HomeBig DataWhat headless commerce is and why it is vital

What headless commerce is and why it is vital

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The following stage of ecommerce evolution has been build up for a number of years. As companies look to maintain up with omnichannel calls for, they’re probably studying increasingly more about “headless commerce” and its advantages. Corporations ought to concentrate on a number of elements of any such structure when deciding if headless commerce is appropriate for them.

Let’s dive into it: What precisely is a headless structure? In essence, it’s the place the frontend presentation layer is decoupled from any of the backend programs. All of the backend programs turn into “headless,” with the front-end presentation layer changing into the “head.” You may have many heads: an internet site, a cell app, a watch app, a kiosk in a retailer. 

All use the identical backend programs in the identical manner. Backend programs embody commerce, content material administration, product info administration and order administration, to call just a few. The important thing to those backend programs being able to working on this structure is that they’ve highly effective software programming interfaces (APIs) that allow you to do all the pieces the appliance can do.

Professionals and cons of headless commerce

There are a number of advantages to adopting a headless structure. These embody larger flexibility, sooner launch of recent options, seamless expertise throughout all channels, safety and scalability. A breakdown of those advantages and the way they work:


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  • System swaps: Some programs or platforms will enhance over time, and a few is not going to. The latter will turn into unsupported or attain their “finish of life.” Some may have enchancment or upgrades as a enterprise grows.
  • Better agility: If a brand new system is required, it may be added simply by way of API connections and positioned within the head. An instance could be a loyalty program being added to an ecommerce firm. Add the system as soon as and join it from every head as wanted.
  • Extra sturdy: Separation of frontend presentation from backend logic makes the system extra sturdy, as adjustments within the entrance is not going to have an effect on your backend logic. Every system is powerful, making the entire system extra dependable.

Whereas there are a number of advantages to a headless structure, there are additionally potential challenges that must be addressed:

  • Value: Separating the frontend and backend programs means every would require its personal upkeep and internet hosting. Having good companions or an already-strong in-house IT division helps mitigate this price, however it will possibly nonetheless be larger than a single system. 
  • Complexity: Managing the programs independently of each other means understanding bugs in two totally different programs or constructing safety for 2 totally different programs. Every crew may have a studying curve as they construct out and implement the separated back and front ends. 

Getting their programs to the state the place the advantages turn into a actuality could be a problem for a lot of firms. The advantages of headless commerce really shine when many of the group’s programs (or no less than the programs in a single space) have turn into headless and decoupled. As a company builds in direction of this state, it is going to be in a hybrid world the place it’s mixing previous and new, working to beat these challenges. Corporations must be totally conscious that the headless transition course of may be difficult and time-consuming. This may depart a nasty style for these concerned within the course of till your complete system or a particular space has been transitioned and solved.

Don’t remedy for one space; plan for digital transformation

Corporations that embark on this transformation ought to concentrate on its course of. You can not simply have a headless commerce and content material system to get the actual advantages of headless for the shopper expertise. Customer support, order administration, stock, loyalty and CRM all must be a part of any transition, to say just a few. With out your complete buyer expertise being architected this fashion, you’ll decelerate your individual transformation and restrict the shopper expertise.

Watch out for evangelists

On this area, it’s very simple to seek out evangelists — people who find themselves doggedly connected to their model of the longer term. They typically disparage different programs and rapidly write them off as “previous” or “exhausting to combine with.” That is very simple to do when sitting inside an organization self-described as “trendy.” The truth of digital transformation, programs and structure is that each firm is on a spectrum of transformation, and a few are additional alongside than others and have their very own challenges. The fitting technique to remodel is totally different for everybody. Whereas there are some poorer programs on the market, patrons must be conscious that claims from evangelists have to be fact-checked or someway substantiated when evaluating choices.


To reply our authentic query, does everybody want headless? Organizations should weigh the professionals and cons listed above to find out what most closely fits their wants. Organizations must be cautious of the method that adopting this structure requires. Separation of the frontend “head” from the backend “headless” programs advantages reliability and efficiency, laying the muse to maneuver quick sooner or later.

This transformation takes time: Many elderly and legacy programs can’t operate inside a headless structure, particularly inside ERP programs (the older they’re typically, the more serious they’re if not rearchitected). Corporations have to be strategic of their investments as they decouple their programs and start implementing headless commerce. Understanding the advantages and challenges permits organizations to create a plan that acknowledges, and permits them to navigate, the bumps on the street forward.

Gerry Szatvanyi is CEO of OSF Digital

Rob Smith is VP of Go-To Market at OSF Digital


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