Headless technology, as a relatively new wave in software development, separates the user interface (frontend) layer from the business logic (backend) layer on a website. With this concept, the business gets countless opportunities for customization. They can build platforms that follow the current trends and meet the ever-changing needs of their target audience. Even well-established brands get startup-like flexibility and ease of management.
The meaning of headless technology is vague and a bit mysterious for business people, who don’t quite understand tech developers’ buzzwords. But when they realize what headless eCommerce is, they see how it enables their brands to meet user expectations and beat competitors through individualization and customization.
Let’s be honest: online retailers don’t need to know how headless eCommerce works under the surface. They should focus on the way it changes the eCommerce industry, so they can decide whether or not to rely on it. Let’s cover that part!
A comparison between traditional vs. headless commerce clarifies why many experts agree that headless platforms are the future of online retailing. The traditional model is monolithic. The online store’s frontend presentation (which includes buttons, tables, graphs, images, styles, text colors, etc) was unified with the backend functionality (security, infrastructure, checkout, pricing, etc). The IT department fully controls the platform. The advantage of this approach is that the platform is easy to set up, and the developers can use pre-installed tools.
However, a monolithic approach is slow in terms of the go-to-market timeline. In addition, it raises the development costs. Headless commerce is much more flexible, as it separates the customer side from the technical side. Developers can choose the optimal frontend technology, and attach a flexible and functional eCommerce solution on the backend.
With headless, businesses can rely on API (Application Programming Interface) to boost eCommerce functionality. The platform is open to extensions without hurting the backend processes.
The market circumstances consistently evolve. But sometimes the changes are quick and dramatic, so online retailers need an immediate reaction. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that. Those brands that could quickly adapt their strategies to the new purchasing behavior stayed competitive.
Headless architecture enables businesses to be more agile in their response to rapid changes. That’s because they can quickly launch frontend content without the need for backend processes, which would cost time and money. Thanks to the fact that businesses can quickly deliver what their consumers need, they can become more competitive thanks to headless technology.
Software based on Application Programming Interface enables speedy information exchange. With solutions driven by that technology, brands can become consumer-driven. They analyze the experience of both loyal and new customers. Thanks to those analytics, they can create the most profitable conversion paths and suggest more products that a particular visitor would consider purchasing.
Headless technology makes data analytics faster, and improves the targeting process. This brings us to the next big business trend: hyper-personalization.
Ecommerce websites target an increasing number of digital touchpoints: smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart appliances, wearables, virtual assistants, chatbots… New touchpoints consistently emerge, so businesses have to be quick in adapting their websites.
Thanks to headless architecture, the consumers can get a truly omnichannel experience with an effortless connection between communication methods. Traditional eCommerce models need more time and countless updates to achieve an effect that’s not as impressive. A headless system pushes the information from the backend to deliver an effective eCommerce experience to any device and screen size. Each channel gets an optimized interface with functional features.
Over the past years, we’ve grown to believe that paid advertising was the only way to acquire new customers. One ad after another, and the acquisition costs became too high for many businesses. The effectiveness of paid media slowly started decreasing (too many competitive brands!) while the costs were continuously rising.
It’s time for that to change, and headless architecture guides businesses in that direction. Now that they can use content-based experiences and better strategizing to drive organic traffic, they can minimize paid advertising. That significantly decreases acquisition costs.
How is this possible? The agility of headless technology enables experimenting with different experiences and trying various templates without costly backend processes. That’s how businesses can predict what content has better chances to result in more conversions. With the effectiveness of these methods, they won’t need to invest in paid advertising that much in the future.
Once the system is set, the headless solution can be easily replicated across the board. The team can quickly perform international SEO. The developers can detach themselves from the commerce engine and focus on customer-facing experiences. By separating the frontend and backend teams, they can work independently without waiting for one another to complete specific tasks.
Thanks to these features, headless technology enables eCommerce brands to deliver their product to the market as quickly as possible. Once the site is launched, the team can deliver unrestricted and quick changes at the front, without investing any time in background changes.
Online retailers need to have more control over the digital shopping experience. They need flexible and adaptable platforms, which can quickly react to change under their instructions. Not all business owners can handle web design, so the headless solution is perfect for them: it separates complex developer processes from the features that they can take under their control.
Online retailers get limitless opportunities to implement changes without re-engineering entire platforms. The business gains independence from developers. The developing team gains advantages, too: they can work on their part of the job without making massive changes to follow the brand’s needs.
Overall, developing teams and business owners can use their time more effectively. The final product is better, and the customer gets a better user experience. That alone is enough to prove that the future of eCommerce is in headless architecture.