An Overview of Headless eCommerce Platforms

How the Best Headless eCommerce Platforms Improve CRM, CMS, websites, and more
Headless eCommerce Solutions to Improve Front- and Back-End Development

What is Headless eCommerce?

Headless eCommerce platforms provide a powerful way for an enterprise — or even a fast-growing small business — to provide flexibility for developers. Using such a platform allows businesses to change customer-facing front-end applications without needing to worry about the integrity of the back-end platform itself.

The concept behind headless architecture is quite simple: it separates logic and function. In a mechanical analogy, it’s something like providing a car with an engine and a chassis, without anything else. The car is fully customizable beyond this point, and you can choose the arrangement of seats, upholstery, wheels, sunroof, and even what the car looks like on the outside.

Headless eCommerce solutions provide the same freedom of choice, customization, and tailoring, allowing you to choose any kind of interface. You start with a functional framework (like the chassis and engine, just the basic components needed for a working vehicle) and then the headless eCommerce APIs on top for aspects of your business such as eCommerce, website, chat programs, etc.

Headless eCommerce solutions offer the robust and advanced capabilities of eCommerce without limiting the options for the consumer. Headless architecture works well for a variety of needs, and headless eCommerce APIs can be added to match both online and brick-and-mortar venues. New options can be added or removed as needed, including:

  • Multiple sites — each site can be altered without consideration of the headless platform 
  • Mobile devices and tablets — easily add support for custom mobile needs 
  • Omnichannel sales opportunities — customize sales channels without worrying about altering the back-end 
  • In-store sales and point-of-sale system — easily add in-person headless checkout options  

Such a system enables customers and staff to interact with custom front-end capabilities on the same headless eCommerce platform. This is an immensely powerful solution when you want to expand your eCommerce channels. Headless architecture can be incorporated with most modern headless CRM and CMS, so if you’re interested in headless BigCommerce, headless WordPress, or headless Shopify options, keep reading.

What headless eCommerce platforms can do for your business

The Benefits of Headless Architecture

Headless eCommerce platforms have many advantages that eCommerce SaaS and off-the-shelf solutions lack. Here are the most common reasons that growing companies and enterprise businesses are embracing headless architecture. 

  • Speed — The speed at which changes can be made is a huge advantage when moving to headless architecture. Because front-end developers don’t need to worry about the architecture of the back-end, they don’t have to wait for permission to change front-end applications for websites, mobile apps, carts, user dashboards, etc. Being able to move independently can help the front-end stay at the cutting edge of design and UX/UI. 
  • Ease of integration — When you have the best headless eCommerce platform, you have complete control over what the front-end will look like. Most eCommerce platforms — including some decoupled eCommerce platforms — are limited when it comes to front-end customization. Making changes to these “locked” front-end tools (I.e., CRM and CMS) can be labor-intensive and lead to messy workarounds. 
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Headless CRM and CMS Solutions

Employing headless architecture is an excellent way to make your front-end and back-end capabilities more flexible. Clarity Ventures can show you how to make your platform more efficient.

  • One-way updates — Communication tends to be one-way when it comes to headless eCommerce systems. This is beneficial because global changes made on the back-end can be pushed to all front-end APIs. It’s also advantageous because front-end developers across all headless eCommerce APIs don’t have to worry about butting heads with back-end code on the platform itself. 
  • Flexibility — Because the front-end and the back-end are decoupled from each other, it’s much easier to switch APIs in and out as a business grows. Instead of starting from scratch with a completely new eCommerce platform (or spending the time and money to integrate old information to the new platform), the headless eCommerce platform can retain back-end information while front-end APIs are changed. 
  • Omnichannel — Starting with a solid eCommerce “chassis” can support diverse headless eCommerce APIs. While the front-end customer interaction might be very different — multiple sites, multiple physical locations, multiple payment methods — these channels can all be controlled by, and feed back into, the headless platform. 
Headless Architecture Allows Growth as Your Business Evolves

Completely Scalable and Versatile

Another significant aspect is the ability to start out with something relatively simple that can be fully scaled or leveraged to an omnichannel capability. This is especially useful in instances of multiple branding requirements or different mediums and brands that need to consume the same set of functionalities. In that case, the functionality and data have to be consistent across different devices and mediums (like a website, a point-of-sale system, or a mobile app). The best headless eCommerce platforms efficiently enable this harmony while eliminating the need to build a very expensive and custom system.

Another kind of common use case for headless architecture is when a business already has the essentials: a really nice site, a well-branded offering, high conversion rate, optimized website, mobile, and possibly a point-of-sale system. Since these can’t stand alone, all of them can be brought together with a robust headless eCommerce solution that can effectively eliminate the need to change the established basics of the site or mobile device. Instead, it would seamlessly interact within that already existing application by using the APIs. Just think back to the car example: the custom parts you already have can be placed on a fresh chassis.

What's really advantageous about a headless CRM eCommerce program is that a headless developer can surgically insert very robust functionality into already existing designs and user experiences with APIs. For example, let’s assume a site already has products and catalogs but not the ability to actually purchase those products. That ability can easily be added thanks to headless eCommerce solutions, along with a checkout and a user dashboard associated with those products and orders.

A headless eCommerce platform is a great scenario to leverage in order to spin up and incorporate a robust eCommerce offering while reducing the overhead. It’s a much more adaptable option compared to a monolithic or typical eCommerce offering, where you not only have the eCommerce functionality that's built out, but also the content management system (CMS) with all of the branding, styling, and design. Headless CMS eCommerce becomes an obvious solution.

One of the key prerequisites for a robust headless eCommerce system is to possess the required offerings within the APIs, along with detailed steps and instructions on how to deploy the headless architecture functionality. In addition, it would ideally provide support and resources to actually complete the deployment or provide a concierge and white-glove deployment of those offerings as needed.

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Grow With Headless eCommerce

Every business wants to grow, and headless architecture is a great way to make sure that you can scale with the least amount of resistance. Clarity can get you ready for the future.

FINDING THE RIGHT HEADLESS ECOMMERCE SOLUTION FOR YOU

Headless eCommerce Selection Criteria

When you're reviewing a headless eCommerce system, we recommend that you're not only looking at the physical capability. In other words, not just the interaction with your existing systems in a seamless way or the surgical insertion of the robust functionality into already — or mostly — completed different properties and digital mediums. Consider the ability to leverage that continuously improving and robust functionality, as well as the support and the resources. Assess the ability to get immediate support, training, and guidance that aligns with your specific needs. Consider even the possibility of requiring actual execution of the implementation work and delivery of the custom solution that seamlessly incorporates the headless eCommerce solution for your existing team.

HEADLESS CRM, CMS, AND ECOMMERCE SOLUTIONS

Find the Best Headless eCommerce Platform

In the link section below, we're going to cover additional topics relating to the facets of the best headless eCommerce platforms. We'll also compare headless architecture to decoupled eCommerce and talk about the differences between those two. We will analyze the general concept of each type of eCommerce and how its pros and cons relate to a traditional eCommerce platform. We’ll also have the opportunity to discuss Shopify headless eCommerce, headless BigCommerce, headless WordPress, headless Salesforce, and more.

Our team of friendly and knowledgeable staff would be very happy to discuss any questions you might have or a potential project that you may be evaluating. Feel free to contact us and receive complimentary resources and answers to help you along your way.

We’ll Show You How It Works

Headless architecture is becoming popular for many good reasons, and it’s worth it to learn more. Talk to someone at Clarity to see just how it can improve your business options..

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