The front end is coupled with the business logic in the back end
However, these requirements can hardly be met with classic e-commerce systems that follow a monolithic approach. The front end is coupled with the business logic in the back end, Adjustments to the design and to the Functions of the online shop therefore always require time-consuming updates of the backend. For decades, this was a viable solution because customers were traveling on a manageable number of channels. But in today’s world, which is characterized by the variety of mobile devices, the digital shopping experience is becoming more and more complex and customer expectations are changing rapidly. The often slow and difficult to scale monolithic systems can no longer keep up with these developments.
Headless Commerce: The basis for a flexible omnichannel strategy
An approach that meets today’s e-commerce challenges far better is headless commerce. An e-commerce platform that follows this approach is characterized by the separation of backend and frontend. While the backend houses the business logic and above all collects, processes and stores data, everything that is important for the user experience can be found in the frontend, the head. An API (Application Programming Interface) ensures that all applications still receive the data they need.
Thanks to the architecture of headless commerce, it does not matter whether it is a web shop, an app, wearables, messenger, chatbot or PWAs: All touchpoints can be flexibly adapted through the decoupled backend, but access the same customer or product – and payment information without affecting the stability of the backend. This means that trends and customer needs can be addressed even more quickly.
An example: A fashion retailer offers its goods both via the web shop and via an app. While the web shop is primarily intended to address an older target group, the app is primarily aimed at a younger audience. Both target groups have very different requirements for their shopping experience, which retailers can easily meet thanks to headless commerce. In this way, the company reaches both target groups without diminishing the success of the other.
High costs for project management and building self-sufficient systems
As a rule of thumb, it can be said that the strengths of a headless architecture pay off all the more, the more heterogeneous the front-end landscape of a retailer is. Headless commerce offers many possibilities and maximum flexibility. Without mandatory requirements, however, this approach is a luxury. The initial costs for project management and the development of self-sufficient systems can be considerable. Also, more focus must be placed on the development of dynamic content in order to fill the front ends with life. In view of the technological and socio-economic change, however, the advantages of headless commerce outweigh the disadvantages.
Nine good reasons for headless commerce
- The future will be shaped through rapidly developing technologies: Headless Commerce is a future-proof architecture that allows you to react quickly to new challenges and changing user habits.
- Customers want to be served more and more individually: A headless architecture is essential for a personalized customer experience. In addition to individual front ends, the system can also display content and products that match the channel.
- Regional is in: However, globalization is advancing inexorably. Anyone who operates an international web shop can control country shops more flexibly with headless commerce.
- Strong brands cannot avoid Always offering their fans new experiences: multistores and multibrands can use headless commerce to make their brand accessible to different target groups with individual heads.
- Speed is King: Slow shops will not survive. Lean headless infrastructures and data exchange via the headless API enable powerful platforms.
- The complexity in e-commerce will continue to grow: With headless commerce, projects can be broken down into manageable parts; Dependencies can be simplified and unwanted interactions during updates or changes can be avoided.
- Essential integration of third-party systems: This enables dealers to establish new business processes in line with the new business models. Headless commerce is made for the connection to third-party systems such as ERP, PIM and CRM. Each system can be connected like a head.
- The pressure to work economically is increasing: Headless commerce may be associated with higher project costs at the beginning, but it quickly pays for itself in the follow-up project costs. Because these are becoming smaller, more flexible and more manageable.
- There are not enough developers available on the job market: More agile and smaller projects accommodate the skills shortage. Sub-tasks can be better prioritized and transferred to different developers.
Sustaining the market with headless commerce
Retailers who have ambitious goals, who want to be leaders in a segment, who want to be successful in the market in the long term and who want to leave the competition behind, will not get around headless commerce. Who knows, maybe in a few years we will be talking about a completely new technology that will overshadow everything that has come before. At the moment, however, headless commerce is the hot topic for everyone who wants to be successful in this market.