Is It Time to Lose Your Head?

Why headless commerce might be the right choice for your website

If you’re using your head, you may be headless already—on your ecommerce platform, that is. 

Headless commerce is another example of the lightspeed pace of evolution in the ecommerce realm. A few years ago, it was an interesting new development. Today, it’s an established ecommerce option embraced by a growing number of brands and retailers.

Why? Enhanced flexibility and speed in updating content are the primary attractions. Expanded consumer contact and engagement are also factors. Headless platforms allow quick responses to shifting market conditions and consumer tastes, potentially improving user experience. 

So just what is headless commerce? In basic terms, the approach decouples the front and back ends of platforms, allowing them to function with greater independence. In other words, client-side code is split from server-side code. User interfaces—what the customer sees when visiting a website—are thus liberated from the platform’s back-end architecture, allowing for easy inclusion of new features and rapid updating of existing functionality. This helps brands improve their customer journeys, reduces website management costs, and allows brands and retailers to stay timely, relevant—and most critically—profitable.

The traditional or “full-service” approach to ecommerce—i.e., the model in which the back end and front ends are very tightly coupled—is still favored by many businesses, particularly at the enterprise scale. Headless commerce functionality can be hobbled by content management system (CMS) limits to third-party tool integration; implementation costs for a headless deployment may also be comparatively high.

There is no one-size-fits-all headless formula; at its core, headless commerce is a customized undertaking. Find your perfect fit.

But as the digital marketplace evolves, many businesses are looking for alternatives to traditional ecommerce architecture. Full-featured ecommerce timelines typically are slower to market, meaning that sales opportunities, customer loyalty, and revenues can be lost and innovation inhibited.

Headless platforms, on the other hand, allow retailers and brands to add and integrate content quickly across all touchpoints through powerful application programming interfaces (APIs). There are no constraints on design, the consumer experience can be highly customized, and front-end changes can be made quickly and smoothly. 

Not surprisingly, converting to a headless CMS is a complex and demanding initiative. Most retailers and brands lack the requisite in-house talent and require highly skilled ecommerce partners to implement their projects. Also, businesses should objectively evaluate their in-house capabilities for running a headless operation; managing multiple tools to manage a site can be a formidable challenge, so an ecommerce collaborator may be optimal here as well. 

In any case, your partners should demonstrate more than a thorough grounding in the basic processes of headless commerce: they must be fully up-to-speed on the latest practices. Composable commerce—the use of modular packaged business capabilities (PBCs)—is a case in point. PBCs are specialized software components that encompass specific business capabilities, and their appropriate employment can maximize the performance and appeal of your platform while simultaneously cutting development costs.

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But while PBCs are useful in designing headless solutions, every retailer and brand will have different priorities. There is no one-size-fits-all headless formula; at its core, headless commerce is a customized undertaking. Your ecommerce partner must be able to astutely divine your needs and design the headless solution that precisely meets your goals.

Headless commerce is one of Astound Commerce’s core competencies. As your partner, we thoroughly analyze your business and the positive and negative attributes of your existing technology platforms. We review your competition and determine what they are doing wrong—and right. Then we work closely with you to architect, plan, and implement the headless solution that vaults you to the pole position in your sector’s pack.

Moreover, we are agnostic about solution definition. While we are acknowledged experts in applying Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC), we aim to deliver the best customer experience to our clients, regardless of platform. It may be SFCC, it may be other solutions, or it may be a combination of approaches. In sum, we are unsurpassed in building and integrating headless platforms. Each build is unique—and as our record attests, all have dramatically boosted customer satisfaction and company revenues.

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Stanislav Publika

Stanislav Publika is technical director at Astound Commerce UK.