Benefits and Drawbacks of Headless E-commerce with the Best 5 Case Studies

The face of e-commerce is changing. It’s even possible to say it’s lost its mind. Isn’t that insane?

Consumers are becoming used to consuming content and making purchases via a multitude of channels. Thanks to the web and the Internet of Things, today’s digital world is more focused on users than ever before (IoT). Customers’ expectations are surpassing older e-commerce systems’ capabilities.

Organizations that depend on e-Commerce as a big part of their business model must change in order to remain competitive; as a consequence, many are switching to headless e-commerce for delivery. We’ve reached a point where a customer’s online experience is just as important – if not more so – than their offline experience. Customers should be able to enjoy an online version of the brand experience they get in stores.

The notion of headless e-commerce infrastructure comes into play in this situation.

Others are scratching their heads, uncertain how to join in on the activity without creating their own IoT device or constructing back-end solutions from the ground up (hello, Amazon or Flipkart). The answer for them is a headless content management system — and, by extension, headless commerce.

Let’s take a look at what headless e-commerce is all about.

Headless e commerce platform 1

What is the definition of headless e-commerce?

The separation of an e-commerce application’s front-end and back-end functions is known as headless e-commerce. The user interface, social commerce, digital marketplaces, IoT, and many other aspects of the frontend, or “head,” may be updated or altered independently of the backend.

In a word, headless commerce is an eCommerce system that stores, manages, and distributes content without the usage of a front-end delivery layer. A headless commerce platform separates the front end, which is usually a template or theme, from the backend, leaving just the latter.

Headless is defined by the usage of APIs, experience managers, and tools, as well as the significance of IT partners. One of the components of a headless commerce architecture is a headless CMS. Headless commerce requires a separate inventory management system in addition to the backend database that stores the content. CRMs, money processing platforms, multi-channel security solutions, and other backend systems are all widespread.

Headless CMS 1

*Let’s look at an example to help you understand.

Consider yourself a customer who is exploring a product on a mobile browser and decides to purchase it.

You will be required to fill out a form if you are a new client. It will then be utilized to update the CRM system at the organization. This information might also be obtained via a platform such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, or any technology that aids in the completion of your transaction.

The display layer of the headless e-Commerce system then makes an API request to the application layer to process the order. The application layer makes another API request to the application layer to show the customer the status of their order.

When a transaction is completed, the API call changes backend systems, recording the money exchange, updating the inventory system, and saving customer information.

It frees up the e-commerce platform (hello, Shopify!) to concentrate on what it does best: inventory management, customer data, and order histories.

While you, the shop manager, focus on other things, such as content and product sales. It’s an example of headless architecture in action.

But why one should go for Headless e-commerce?

Benefits of Headless E-commerce

Benefits of Headless E commerce 1

Using headless e-commerce has many advantages. Content- and experience-driven initiatives based on headless commerce can provide brands with the following benefits:

1. Use of cutting-edge technology to develop websites

In a headless environment, brands can test new technology. Developers may outsource all of the duties for operating an e-commerce firm to separate software that is specialized for the purpose of your business, rather from being restricted by the limits of a conventional CMS.

The frontend of most e-commerce websites is the theme or template that determines what consumers see. Headless content distribution allows you to link a CMS, DXP, or Internet of Things device (IoT) that is specifically designed for generating content- or experience-led commerce. After that, the front-end may be changed without disrupting the back-end operations.

A headless e-commerce platform stores content in a central place and can deliver it to any location through API. This technology allows for far speedier delivery than traditional e-commerce platforms, resulting in a superior customer experience.

2. Adaptability

Design and development teams working on headless are free to provide clients with a more diverse experience now that they have access to the most cutting-edge technology.

These days, we shop on our phones, tablets, and watches. We shop on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Alexa and Siri-like voice recognition devices, interactive mirrors, virtual reality, and augmented reality are all on the horizon. All of these touchpoints must be met if a company wants to flourish in e-commerce. And doing so needs a degree of flexibility that is lacking in a monolithic system.

Businesses may utilize whatever e-commerce platform best meets their requirements as the engine for their online shop with headless commerce. If a development team likes to use a certain technology or programming language, headless enables them to keep what works while reducing procedures and increasing efficiency. E-commerce shops with headless architecture, rather than being left behind, are in the greatest position to meet these future improvements.

