The world of e-commerce and online selling changes fast. New technologies and new products make existing ways of doing business redundant in a matter of a few months.

These changes, whether self-imposed or driven by consumer preferences, need to be implemented fast. Traditionally, it involves carrying out big and small changes in the front-end and the back-end of your entire e-commerce system.

In the traditional e-commerce systems, front-end and back-end are tied together. If you make any changes to one side of your system, complementary changes need to be carried out to the other side, increasing your cost and effort manyfold.

Is there a way of keeping front-end and back-end separated from each other and still allow them to seamlessly communicate with each other?

Yes. It is called headless commerce.

What is headless e-commerce?

Headless commerce is, in simple terms, the opposite of the problem mentioned above. You should be able to make changes to your front-end and back-end without having to make changes to the other side. This is what headless commerce does for you. It is a separation of the front-end and the back-end of your e-commerce application. The architecture of a headless commerce setup allows you to use front-end and back-end independently through the use of APIs and tools like Heroku and Mulesoft.

The head, in this case, is the front-end.

It is called headless commerce because irrespective of whether the “head” exists or not, the entire e-commerce system exists and readily provides information through compatible tools.

Think of Drupal, for example. It is a content management system that millions of websites use as a back-end. You can use themes and templates with Drupal and as long as these themes and templates can communicate with the basic Drupal structure, things can run smoothly.

The Drupal team keeps on adding new features without bothering about hundreds of thousands of themes and templates out there.

Developers can develop themes and templates in whichever manner they want as long as they stick to the guidelines of the Drupal framework.

Explore our Drupal development services.

In the same vein, as long as your front-end can talk to the basic e-commerce framework (the back-end), you’re good to go.

In headless commerce development, the back-end is a set of applications that provides data to various front-end tools through simple API integration.

Some of the major e-commerce platforms that have embraced headless commerce include Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce.

How headless commerce is transforming online selling

Headless commerce allows your business to quickly adapt to and support new technologies. Since you’re not bothered by the back-end, all the changes that you want to implement, you can implement them on the front-end.

This “front-end” can be an e-commerce website shopping cart interface, an e-commerce mobile app or a voice-enabled online retail application.

Headless commerce is a win-win technology for all stakeholders. Front-end developers can quickly contemporise their interfaces without worrying about communicating with the back-end data.

The back-end developers can focus on adding new features to their core applications without having to worry about modifying the front-end to accommodate the changes.

Users get to use the latest features and shop easily.

Listed below are a few ways headless commerce is transforming online shopping.

  • Decreased time to market: Since you don’t need to take care of both ends of the spectrum, you can simply focus on either developing the back-end or the front-end, rest assured that the rest of the pieces will fall in place on their own.
  • Unlimited customization: Since you don’t need to worry about the back-end, you can do customization at the front-end to your heart’s content whether you are developing a web interface, a mobile app or a hybrid application.
  • Conversion optimization: For optimization, you have to try various options. Without headless commerce, it would be a humongous task to try out various aspects of e-commerce because you will need to implement all-encompassing changes. But with headless commerce, you only need to make changes to just one side, giving you a speedy implementation and hence, more conversion optimization options.
  • Easier integration: Would you like your customers to be able to purchase items through your chatbot or your instant messaging app rather than an e-commerce website? Do you want to integrate your shopping cart into smart appliances connected through the Internet of Things so that they can place orders automatically? Do you want people to be able to purchase right through your email campaign? You simply have to make API calls to the headless commerce back-end system and create smaller routines to handle purchases from within the current app.
  • Take your business mobile quickly: According to Statista, 67.2% e-commerce originates from mobile phones in 2019 and the figure is predicted to reach 72.9% in 2021. It means that if you haven’t made your e-commerce business mobile-friendly, two years ago was the right time, but any time you start is a good time. With headless commerce, if you use a cloud-based service, all you have to worry about is creating a mobile interface to facilitate easier shopping.

Why many businesses still aren’t using headless commerce in 2019?

There are still many businesses in 2019 that are being run on conventional, non-headless commerce systems simply because they were developed in an era when most of the software was developed keeping PC in mind. Evolution was not as fast as it is these days.

Big e-commerce websites have been set up using the older systems. Shifting to the headless commerce model may require a complete switch from scratch because the back-end needs to be developed independent of the front-end, and vice versa and many businesses fear that humongous effort may be required to make the switch.

Most of it is a misconception. The database is already there. The basic structure is often already there. A little bit of tweaking is required at the back-end level and even legacy systems can be converted into headless commerce systems.

You just need to partner with the right e-commerce development team and your legacy online selling system can be turned into a cutting-edge headless commerce system. Check out our e-commerce development services.

How to switch to headless commerce from your current e-commerce system?

The good thing about contemporary headless commerce systems is that they make switching to them easier. They have been made in such a manner that the data can be easily ported and the basic customization can be easily implemented.

The best and the easiest way forward is to choose the perfect e-commerce development partner who can help you switch to one of the best headless commerce and CMS platforms like Drupal and Magento. As per the link shared above, we have an expertise in Drupal but we provide e-commerce development services using multiple platforms of your choice. We can import your data and set up the needed APIs and libraries to make your back-end seamlessly talk with every possible custom-made or off-the-shelf front-end system.

The biggest benefit of headless commerce is the agility that it gives your business to adapt and adopt quickly. The basic data structure remains the same unless there is a revolutionary change. It is mostly the interface that changes. If you migrate your online sales business to headless commerce system, you don’t need to worry about upgrading your front-end multiple times, even in quick succession is. Let us help you switch to a headless commerce system.

ecommerce expert
Jullie Roslin
Jullie Roslin is the resident E-commerce Expert at Perception System Pvt. Ltd having rich 8 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. She possesses extensive experience working in the technology industries and is responsible for introducing emerging eCommerce trends to the team.