Headless Commerce: The Top Trend in eCommerce - VTEX - Accelerate Commerce Transformation

Headless Commerce: The Top Trend in eCommerce

Alexander Rodriguez
25 Apr 2019

Headless commerce is a fairly new idea, but now that it’s starting to grow beyond the “emerging trend” category into the position of an eCommerce/ unified commerce mainstay. Right now is the perfect time to delve into a discussion about this innovative concept and how it’s changing the way eCommerce platforms operate.

What is Headless Commerce?

The term “headless commerce” refers to one of many ways to structure an eCommerce platform. Headless commerce decouples the front- and back-end platforms of an eCommerce website. In effect, it separates the logical, business-centric layer of a website from the content-geared presentation layer.

A business’ developers can be separated into clear front- and back-end teams. Because the templates, theming, and content of a website are separated from the logistical aspects of that same site, dev teams can work independently of each other. Back-end developers can leverage APIs to deliver products, customer reviews, and blog posts while front-end developers focus on presenting the content.

Essentially, headless commerce affords a company the freedom to utilize content management software and digital experience platforms that suit them in order to deliver high-quality content. Meanwhile, back-end solutions can be formulated where they’re supposed to be: behind the scenes. Some organizations even choose to use plug-and-play eCommerce solutions to handle back-end functionalities. In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and marketplaces, these agile functionalities allow for smoother operating at every level.

How Headless Commerce is Different From Traditional Commerce

Under a traditional commerce structure, the process of front-end development is a chore. There are various roadblocks and constraints that can influence developers’ ability to work quickly and effectively. Even the most minute changes require sizable alterations to databases, codes, and so on.

Headless commerce affords developers a much greater degree of flexibility when it comes to front-end work. There are no design constraints, which means user experience can be built from the ground up. There’s no database modification, either; a simple API call is all it takes to make changes.

The Benefits of Headless Commerce

Optimization Abound

With a headless commerce infrastructure in place, brands aren’t forced to adapt and force their capabilities across the board. Now, they have the freedom to focus on what they’re good at and have an easier way to tackle the things that challenge them. This flexibility is key to optimization – whether that’s optimizing content, UX, or even the way time and funds are allocated in the workplace.

UX is More Consistent

Any savvy marketer knows that the user experience on your website/ online store directly impacts brand success. Your audience should have a consistent experience across the entirety of your website. Taking in your content should add value to their lives, not make for an annoyance.

The decoupling of commerce and customer experience makes it easier to fine-tune the UX aspects of a website. Marketers can easily manage content and provide valuable information without accidentally altering the eCommerce system, and back-end developers can control the technical aspects of UX without compromising content quality.

Freedom to Experiment

Your team of developers is a goldmine for creative and innovative ideas; are you leveraging their knowledge and talents appropriately? If you’re relying on a traditional eCommerce structure, chances are good that your dev team is too tied up battling restrictions to do much creative thinking.

Headless commerce gives your developers the freedom to experiment. They’ll be able to test out new ideas and functionalities easily – and they won’t be living in fear of jeopardizing your site’s entire ecosystem. Front- and back-end codes no longer need to be altered simultaneously, freeing up developers to take a little creative risk every now and then.

Headless commerce is all about maximizing the functionality of a website, especially in regards to omnichannel commerce, enabling the front and backends to operate at their highest potential. This allows separate teams, if necessary, to work independently on each aspect, as the front end and the back end of a website do very different work, despite being intrinsically connected. Headless commerce is becoming more and more in-demand because, simply, it makes sense and allows for greater integration across all sides. It all comes down to flexibility and ease of use for the platform; something every eCommerce business can use!