Most of the curious guys out there searching for new ways to reinvent the eCommerce and improve the customer experience must have heard about what Headless eCommerce is!
There has been a significant development in the course of different platforms and frameworks around the headless and decoupled frontend.
With solutions like Gatsby.js (react-base PWA framework), Vue Storefront (Vue.js-base PWA framework) and platforms like Magento, WordPress, etc. Advocating for this approach and opening up their frontend API to allow headless implementations.
Let’s Understand Headless eCommerce
In the world of eCommerce, a lot has changed. Users want a smooth buying experience on a website that is quick and simple to navigate.
People’s buying habits have changed as well. They now buy products on the go with devices ranging from smartphones to voice assistants like Google Home. Online retail sites must adapt now that a large part of the traffic comes from non-desktop sources.
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As eCommerce store owner who wants to grow their business, they should start by identifying areas that need to improve. We’re talking about the modifications the store needs right now as well as what it will look like in 5 to 10 years.
You should focus on providing a better and as well as faster purchasing experience, increasing your ranks, and increasing sales. If you leave things as they are, this will not happen.
We’ll talk about headless eCommerce in this article. You’ll learn how it varies from traditional trade, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.
Not sure if a headless solution would be helpful to your company?
Headless eCommerce is a situation in which you house backend or content / data management systems and storage (database) separately from displaying interface. Also, learn more about Shopify Headless Development.
With this division, the site owner will have a more flexible and richer user experience. As the developers can use API’s or web services to deliver things. Furthermore, things like products, blog posts or customer reviews to any screen or device.
The frontend developers will have the freedom to present the content using any framework they like.
You can also say headless commerce architecture is built for the IoT age.
In contrast, the traditional commerce platforms have the frontend and backend tightly linked with each other.
In a way that you only deliver the content to a defined website and maybe to a native mobile app.
But on the other hand, headless eCommerce delivers the content via Restful APIs.
Then it connects the backend data model with recent technologies like React or React Native.
API’s allow you to display content and product to different channels like smartwatches, Alexa and as well as gaming consoles, etc.
What is our Current Situation?
By 2021, the bulk of eCommerce stores has adopted an almost obsolete monolithic model. This means that, if you get on the bandwagon early and take a different path, you may be able to go ahead of the pack.
All frontend and backend processes are tight links on monolithic websites.
The HTML for a monolithic store is completely produced on the server and delivered to the user’s browser.
The complete HTML load from the server whenever a user accesses a new page. The header and footer include in this (parts of the page that are the same across the whole website).
As a result, each time a new page opens, the browser must re-render all the code. Furthermore, full-page rendering takes a long time.
Consider what would happen if it simple rendered the dynamic parts (which include content that changes from page to page). You have between 5 and 20 seconds to spare!
Monolithic websites differ great from modern disconnected websites. These web pages are difficult to personalize and are out of date.
Furthermore, the strategy precludes the construction of sites in accordance with modern norms (these imply fast site speed, user-friendly UX/UI, among other things).
Why is headless commerce better than traditional commerce?
In the 2020s, the non-separated strategy described above is a “no go”. Buying habits and shopping behaviors have evolved. Your store should, too.
What exactly is a headless eCommerce solution? Is it simply a matter of separating the frontend and backend of a website? Let’s back up and define a section of the headless eCommerce definition.
In the context of a headless website, the “frontend” refers to more than just what users see in their browsers. Instead, it refers to requests made from any of the devices that individuals use to make online purchases.
Does this sound perplexing? That isn’t the case. Aside from desktop computers, your customers are already shopping through other channels and gadgets. We’re referring to touchpoints such as:
- Smartphones and apps for mobile devices
- Amazon Dash Buttons
- Intelligent refrigerators
- Smart televisions and other household electronics
- Alexa-like voice assistants and speakers
The list goes on and on. The headless method, in particular, can help your store prepare for the future. This architecture will provide it the ability to serve all the gadgets that will arise in the future that will be used for shopping.
Furthermore, a true headless commerce solution is self-contained. Its autonomous modules may communicate with one another, resulting in faster and better performance.
What happens if your store decouple?
- Your frontend and backend business processes are unaffect by one another.
- Your modules will become more self-contained. With this method, you can progress one part at a time without endangering the others.
- You have the option of splitting your backend services. Services for voice search in smart speakers, for example, may exist separate from those for text search in mobile apps.
