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Everything You Need To Know About Headless ecommerce

Everything You Need To Know About Headless ecommerce

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Updated: December 15, 2021

With the introduction of eCommerce, buyers were introduced to a whole new way of shopping. Now, everything that they need is, quite literally, at their fingertips. It opened up several opportunities to sell products online with minimum investment for business owners.

Of course, there is a flip side to this. With more convenience comes more competition. The only way out is to give your customers the best shopping experience to stay ahead of the game. If you run an eCommerce business, it is time to leap into headless e-commerce.

In the paragraphs below, you will learn all about how to use this advanced eCommerce technology to help your business reach its best potential.

 

1. What is headless eCommerce?
What-is-headless-eCommerce

 

ECommerce has two components- the front end and the back end. The front end is what your customer sees. This includes the UI/UX, social commerce, Internet of Things, and the digital marketplace. The backend is the inventory, the code, and other processes that help you execute each order successfully.

Now, with most CMS platforms, the frontend and backend are integrated. So, any changes to one of the two require adjustments in the other.

With headless eCommerce, the frontend is separated from the backend. This means that you can make any number of changes without disturbing the backend. As a result, you can create better and more unique experiences for all your users.

Headless eCommerce architecture aims to help push any content or data to different platforms through APIs. APIs or Application Programming Interface allows different apps to communicate with each other.

In this type of approach, the primary architecture is focused on the background processes. All the data is fed to different frontend applications using eCommerce APIs. Any backend program such as pricing, security, and infrastructure runs in the background. The communication between the frontend and backend is through dedicated APIs.

Components of headless eCommerce architecture 

The whole architecture of headless eCommerce consists of a few systems:

  • The backend database has different content types, including images and written copy.
  • A separate management system for inventory is synced with the backend database.
  • Payment processing platforms
  • Multi-channel security
  • Customer relationship management systems.

Information is pulled from specific systems for every action using an API. Unlike regular CMS, headless eCommerce does not simply push content into multiple channels. The biggest advantage of headless eCommerce is scalability. With individual components, you have the flexibility to incorporate several new elements into your program to create an experience-based product.

2. How It is different from the Traditional eCommerce


Traditional-ecommerce

With traditional eCommerce, all the systems are packaged together. They are straightforward to set up and mostly run on pre-included tools. The backend database stores the code for the design and plugins, along with the content.

This puts a limitation on the customization. Even though a few elements may be edited, the process is very time-consuming. This can cause a failure in the system and processes, which leads to heavy losses for the business owner.

To understand the advantages of headless eCommerce, let us compare it with traditional commerce.

There are three primary differences: 

  • The scalability offered by headless eCommerce is more superior
    With headless eCommerce, frontend developers have the advantage of pulling content from the backend system. This can be done through APIs and frameworks based on the layout and the delivery required. Whenever a new trend emerges, or any business wishes to maximize the usage of an existing channel, customized delivery models can be created to get all the products and content to the desired endpoint.
  • Content delivery is faster.
    Although traditional eCommerce has more systems than traditional commerce, the delivery of content is much faster. All the data can be pushed and pulled from APIs without interference with other codes and processes. The front end only uses necessary content and nothing more. Additionally, resources are not shared when you make use of headless eCommerce. This is not true of coupled systems or traditional eCommerce. As a result, you experience some slowing down when the traffic hits its peak.
  • Security is better with headless eCommerce
    When using a networked environment, it is strongly advised that you keep all your business systems separate. You also need very precise ACLs or access control lists to prevent other users and systems access. Inherently, headless eCommerce uses different systems working in sync with each other. This prevents the chances of compromising any account. As a result, you can prevent security breaches or glitches in the overall process.

3. How to get started with headless eCommerce?
How-to-get-started-with-headless-eCommerce

 

When you opt for headless eCommerce, you must remember that it is not a mere change in the software or systems. Your entire team needs to understand that it is a cultural shift.

To have a successful headless eCommerce system, you must build, deploy, improve and consistently support the system. Here are a few steps to follow to shift to headless eCommerce,

Make the cultural shift. 

  • Put a team together to manage the experience and services layer and the infrastructure. You can use a consultant who can take some responsibilities of the eCommerce vendor.
  • Make a complete roadmap for the experience technology that addresses different ways in which the data and content must be surfaced. This includes IoT, glass, etc. )
  • Identify the underlying capabilities of the platform to personalize the content to the best capacity.
  • Choose a primary framework or library for the front end which your entire team is comfortable with.

Change the methodology of implementation. 

  • Create a UI Toolkit using reusable web components.
  • Break down your traditional or monolithic architecture into various functional services that can be integrated with the APIs of an eCommerce engine.
  • Build and design secure, well-documented, and discoverable APIs with gateways such as Mulesoft.
  • Make use of Connectors and Accelerators that are prebuilt for e-commerce experience and features to reduce the time taken for the conversion.
  • Create front-end applications so that they are decoupled from the other systems that feed them content through various interfaces.

Other considerations 

  • A caching layer is a good inclusion to ensure optimized performance.
  • A CD/ CI pipeline is highly recommended through code testing, scanning, and security testing. You can use QA automation for this purpose too.
  • SEO considerations are necessary for best performance.

4. Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business
Choosing-the-right-eCommerce-platform-for-your-business

 

Although there are new inclusions in the market almost every day, some eCommerce platforms are best suited for your business compared to others.

When choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business, just going for the most popular one is not a good idea. Make sure that the platform can deliver your expectations for your eCommerce business.

Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect eCommerce platform for your business.

  • Ensure that the vendor has enough experience and expertise to meet your specific requirements.
  • If things go wrong, your vendor should be able to provide you with emergency support. One that has the option of 24×7 customer support is your best bet.
  • Scalability is often overlooked in the initial stages of the business. Your eCommerce portal should be able to support the growth of your business without any issues.
  • Look for an eCommerce platform that comes with good SEO features. This lets your business rank high on search engines.
  • A mobile-friendly platform is a must. Since most buyers make purchases on their smartphones, you need a platform compatible with multiple operating systems.
  • Security is undoubtedly the most important feature for any eCommerce website. Since you are likely to receive a lot of sensitive information from buyers, you should opt for a platform with good security features.
  • Lastly, the budget that you have for building and maintaining the eCommerce platform is also important to keep in mind.

5. How to get the most out of your headless 
How-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-headless

 

Headless eCommerce is a sizeable investment and shift in how your business operates. Many use cases show how headless eCommerce can be used to make your user experience better each time:

  • Customize the front end for different regions
  • You can overcome language barriers by translating the content before pushing it out through different APIs.
  • Use different designs or experiences for different delivery systems.
  • Separation of the front-end and the back end also allows regular user inputs and interaction.
  • Integrate headless eCommerce with traditional eCommerce to achieve specific endpoints.

If you are running an eCommerce business, consider choosing headless eCommerce. Bitcot provides you with complete support to enable the switch. We help you choose the right platform and hire the right technical personnel to create a seamless headless eCommerce platform that matches your business aspirations.

 

 

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    Raj Sanghvi BitCot CEO

    Author: Raj Sanghvi

    Raj Sanghvi is a technologist and founder of BitCot, a full-service award-winning software development company. With over 15 years of innovative coding experience creating complex technology solutions for businesses like IBM, Sony, Nissan, Micron, Dicks Sporting Goods, HDSupply, Bombardier and more, Sanghvi helps build for both major brands and entrepreneurs to launch their own technologies platforms.

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