3. Customer acquisition expenses are lower, with greater conversion rates.

Many firms’ client acquisition costs are rising as a result of an increase in paid advertising. Being headless is a great way to save money since your company can utilize a content- or experience-driven approach to attract organic visitors instead of relying on paid advertising. Client experiences that are dynamic and fluid also help to increase conversion rates.

4. To achieve true omnichannel success

A headless content management system will, first and foremost, aid you in getting your content where it needs to go. A headless solution is easy to adopt across the board, has international SEO optimization, and is integrated into the whole data orchestration architecture. This includes sending your items, product videos, and blog posts to each new or developing channel for an e-commerce firm.

Alexa Skills, digital signage, PWA (progressive web applications), and even touchscreen refrigerators may help you sell (yes, they do exist now).

5. Gain a competitive edge

You already have an advantage because of superior technology. You may also use headless e-commerce to obtain a competitive advantage over competing websites. Here’s an example to help you understand.

Major commerce businesses that employ a conventional platform release an update every few weeks. They lower the number and length of outages when compared to Amazon, which distributes updates every 11.7 seconds on average. You don’t have to update the complete system when a front-end system is loosely linked to the back-end; just a section of it has to be updated.

On the other side, some of the benefits of a monolithic platform are lost when moving to a headless platform. The disadvantages of headless architecture are listed below.

Headless E-Downfalls commerce’s

1. It is pretty costly.
Because headless commerce platforms do not offer a front end, developers must construct their own. On one side, this is great since it enables developers to construct unique front ends for each device and touchpoint. On the other hand, creating templates and user interfaces from scratch may be time-consuming and expensive.

An unskilled individual will be unable to go without a head. Advanced coding knowledge is necessary, which usually needs the services of a professional developer’s time and skills. Both of these items are pricey.

2. While headless commerce provides for greater customisation, it also adds to the complexity of the process.
You now have to deal with multiple vendors and technologies, each with their own set of bugs and security vulnerabilities, as well as their own installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and support methods, rather than dealing with a single, interdependent e-commerce platform and a single “throat to choke.” And with so many headless, separate projects going at the same time, various development teams, test cases, QA teams, and a tremendous lot of complexity are required.

3. The absence of native e-commerce functionality
You may lose some native front-end commerce functionality when you disconnect your current headless e-commerce platform from the back end. There’s a chance that page creation, previewing (WYSIWYG), and merchandising aren’t accessible anymore.

Companies using Headless e-commerce
A headless CMS is particularly valuable for e-commerce enterprises since it offers the underlying repository for arranging content flows for customised, integrated experiences. If you wish to deliver material through several presentation channels and have a large user base, this is the ideal solution.

If you believe that a traditional e-commerce solution is too rigid for the project you’re working on and imposes too many limits, a headless CMS could be the way to go. Let’s have a look at the firms that are adopting this solution:

Amazon – The world’s biggest online marketplace integrates a variety of gadgets, including wearables, smartphones, computers, and the Amazon Echo Dot, to enable customers to make purchases in a variety of ways.
Shopify – You may develop a headless way using Shopify’s APIs without needing to move.
Etsy — Its API-first design is compatible with a broad variety of devices, overcomes server-side performance difficulties, and has been quickly adopted by development teams.
Toyota – Toyota has recently deployed headless commerce tools with APIs and middleware to support interaction with legacy and IoT systems. This enables them to provide a superior experience in both B2B and B2C scenarios.
McDonald’s (MCD) — By purchasing Dynamic Yield’s AI-powered customization platform for web, app, and IoT, as well as accepting payments from a number of payment providers, McDonald’s is pushing headless commerce to new heights.
What is the best way to get started with headless commerce?
There are several advantages to headless e-commerce. The sheer thought of re-platforming, on the other hand, deters many organizations from using a headless system. The correct headless service can help you avoid the difficulties and difficult decisions that come with replacing your system. Using a single view of data, developers may utilize APIs and features given by commerce platforms to build coordinated, brand-consistent experiences across channels. Meanwhile, creative teams focus on what they do best: refining the user experience and interface to increase customer engagement and conversions.

Doesn’t all of this look to be pretty difficult?


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