- At the end of the day, you gain the “ace up your sleeve” flexibility.
Businesses that want commerce capabilities can use headless commerce. API-driven experiences can deliver via a CMS, DXP, application, device or bespoke frontend.
With headless, marketers can use powerful APIs to create commerce experiences on different platforms. To boost efficiencies and decrease bottlenecks, the main components of our SaaS platform can extend and connect to any other environment.
It’s workable to incorporate even the most sophisticated commerce requirements with attractive work, from highly customized react.js or angular sites to a CMS. To mix agile, adaptable eCommerce with content, brands don’t have to sacrifice.
APIs are used for data orchestration in commerce-led or commerce-first models, where IT teams have relative control over infrastructure connectivity. The amount of API calls available on a SaaS platform limits.
The monolithic approach is the most traditional eCommerce model. Many brands and agencies still propose monolithic strategies for enterprises and well-established enterprises.
A monolithic strategy has the disadvantages of a long time to market and hefty development expenditures. This slows down innovation.
Full platform management for the IT department is an advantage of a monolithic approach, which may come in handy if an eCommerce strategy or website experience requires considerable customization.
How does the traditional monolithic store work?
The majority of eCommerce stores founded in the last ten years operate in the following manner:
- Either a custom framework or an out-of-the-box solution to build the backend (such as Magento or SAP Hybris).
- The frontend (HTML) generated by the backend and sent to the browser.
- The browser parses the HTML and downloads all necessary files (JS, CSS, and so on) so that the user can view the page content.
When a user navigates from one page of the store to another, the procedure described above occurs. It’s time consuming, as you might expect, and it keeps clients waiting for information to materialize.
Limitations of Traditional Systems
Retailers and developers face the following disadvantages as a result of traditional commerce systems’ “all-inclusive” design:
Frameworks that have been curb –
A traditional system is usually constrained by the framework. Developers confines specific toolkits, which can make layout, delivery, and functionality difficult.
Lower security –
The system access by both administrators and content authors through the same console dramatically increases data-related dangers.
While accounts for authors and editors can be set to have limited privileges, accounts with elevated or full admin privileges might provide unauthorized people access to anything from content to customer details to payment information.
Integrations are difficult –
To interface with external systems, developers can create plugins (or even buy pre-existing solutions), but the experience is rarely as frictionless as what an API in a headless commerce system can give.
As a result, some companies may rely on a different technique – such as manual entry – to transfer inventory or customer data into the backend, which can be time-consuming.
How does Headless Commerce get around these obstacles?
Headless commerce avoids these issues by relying on the API as the backbone for interacting with various business platforms.
Admins can secure each system by only granting access to those who need it, as well as limiting the amount of data available to the API.
Because there is no code related to the backend database that holds content, frontend developers are free to change endpoint layouts using the optimal framework.
This means that the content and goods aren’t limited to the websites or applications for which they’re designed; a touch point can be any device with an internet connection.
What is the impact of headless commerce on your customers?
Growing entails fast adapting to meet new customer and social demands.
1. Immediate adjustments and optimization
When a company adds new material to its frontend, the changes are near immediately reflected. Traditional commerce architecture websites, but can take minutes, if not hours (read: too long), before all users can see a brand’s most recent design.
2. User interfaces and experiences that are rich
Brands may get more creative with the content they publish on their websites to give experimental design. Now that they can control all the elements to engage visitors with more readers.
Furthermore, headless commerce’s universal compatibility ensures that your website works as intended across all devices and viewing formats.
Traditional eCommerce website managers, but, must care for responsive design to avoid elements missing or displaying wrong on different devices.
3. To stay competitive
When a frontend system is a loose connection with the backend, you don’t have to update the entire system; only a part of it needs to update. As a result, you’ll be able to supply what your customers want faster while yet remaining competitive.
4. To market quick
A headless commerce system may accommodate new technology as it emerges. When creating new customer experiences, this is ideal.
5. To improve the personalization and consistency of the client experience
Customers should receive a consistent customer experience across all devices and channels, even if their needs vary over time.
People also want to buy from eCommerce companies that are aware of their needs across all platforms.
The backend is already aware of what a customer has purchased. This information to power customization engines on CMS, mobile apps and social media platforms.
