Times change and the nature of shopping along with it. As customers demand the best shopping experience, creating an eCommerce website that meets their requirements can be challenging. eCommerce sites need flexibility and performance, no matter the numerous functionalities and customization channels. To make it possible, eCommerce platforms like Shopware provide a headless solution.
“Going headless” has become a trend in the eCommerce world over the last few years. But what’s all that fuss about? In order to understand this phenomenon, the aim of this article is to give insights into a headless solution on eCommerce platforms, present the benefits of this approach, and explain how Shopware stands out as a preferred platform for implementing this approach.
How does headless eCommerce work?
To meet the ever-changing needs of the customers, eCommerce store owners are increasingly going for headless platforms. Let’s take a look and see what exactly “headless” means here.
The term “headless” refers to separating the front-end (the “head”) from the back-end (the “body”). In simpler terms, this means that the presentation layer, which is responsible for the user interface and customer experience (for example, templates or themes), is separated from the layer, which is responsible for the business logic and data management. Although the front-end and back-end are decoupled, they communicate with each other through an application programming interface (API). With a headless solution, businesses can focus on creating a seamless user experience (UX) on the front-end, while the back-end functionality of the platform handles the complex tasks of inventory management, payment processing, etc.
In short, the headless eCommerce is part of a composable commerce approach that includes various types of solutions, including front-end architecture (Front-end as a Service), a headless platform with a headless content management system (CMS), and solutions responsible for payments, searching, etc. As this can seem complicated and most likely needs a separate article, just try to remember that in headless commerce the front-end and back-end can work independently.
This software architecture became very popular not without reason. To understand the cause of the constantly rising popularity of a headless solution, let’s look at the benefits that it brings.
Exploring the benefits of headless commerce for your eCommerce business
Choosing a headless solution for your online store has a number of benefits, not only for you as a store owner but also for the customers. However, let’s focus on the owner’s part first.
As the eCommerce industry constantly develops, traditional eCommerce platforms have become insufficient to fulfill the demands of more and more businesses and their operations. In the case of a headless platform, front-end and back-end are not closely connected to each other as they communicate through the uses of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Due to that, the development of a front-end can be done without disrupting critical processes on the back-end.
This architecture provides much more freedom in terms of customization and personalization in comparison to traditional eCommerce platforms. Websites can be customized precisely as the owner wants, and it is easier to maintain brand consistency and deliver a personalized shopping experience. Additionally, even non-technical people can apply necessary changes on the front-end, as there is no need to modify the back-end to do that.
In traditional eCommerce, the website often has to load the entire eCommerce platform every time a visitor arrives on the website. This makes it challenging to optimize the website’s loading time since any change could potentially affect the other part of the website. Due to that, monolithic eCommerce platforms with many out-of-the-box features can slow down the website. Moreover, a slow-loading page negatively affects search engine optimization (SEO).
In the case of a headless platform, websites load faster as the front-end and back-end are separated, and the architecture doesn’t require so much default code. Each technology used within the platform can be optimized for speed separately. This, in turn, increases the website’s quality and number of customers.
The headless architecture of the website makes scaling much easier. Since the front-end and back-end work independently, changes on the website can be done easier and faster via a content management system instead of going through an eCommerce platform and impacting the whole tech stack. What’s more, integrations with other systems and tools are also easier and less time-consuming. The headless approach in eCommerce platforms enables to choose the best-of-breed tools for specific tasks that work together and communicate through API. This solution broadens the possibilities of how data can be used and removes any limitations with transferring it. All that increase the development speed of new features or applications, and they are implemented faster than in traditional eCommerce platform.
Nowadays, customers want to be able to do shopping everywhere and at any time. A headless eCommerce platform is a great solution for selling products or services through many channels. It allows for greater flexibility and customization in how businesses present their products and services to consumers. A company can easily integrate various sales channels, such as mobile apps, social media platforms, and own websites, into a cohesive shopping experience. This means that customers can start their shopping journey on one channel and continue it on another without any disruption in the experience. What’s more, content publishing in a headless solution is faster in comparison to monolithic systems, as such content can be distributed to many channels at once via headless CMS.
Better debugging and testing
In a headless architecture, the front-end is decoupled from the back-end, which means that developers can approach sections of their existing stack on a selective basis, making debugging and testing easier and eliminating potential issues. This separation allows developers to use different technologies for the front-end and back-end, which can make it easier to test and debug each component independently.
