A headless strategy can have many advantages, but is it right for everyone?
Because it involves maintaining a more complex infrastructure (headless) than buying all components from the same supplier (monolithic approach), assembling a headless eCommerce or accounting commerce solution based on a collection of microservices requires long-term thought and commitment.
Designing a headless eCommerce site
To fully understand the implications behind creating a bespoke headless experience, here are the elements and solutions that are typically put in place:
- Build or buy a custom-coded storefront;
- Build or buy a content management system (CMS);
- Buy a content delivery network (CDN);
- Buy or create hosting for your storefront;
- Buy or build a CI/CD tool to build a hosted storefront;
- Build a storefront management interface;
- Create hooks and integrations to connect your headless storefront to your back-end platform.
Note that some of these elements are sometimes combined within the same solution. For example, if you decide to purchase a CMS in SaaS mode, hosting will normally be included. It’s also important to consider existing integrations between different platforms. They facilitate and accelerate the integration of different elements, as well as reducing the risk.
Headless, an option worth considering
Here are a few statements to guide your thinking. If you answer “yes” to more than one of these statements, headless is potentially for you:
- I feel we’re moving more slowly than our competitors because I can’t make front-end and back-end adjustments simultaneously;
- I want my shopping experience to be fast for all buyers, and to have more precise control over the elements that affect site performance and speed;
- I already have an established infrastructure and it’s not always easy to reformat or integrate another tool into our existing technology;
- I don’t have a native mobile app for iOS or Android, or my mobile shopping app isn’t user-friendly enough;
- My site theme or template isn’t as customizable as I’d like;
- I want to create and launch localized sites from a single back-end;
- I want to create a unique commerce experience that isn’t possible with my current platform.
The challenges of Composable and Headless Commerce
Because of the number of different components to be set up separately, Composable Commerce presents certain challenges that can affect profitability and complicate operations:
- API and user interface (UI) synchronization is more complex;
- The level of complexity of API gateways is much higher;
- Limitation policies from different suppliers need to be managed;
- It requires a much higher level of security policies and processes;
- Additional suppliers increase instability and scalability risks;
- API gateway costs increase as you add new suppliers. And they’re not easy to predict;
- Having to manage API changes from multiple suppliers;
- Because the technology is newer, there are fewer agencies and fewer qualified professionals;
- It’s a solution that gives you a lot of freedom, but not necessarily agility. You’re free to change them, but this can involve complex operations;
- New projects or functionalities are more difficult to implement, as they may require customization and configuration by several suppliers.
Some of the aspects of a business that are impacted by Composable Commerce are:
- Multiple back-ends;
- Decentralized customer service to support the various component suppliers;
- The purchasing department handles a number of contracts with various component suppliers;
- Lack of standardization of concepts and terminologies require centralized documentation of multi-vendor concepts.
The benefits of Composable Commerce and Headless eCommerce
The Headless eCommerce approach combined with the Composable Commerce concept offers many advantages for companies seeking greater flexibility and customization. Here are just a few of them:
Flexibility and customization
With Headless eCommerce and Composable Commerce, you have total flexibility to design and personalize every aspect of your customer experience. You can choose the best tools and technologies for each component of your system, according to your specific needs. This enables you to create unique and differentiated experiences, tailored to your brand and your customers.
Scalability and upgradability
Thanks to the Headless eCommerce approach and Composable Commerce, you can easily scale your system by adding or replacing components as needed. You’re not limited by a monolithic architecture, so you can adapt your eCommerce platform as your business grows and evolves. You can integrate new functionalities, connect third-party services and respond rapidly to market changes, while ensuring optimum performance. It’s also a highly advantageous solution in a context of internationalization.
Reuse of resources
With Headless eCommerce and Composable Commerce, you can efficiently reuse your resources. Microservices and APIs enable you to share functionality and data between different channels and applications. For example, you can use the same back-end to power your website, mobile app and other sales platforms. This promotes consistency and simplifies the management of your eCommerce operations.
Consistent cross-channel experiences
Headless eCommerce and Composable Commerce enable you to deliver consistent experiences across different channels and devices. You can adapt your content, presentation and functionality to suit the specificities of each channel, while maintaining a centralized database and consistent business logic. This ensures that your customers enjoy a smooth, seamless experience, no matter how they interact with your brand.
To understand the concepts of unified and omnichannel commerce.
In conclusion, the headless approach to eCommerce offers many opportunities for companies seeking more granular control over their online shopping experience. However, it also presents challenges and complexities that it’s essential to consider before taking the plunge. Our specialized eCommerce agency is here to support you in this transition to a headless approach, offering expertise and solutions tailored to your specific needs.