Headless commerce is one of the most perplexing concepts in ecommerce today. Even so, it is one of the most promising ecommerce concepts and could be the future of ecommerce.
When a brand goes headless, it typically means the brand is going API first. This is to suggest brands are using API to achieve these three objectives:
- Creating an excellent digital experience and getting a tailor-made look and feel
- To gain more operational agility
- To build best read architecture
Why is the word ‘headless’ used so much?
The word ‘headless’ is used so much in ecommerce nowadays because the idea of decoupling the backend and frontend is always present in the ecommerce architecture. The separation helps the frontend and backend to evolve more independently and faster.
It is also about freeing up the data and being able to connect applications. This connected architecture can have the full power of all the data the brand has in different applications that can be mixed and matched to meet the business’ goals.
So, the decoupled experience is a crucial requirement, just as is the ability to connect all the different dots in a shopper’s journey; and between separate silos within a brand organization.
What are the best use-cases for headless commerce?
The first and most crucial part for brands intending to go headless is finding the ‘why?’ The brand should consider the aforementioned three initial reasons. That way, the brand would be able to identify if they are after giving a good experience or more agility.
This ‘why?’ will eventually help the brand map out the architecture and ensure that they have the proper project plan.
On the flip side, if the brand lacks the maturity and answers to this question, it could be an indicator that headless should be something that should be planned for, for the near future and not at that particular moment. It is worth noting that headless does require more resources and a senior team for building those APIs.
Direct to consumer shift
If a person wanted to purchase anything back in the day, they had to go to a store physically. Now, especially after Covid, the landscape has dramatically changed. To mean that there was a shift towards more shopping from an ecommerce perspective.
So, why have brands and consumers been shifting to ecommerce stores suddenly?
One of the main reasons is that brands now want to own their entire customer experience. This is from the website their customer’s visit to the packaging customers receive. Brands also want to own valuable customer data instead of having to give it away to an aggregator.
Brands also want to build brand loyalty and a community, increasing customer AOV (average order value) and LTV (lifetime value). Moreover, a multi-channel approach is enabled in the process. As such, the direct-to-consumer approach has helped brands to maintain a consistent experience.
Headless commerce startups to consider
Here are some of the most renowned headless commerce companies around. Some of them are startups while others have been around for a while offering ecommerce solutions:
- Vue Storefront: Frontend Platform for Headless Commerce that is a great starting point for your headless journey. It works both on top of legacy eCommerce platforms or as an integral part of your headless eCommerce Stack.
- Commercelayer: This company allows businesses to easily add international shopping capabilities to any IoT device, chatbot, mobile app, and website.
- commercetools: This is a company with an API-first, headless, and multi-tenant SaaS cloud-native platform and flexible microservices.
- Core DNA: This company has unified commerce and content platform. It also has an API-first and cloud-native architecture, enabling tech teams to build experiences across devices, channels, and platforms.
- Fabric: This is a company whose headless commerce platform was purposely built for growth. That is why big companies trust it for its modular and open design.
- Nacelle: This headless company has been said to have the best-of-breed headless solutions.
- ResponseCRM: This company offers headless commerce solutions to expanding and new businesses to increase profitability and scale and sell online.
- Save: This is a company offering a human-centric marketing and commerce platform that supports rich, super-personalized experiences across different touchpoints and channels.
- Spryker: This is a company that allows companies to generate engaging commerce experiences in market places, B2C, and B2B.
- Swell: This headless ecommerce platform supports customer experiences and unique business experiences. The company aims at making ecommerce more accessible for anyone who has a platform that can be used for B2B and B2C models.
- VTEX: This company offers an Enterprise Digital Commerce Platform for retailers and brands aiming for a future-proof digital commerce strategy.
The headless commerce architecture is inherently complex mainly because the customer’s journey is varied. You don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, and different brands have different processes. Brands are also looking to make their customers’ mark by offering the best customer experience.
So, as you’re considering how to best offer that world-class experience, think about getting a headless ecommerce partner who can help you scale—a partner who will also share the warnings they’ve had working with other merchants.