Additionally, this architecture makes the costs of IT support lower, as the decentralized headless platform doesn’t require engaging every developer team to fix the issue. To give an example, one team can work on fixing the bug regarding product listings without involving the other teams or waiting for them to finish their tasks.
Reduced costs in the long-run
Headless eCommerce platforms can be seen as a more expensive solution in terms of creating an online store. Nonetheless, its architecture can bring long-term savings to your company. Firstly, the choice of tools and integrations is almost limitless, which allows to choose the ones that meet our needs but are not expensive. Secondly, headless eCommerce can improve the website’s overall performance, which can lead to increased sales and revenue. Thirdly, costs of IT support are reduced as there is no need to make changes on back-end by developers to change content on the front-end.
How does headless commerce impact your customers?
As mentioned before, apart from great benefits for the website’s owner, a headless solution has a positive impact also on customer experience. To understand it better, here is an explanation of each factor that makes shopping better on a headless platform.
First of all, websites based on a headless eCommerce platform can deliver more engaging and personalized content that affects the customer experience. Starting from product recommendations and ending with a personalized checkout process, customers can feel that they are important and unique. Due to headless architecture, developers have more freedom and can experiment with different designs and functionalities to find what fits best to the customer base. Second of all, headless eCommerce platforms provide faster loading speed and overall better performance of the website. Taking this into consideration, customers have a better user experience on the website, and there is no situation of cart abandonment or simply leaving the homepage as a result of the website running slow. Last but not least, the customer can browse and purchase products on any device without any interference. Headless eCommerce supports a consistent buying experience no matter what channel or device is used. This, in turn, improves customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Overall, headless eCommerce solutions offer a powerful tool for businesses looking to create a unique and engaging online shopping experience for their customers.
Is headless eCommerce right for your business?
In the rapidly evolving world of online retail, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for businesses to thrive. As the demands and expectations of modern consumers continue to grow, traditional commerce platforms are facing new challenges. That has led many businesses to explore alternative solutions, one of which is the aforementioned headless eCommerce.
Apart from the many pleasant benefits that a headless commerce solution brings with itself, each business is different, and a headless solution may not be the best option for each of them.
If your online store is doing well enough with traditional architecture, or If you don’t see chances for a quick (or any) return on investment, there’s no need to create an advanced solution. This option may also be not suitable for new businesses that have just begun the eCommerce journey and may not utilize the potential of a headless solution or just don’t have enough resources to maintain it at such an early stage.
Nonetheless, if you want to focus on delivering the best and unique user experience and having complete control over your online store, headless eCommerce is the way to go. To make things easier, the following are five tips that you should keep in mind when you plan to implement headless eCommerce for your business.
Making the most of headless eCommerce: Five tips for a successful implementation
1. Define your goals and requirements
A headless eCommerce can offer many benefits, but implementing it successfully requires careful planning and execution. In the beginning, clearly define your goals and the elements you need on your website. Defining your goals and requirements can also help you create a roadmap for implementation, prioritize tasks, and allocate resources effectively. Try to answer the question of HOW you want to leverage a headless solution in your online store.
Furthermore, think about the customers, as they are the foundation of your business. Their needs are equally important as yours if the store is meant to be successful.
2. Plan your integration strategy
Headless commerce platforms require integration with various systems and technologies, so it’s essential to plan your integration strategy in advance. This process includes identifying the systems you need to integrate with and the APIs you need to use. For example, headless CMS if you want to deliver content on multiple channels quickly.
What’s more, secure the partnerships. Successful implementation of headless commerce requires the right partnerships. This includes finding the right development team, third-party integrations, and other partners that can help you achieve your goals.
3. Select the right platform
With so many options available, deciding which one to choose can be overwhelming. However, there are several factors to consider when selecting an eCommerce platform, such as your budget, business goals, target audience, product offerings, and more. It’s important to analyze your needs and weigh them against the pros and cons of the available options. For example, some platforms are more flexible, and some are easier to use and more intuitive. The key is to find one that works best for your business and provides all functionalities your need.
4. Consider the budget
Due to the many capabilities of headless commerce architecture and a wide choice of integrations, functionalities, etc., it’s important to carefully plan the budget to not exceed it. Moreover, most platforms have various pricing models. It’s always better to choose a cheaper one and upgrade it when needed than blindly choose the most expensive plan.
