial time to market may be slower. But once established, you're poised and ready to modify your platforms untethered.
Who uses headless eCommerce?The implementation of headless eCommerce and CMS's are becoming quite common. In Australia Koala Mattresses is an advocate for headless eCommerce:
"Most companies would kill for our velocity. The speed with which our development team is able to deliver solutions from ideation to production is triple what I’ve seen anywhere else."Plenty of other well known eCommerce merchants have jumped aboard the headless train such as Brevill, Impossible foods, Gibson Guitars and Youfoodz.
Why you wouldn't use headless eCommerce?Headless eCommerce is not going to be practical unless you have a relatively sophisticated eCommerce practice already.Headless is not going to be suitable if:
- You are a start up
- You are turning over a relatively low volume of sales (<$1m)
- You don't have a continuous change-oriented workplace culture
When we recommend headless eCommerceHeadless eCommerce is definitely not for everyone. But we recommend headless for organisations:
- In highly competitive industries that require a high change velocity
- With an online turnover well into the millions per year
- Who prioritise digital speed
- Who adopt a truly omnichannel or agile marketing strategy
- Who need to remain relevant, innovative and competitive
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