Why Headless Commerce Is All the Rage, and How to Know if It’s Right for You

Headless commerce is increasing in popularity because it enables you to be more agile and accommodate increasingly demanding customers across an ever-growing array of devices and channels.

Explaining headless commerce's rise in popularity for today's enterprises

In a recent blog, we discussed the topic of headless commerce, where you rely on a third party to build your eCommerce engine and integrate it with your frontend system of choice. The headless approach isn’t new. For instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a headless architecture—it provides a set of backend services that you plug into your application.

So, if headless services aren’t new, why is there so much fuss about headless commerce now? Here’s why brands like Prada, Michael Kors, and Lancôme have recently made the shift to headless architecture, and what you should consider when deciding if it’s right for you.

Why should you consider headless commerce?

Headless commerce is increasing in popularity because it enables you to be more agile and accommodate increasingly demanding customers across an ever-growing array of devices and channels.

Meet evolving customer needs for personalized experiences

Eighty percent of consumers want personalized experiences from retailers. But delivering that personalization at scale, as consumer expectations grow more specific, is increasingly challenging. Customers want feature-rich mobile experiences, relevant recommendations, and to consume content localized for their region and currency. They want to shop via voice search, mobile apps, and wearables. The list of consumer desires will only grow longer over time.

With a headless service, APIs deliver data from the service’s backend to whatever frontend experience you choose. There are no limits to the number of presentation layers you can use. This allows you to focus on developing front-end experiences that meet customer expectations and speak to your company’s vision and message. Utilizing headless commerce services takes away the responsibility of having to manage the underlying basics of commerce logic and allows you to focus on what matters to your company.

Create a consistent omnichannel experience across devices

Because all the presentation layers are pulling data from a single backend source, headless commerce ensures that the customer experience is smooth and seamless across devices and channels. When you add a new product or update an item description, you only need to make the update in one place. All users can see (or hear) the newly added information, whether they are accessing your storefront through a mobile app, voice search, or a social media feed. No matter what frontend experience the user sees, on the backend, a single API is processing all orders.

This centralization also makes for smoother inventory management and fulfillment. There is no need to perform multi-channel updates. And you can implement the same order processing workflows regardless of the user’s device or channel.

Create a more agile, scalable operation

If you are dealing with reliability and uptime issues, or a poor user experience, or problems with fulfillment and inventory, choosing a headless service may be the right solution.

Oftentimes, it is hard to address these issues because your engineering team has grown too large and your systems have become antiquated, leading to bloat that negatively impacts the user experience. When your engineering team is slow to respond to requests and cannot fix bugs quickly, it degrades the user experience and ultimately drives them to choose other options. Implementing large-scale modernization is almost completely out of the question.

Instead of trying to turn that massive ship around, you can invest in headless commerce to upgrade your eCommerce engine in a speedy, less resource-intensive way. The upfront costs and monthly fees may come out to be less than the costs of maintaining your own team and systems. Of course, there are other fixes for reliability and UX issues. If your costs are under control, your business vertical is future-proofed, and your engineers can tackle any hurdles competently, then switching to headless probably doesn’t make sense. But if your system itself is at the heart of your problems, or won’t allow you to innovate the way you need to, then it’s a good idea to consider a headless service.

The long-term benefits of headless commerce

Beyond the immediate benefits, headless commerce can help future-proof your business. For example, a headless service enables you to offload the responsibilities and costs of constantly keeping up with new internet standards. If your organization must maintain personally identifiable information (PII) or manage payment card industry (PCI) compliance, those costs can quickly spiral. Not to mention the cost of potential violations to any regulations, which can be astronomical in cost.

With headless commerce, your provider deals with it all. Considering that internet standards are constantly changing, headless commerce gives you peace of mind that your eCommerce engine will always meet compliance standards, without you having to do the heavy lifting yourself. You pay a predictable monthly fee and the provider takes care of auditing their systems and updating to new standards, ensuring they have resources to maintain compliance and implementing all the changes required.

Want to know more about using headless services for your business?

There is a lot more to headless commerce. To learn how headless services help retailers innovate, streamline the user experience, and create a more agile structure, view our on-demand webinar, Future Proofing Your Retail Enterprise: The Power and Flexibility of Headless Commerce. In this 75-minute webinar, Joe Cronyn, Senior Software Architect with JBS Custom Software Solutions, and Dan Fertig, Vice President, Agency Partnerships with BigCommerce, will share the benefits of headless services, how they compare to other approaches, and what to know when considering a headless approach.

If you’re ready to see if headless commerce is a fit for your company, contact us today for a free assessment.

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