5. Experiment and test your website
Finally, it’s important to test and iterate your headless eCommerce platform to ensure that it’s meeting your goals and requirements. This includes testing the customer experience, monitoring performance, and making adjustments as needed.
Shopware – All-In-One eCommerce Platform That Meets The Highest Requirements
Shopware headless solutions
Shopware, a popular eCommerce platform, provides support for headless commerce, allowing businesses to decouple their frontend presentation layer from the backend eCommerce functionality. This approach offers several benefits, including flexibility, scalability, and enhanced user experiences. Here’s how Shopware leverages headless commerce:
Separation of Frontend and Backend: With headless commerce, Shopware allows businesses to separate the frontend presentation layer (e.g., website, mobile app) from the backend eCommerce functionality. This decoupling enables businesses to develop and maintain separate systems for each component, offering greater flexibility and independence.
API-First Approach: Shopware follows an API-first approach, providing a comprehensive set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for all eCommerce functionalities. These APIs allow developers to retrieve product information, manage orders, process payments, and perform other eCommerce operations programmatically.
Customizable Frontend Experiences: By decoupling the frontend, businesses can build highly customized and tailored frontend experiences using their preferred technologies such as React, Angular, or Vue.js. This flexibility enables them to create unique user interfaces, implement personalized shopping experiences, and optimize performance for different devices and channels.
PWA (Progressive Web App): Its goal is to ensure the highest quality of website reception by all operating systems, and regardless of the quality of the Internet connection. After entering a PWA-type website, the content of the application is saved in the device’s memory. Thanks to the saved data, re-entering the PWA website can also take place offline. This is the advantage of PWA websites over other types of websites.
Shopware PWA was created with Vue Storefront with the highest quality customer service in mind. The solution offers the possibility of implementing the design without focusing on the backend. Shopware PWA ensures compatibility with Shopware 6 functions, high efficiency, and access to the necessary marketing tools. Shopware PWA can be plugged into a plugin that works out of the box.
Benefits of using Shopware PWA
Creativity without limits: The flexible and self-contained interface allows you to implement the project without focusing on the backend. Thanks to this, you can create projects and functionalities without limits.
Efficient integration: Shopware PWA allows you to quickly integrate your favorite tools used to measure the effectiveness of marketing activities, e.g., to manage content or track user behavior.
Enterprise support: The Shopware PWA solution enables integration with, among others, WMS for order tracking and with the PIM system for product management. It is a technology that will adapt to business requirements without any limitations.
A modern approach: Shopware PWA was built from the ground up to incorporate the latest front-end technologies and best practices from the Vue.js community.
Shopware PWA in practice
Page load time: One of the biggest problems of both customers and online store owners is the long page loading time, which can effectively scare away customers and thus contribute to a decrease in conversion.
Shopware PWA has an advanced form of caching. Pages are loaded directly from the user’s device, thanks to which the page loading speed is reduced to milliseconds, even with a weak internet connection. When a user browses one tab with a product, the others are already loaded.
B2B clients: When replenishing stock, it has become accepted practice to list items that were out of stock. Thanks to Shopware PWA, you can facilitate this process and integrate your smartphone with a barcode scanner, which facilitates the process of adding products to the basket. The PWA solution also allows shopping cart reservations without a Wi-Fi connection until you reconnect to the network.
Want to explore the best eCommerce technologies and deep dive into Shopware? Check out our free e-book – A comprehensive guide to choosing the best technologies for eCommerce
As presented in this article, a headless commerce approach can be a game-changing solution for your online store. From personalized shopping experiences to seamless omnichannel integration, the headless approach can be the key to delivering outstanding user experiences that drive customer satisfaction and engagement. What’s more, it provides the best performance and flexibility to create a unique eCommerce website that can adapt to the market quickly.
Shopware and its functionalities, like the mentioned API-first approach, highly customizable front-end, and Shopware PWA, make an eCommerce store a great place to manage as the owner, as well as browse and make purchases as the customer. The headless solution combined with the robust capabilities of Shopware, becomes a formidable tool for maximizing the potential of your eCommerce store and getting ahead of the competition.
We are an agency that on a daily basis deals with building eCommerce in the headless model, based on, among others, Shopware. If you want to learn more about the mentioned implementation, we will be happy to answer your questions during a free, non-binding consultation – contact us.