What is Headless Commerce? And Why Does Your E-commerce Business Need It?

Thanks to e-commerce providers like Shopify, headless commerce is changing the way customers experience shopping online.

But what exactly is headless commerce, and why has it become the new standard?

Project-managers-in-training learn early on that project timelines rise and fall on contingencies. In other words, specific tasks must occur before specialists complete the next critical task. One milestone delay can spoil the budget and timeline of an entire project.

In the world of digital transformation, delays cost companies thousands and millions. Precision AND speed are essential.

But what if building an e-commerce project (specifically) had the digital capacity to run two critical tasks simultaneously? Thanks to headless commerce, it can.

What is Headless Commerce?

As with any disruptive software platform, to define headless commerce means alienating the average vendor with programmatic jargon. So at the risk of oversimplifying, headless commerce occurs when the front-facing digital storefront exists separately from the back-end platform.

The genius behind headless commerce is its ability to integrate front-end and back-end platforms while designers and developers manage them independently. An application programming interface (API) oversees these two platforms to ensure optimum performance and integration.

Giving Your Digital Storefront What It Needs Most

For digital storefronts, adding a new e-commerce touchpoint used to mean investing in a new digital storefront. The path toward multichannel meant building separate systems for mobile devices, websites, and even brick-and-mortar stores.

The critical fallout in multichannel marketing meant that these different digital storefronts failed to work together without significant investments into integration services.

With headless commerce, creating multiple e-commerce touchpoints becomes cheaper and more agile. Multiple platforms talk to each other seamlessly for instantaneous upgrades and new content. Headless commerce keeps all touchpoints consistent so that consumers feel supported while shopping on their mobile devices, computers, or in person.

As a result of headless commerce, multichannel becomes omnichannel. Consumers get to experience digital storefronts as genuinely being the same everywhere and all at once.

The Role of Shopify in Headless Commerce

Shopify is a Canadian software company that launched in 2004. After trying to create the perfect online store, Shopify founders were frustrated at the lack of e-commerce support.

With a mission to “make commerce better for everyone,” Shopify seeks to help vendors of all tech skill levels create online stores customized to their CMS platforms and target audience.

Among the most well-known retailers using Shopify are Red Bull, Heinz, BBC, and The Economist.

Leading agencies with full omnichannel capabilities also prefer Shopify. From the leading CMS platforms (like WordPress) to marketing automation tools (like HubSpot and GRIN), Shopify perfectly embodies headless commerce and integrates with all leading CMS and CRM platforms.

That’s also why Exobyte uses Shopify when creating digital storefronts for clients. Shopify’s API supports e-commerce ventures of all shapes and sizes.

The Top 5 Benefits of Headless Commerce

From a purely back-end developer standpoint, headless commerce allows experts to maintain infrastructural improvements without negatively impacting the design and look of a website or app.

But on a more practical level, headless commerce simplifies the process of online shopping in five key ways.

Better Presentation Control of All Customer Touchpoints

E-commerce brands can make design changes to any one of their online stores without having to submit work orders to their developers.

Also, back-end changes don’t impact the look and feel of an online store’s appearance to shoppers. Headless commerce ensures that a branded online presence remains as dynamic as the site designer’s talents allow while maintaining the best possible functionality.

Save Money and Time

In a multichannel e-commerce setup, brands must invest an ungodly amount of resources to create a new consumer touchpoint and then integrate that channel with pre-existing channels. Additionally, minor design changes (such as CSS) can take weeks, since one “minor” change can set off a domino reaction of system errors.

Headless commerce removes the need for such heartache. Content management teams are not held hostage to back-end infrastructure, and vice versa.

Improved User Experience (UX Design)

Headless commerce means that web pages load faster. It also means that each digital storefront can process requests with a far less chance of error messages or lost data.

No Need to Migrate Content to a New System

Imagine how disenchanting it feels to spend thousands of dollars building an online presence, only to find out that it doesn’t support your e-commerce vision. Migrating your content from one system to another delays your store upgrade and costs you more money than you bargained for.

Headless commerce allows you to keep your current content management system (CMS) without impacting your ability to transact with more customers across more channels. You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar venture to scale your e-commerce business.

More Omnichannel Capabilities

Omnichannel marketing is what consumers expect in the 21st Century. When one digital platform looks and acts differently from another platform, consumers grow anxious and impatient.

Headless commerce makes full omnichannel marketing possible. You can assist your customers more efficiently, and infrastructural changes can integrate with each front-facing digital storefront instantly.

Headless Commerce: A Recap

Building an online store that can keep up with digital trends is notably more achievable with the help of headless commerce.

Without a clue as to what headless commerce is, consumers magically find greater pleasure in the online shopping experience. Detaching an online store’s presentation from back-end development makes this shopping experience possible.

More importantly, brands wanting to remain on the cutting edge of omnichannel marketing depend upon the advantages that headless commerce has to offer. E-commerce providers like Shopify are doing more for developers without forcing vendors to invest money and time they don’t have in order to remain competitive.