Mach One Conference

28 & 29 June / London MACH ONE Conference

Headless Commerce is getting more and more accessible

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Headless Commerce is getting more and more accessible

In modern eCommerce, the user experience is crucial as a coherent, well-designed shopping path, which increasingly includes elements such as social media that significantly influence conversion rate. And yet, it is extremely tough to meet ever-changing customer expectations, especially while struggling with a legacy eCommerce system. That is why Headless Commerce is gaining momentum and slowly but surely paving its paths to the mainstream.

Headless Commerce is - in essence - a new approach to building software architecture where all services - not only the frontend and backend - are separated and "talks" to each other via API.

In practice, it means that headless platforms (backend) come without an external layer, a graphical interface, i.e., the head (frontend). The external bodiless frontend communicates with the headless platform via API. Also, it can be connected with any other 3rd party services such as Headless CMS, payment, search, loyalty programs, etc.

The crucial element is the API, which connects the individual pieces to an entire ecosystem. The core advantage of this approach is that every piece can be replaced at any given moment without rebuilding the entire system.


Headless Commerce is about to reshape the eCommerce industry


Decoupled services ensure the future-proof aspects of the software. Merchants can flexibly align the system to their current business needs by adding and removing 3rd party services without worrying that today's decisions will backfire tomorrow. They are never doomed to one particular tech vendor. Instead, they can cherry-pick from the best ones in the particular niche.

That is general and not arguably the most important benefit, but there are more while lowering to specifics.

Since the frontend and backend work separately, there is a much lower risk of errors when implementing any modifications. Changes in one layer do not affect the elements of the other. It makes the whole system much more flexible, as


  • frontend and backend specialists can work independently of each other; frontend devs can implement quick updates, and backends' constantly take care of the system stability

The flexibility of the frontend layer implies, however, another pro:


  • marketers can manage (update and publish) content without the support of the frontend devs through the UX-friendly Headless CMS dashboard

The general concerns around Headless Commerce were mainly about money, as in the past, to have a bodiless frontend, it had to be built from scratch. That, in turn, required a lot of time and money. Of course, the overall cost of creation depended mainly on the number of modules, the type of technology, and the ability to manage each element, but still, it was not easy nor cheap.

However, the entry threshold for using headless technology is getting lower every year, as the landscape of Headless Commerce solutions is growing and they become more and more accessible.

Merchants do not have to opt for a comprehensive migration right away; they can stay with the blackened they already have, add bodiless frontend, and see if it works for their marketing and dev's, or - if their business logic is complicated, product catalog - extended and marketing activities very unique - they can go full headless, replace backend, fronted, and add a variety of 3rd party services. What is important - they don't have to do all of it at once.


Headless Commerce can be for the biggest players looking for future-proof, high-performance solutions


An example of using the "full headless" approach is LoveCrafts, a sales and community platform. Initially, it decided to replace the monolithic version of Magento 1 with the second version, yet, it soon became apparent that switching to this version wouldn't necessarily be smoother than switching to a completely different vendor. Therefore, the search for a suitable platform continued.

It was essential to the brand that their application offered users easy performance from the front end, while the back end had to solve the problems of finding information and storing business logic. After analyzing dozens of options, commercetools was the final choice.

LoveCrafts knew from the start that choosing commercetools would require selecting the proper frontend, and Vue Storefront turned out to be the only serious contender. There was no other frontend solution that offered the flexibility the company was looking for.

This combination was just the beginning, while API-first solutions allowed customization of other elements of the eCommerce puzzle, such as checkout and other modules. The headless approach proved an evident success here. The numbers speak for themselves - conversion rates increased by 3% and traffic on mobile devices by 30%.

LoveCrafts Case Study



Headless Commerce may also be suitable for smaller businesses looking to expand their UX and marketing capabilities


Another example of a move to headless technology is Pure Daily Care, an LA-based beauty and wellness brand. It had an established sales position on Amazon but wanted to move to its platform to empower its name.

Pure Daily Care's website needed to be fresh, friendly, and able to shape the customer experience according to modern eCommerce standards across all possible channels and necessary tools such as - for example - loyalty programs. It was a must, mainly because the target audience of Pure Daily Care is very tech and social media savvy, and the skincare products have many features that need to be presented in a specific - informative but also user-friendly - way.

The company chose Shopify because of its ease of use and low barrier entry. However, due to Shopify's frontend limitations (it is pretty generic and, therefore, the customer experience cannot be outstanding), the team was looking for a solution that would give them the freedom to showcase their content. They chose VueStorefront and Contentful CMS, and it turned out very soon (as the implementation took just eight weeks) that this set has produced fantastic results. The conversion in the mobile version increased by a whole 23% and the sales by 130%.

Pure Daily Care Case Study

Summary

Headless Commerce is perfect for all businesses that want to ensure flexibility and scalability, kick off non-standard marketing activities, and implement an omnichannel strategy while saving hundreds of development hours.