6. To improve conversion optimization even more
You can experiment with alternative templates and methodologies after you have a headless commerce system in place. For example, while running the same frontend search, you may try out a different backend search solution.
As a result, headless commerce enables you to run continuous tests and optimization cycles, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of your customers while learning at a faster rate than other retailers.
Why is the world going headless?
The exponential growth of IoT devices in the market has given the drastic change in customer behavior.
As per the Millennial Shopping Report 2019, a survey was conducted among an average of 1002 youngsters.
The survey was whether they use voice assistance for shopping (like the product search, product review, etc.) or not.
There were 45% of the youngsters stated that they use voice assist for their online purchases.
But the game is not just for the Google Home Assist or Amazon Echo. The Headless eCommerce helps you target the different screens like the smart wearable devices (through Augmented Reality and Virtual Goggles)
This means that if your website needs to survive in the future. Then you need to connect to multiple channels.
Methodologies for Developing Headless Commerce Backends and Frontends
Headless commerce frontends and backends can builts in a variety of ways.
Methods for Developing a Headless Commerce Backend
The backend serves as a solution that works across all devices in the headless commerce strategy. You can create a backend in a variety of ways, depending on the type of business or website you have.
If you have a one-of-a-kind solution,
Let’s pretend you run a large-scale eCommerce company. Your shop builds on a proprietary platform that you’ve been working on for over a decade. Moving to headless commerce is a road to progress and the future for such businesses.
Yet, to make the changeover, your bespoke platform will have a microservice architecture, which will be the foundation for the headless.
It makes no difference what programming language your store employs. To make it headless, you’ll need to separate the store’s layers and put each one in its own Docker container.
When is it appropriate to proceed with this scenario?
- Building headless commerce this way is only workable for a large company if your store is really specialized. That is, it has some unique solutions that are built only for your company.
- You can also go this route if shifting to a solution like Magento is ineffective in your situation.
Fortunately, you may rebuild your website piece by piece without disrupting critical activities.
Using a third-party platform with editable/accessible code
eCommerce stores build on a variety of platforms. We’ll look at those that let you edit the source code in the backend.
Adobe Commerce (Magento 2)
Adobe Commerce allows developers to create custom apps that are very flexible and tailored to the demands of the consumer.
This personalization can aid through experimentation. Magento allows for experimentation because the systems separate and do not interfere with each other’s activities.
The decoupled architecture allows for the rapid addition of new features and integrations.
The inventory management tools in Magento allow you to ship inventory to the appropriate store at the appropriate time. It allows you to track inventory levels propers across different locations such as warehouses, stores, dropshippers and more.
You can get a live count of your stock that can sell. It also allows you to customize management settings on a global, source and product level.
Headless eCommerce on Shopify allows you to isolate your frontend design from your backend infrastructure, allowing you to publish to any channel and turn each device into a platform for your business.
With a web app that interacts like a true mobile app, it can also help you speed up your site’s performance.
Many Headless Frameworks Support
React is incredible not only because of its lightning-fast performance but also because of its component-based architecture.
Because of this architecture, React unlocks all its power when used with a CMS, because the developer will design and construct real reusable components.
As a result, growing and maintaining the codebase is easier because no material is hard-coded. Food advisor, our official demo website, constructs in this manner.
GraphQL and React
Improve the speed of your React application by fetching data faster and more effectively.
Both intended to address the issue of organizing structured content in a simple and understandable manner.
The simplest method to keep track of your material
- Create content frameworks that adapt to your needs with ease. You may easily construct models and add relations to create rich layout experiences regardless of whether the data structure is ideal for your organization.
- Write, edit, and manage any form of material with ease.
- Build apps and digital experiences quickly and easily without the hassles of a CMS.
- Use REST or GraphQL to consume the API from Vue.
There are many advantages of using Vue.
Small: This framework is only 18–21KB in size, thus downloading and using it takes no time.
Easy to comprehend: It has a well-defined architecture that separates your data, life-cycle methods, and custom methods.
It also contains several fantastic features, including watchers, computed properties, and directives, that makes developing a modern web application a snap.
Tools like templating engines, CSS pre-processors, and type checking tools like Typescript are also relatively simple to add and work with.
Gatsby is a lightning-quick React site generator.
Why should you go with Gatsby?
Create quickly. Iterate more frequently.
Gatsby allows you to quickly create a comprehensive website.
Gatsby makes certain that apps are adequately optimized.
By default, security is enabled.
Your website is statically displayed. There will be no malicious requests, DDOS attempts, or unintentional disclosure as a result of this.
Next.js is a lightweight framework for both server-rendered and statically exported React applications. Among other things, it can develop progressive web apps, server-rendered apps, and static websites.
Webkul and Next.js are now official Vercel partners. We can now develop the headless frontend in a more effective way with the assistance of the Next.js team.
Why choose Next.js?
There is no need for a server-side language, and your attack surface area reduces.
You can use Next.js indefinitely and scale it as your business grows.
Methods for Developing a Headless Commerce Frontend
Fortunately, creating a headless commerce frontend makes everything a lot easier! As previously said, headless commerce frontends create separately for different devices.
Modern technology uses to create frontends for headless commerce, such as:
- Application Programming Interface (API) capable;
- Allows you to implement what you require for each platform in the least amount of time possible.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common development paths. We’ve separated them into frontend types to make things easier.
a) For normal web browsers
A progressive framework is typically used to build the frontend for normal browsers. VueJS, ReactJS, and AngularJS are examples of such frameworks.
b) For mobile phones and tablets
Other options for creating native apps include:
- Flutter (a Google UI toolkit for building apps from a single codebase);
- React Native (a Facebook-developed mobile app framework);
- Along with others.
Listing Benefits of using Headless eCommerce
Presentation Layer: If we talk about a custom-built front-end or a CMS. The only focus is to deliver the content/data to the end-user. This help in improving the performance and reducing the complexity.
Ease of Custom Built: It is easier to add custom functionality to any extent. Functionalities like adding properties or changing layout of template etc.
Flexible in terms of design and format: No restriction based on the strength or weakness of eCommerce platforms. Some of the major Platforms like Magento and OpenCart etc.
Faster After Development: With headless eCommerce, developers can change the front-end without worrying about altering the back-end logic, making it possible to push swift updates to the website.
What Challenges Does Headless Commerce Pose?
To be fair, not all headless commerce systems are flawless. To address the disadvantages, becoming headless is a lengthy process that will need both time and money.
The shift to headless may be difficult if your online business is complex and currently runs on a large-scale traditional commerce system. Why? Mostly owing to the monolithic architecture’s limitations.
As a result, you’ll need a well-thought-out strategy to avoid extending the project’s timeframe.
The good news is that you can manage the “reconstruction” one piece at a time, allowing you to “progress” gradually. You might also consider using pre-built integrations and ready-to-use third-party solutions to save time.
Is headless commerce not the ideal answer for your firm in which cases?
To some extent, it depends on the notion you suggest when you say “headless eCommerce.” For example, you may suggest a comprehensive and complex microservices architecture that enables you to deal with a large number of devices.
You don’t need headless in the broad sense if you operate a small online retail firm and the majority of your clients buy products in your store using specific devices (for example, cellphones or desktop PCs).
You have the option of getting a progressive web application in this instance. A PWA will assist you in improving your store and obtaining more orders from mobile devices (check out these PWA examples for some inspiration). This is an excellent first step toward going headless.
If your eCommerce firm is large enough, you might tempt to put off the shift to headless. The lack of resources could be one of the explanations (time, budget, or anything else).
In truth, your company is vying for a larger portion of the market. You want to capture as many clients as you can. As a result, transitioning to headless is the only way to stay competitive in the long run. You can, however, start small.
Now it’s your turn.
Your immediate main goal, regardless of the size of your eCommerce business, is to get the most out of your store’s desktop and mobile versions.
You can also do some “revolutionizing” of your architecture by doing some preliminary work. In this manner, you’ll be able to add new touchpoints as needed in the future.
What should you do first? You might begin by purchasing a progressive web application, which will assist you in optimizing your store for both desktop and mobile devices. The procedure entails converting the backend to communicate through APIs.
After some time, it will lay the framework for your architecture to handle new revenue streams. It can also give you a competitive advantage today and in the future.
Headless commerce is a decoupled solution that improves the consumer experience as well as the business chain. This approach enables your brands to react more quickly without having to rebuild anything, while still generating revenue.
It’s nearly impossible to deny that headless commerce is the way of the future and that getting on board is the best option for brands and enterprises.
To know more about the headless, you can contact us at https://webkul.uvdesk.com/en/customer/create-ticket/.