Headless e-commerce has been receiving a lot of attention from the all-web-world recently. It is said to have many benefits like “enhance customer purchase experiences”, “seamless online purchasing solution”, “highly personalized customer experiences” etc
I Googled “headless e-commerce” and terms like “decoupled”, “headless but multiple heads”, “collection of digital services” don’t seem easy to swallow at once. It took me a while to get the ins-and-outs of it. To save the hassle for everyone, I decided to write this article explaining headless e-commerce in the simplest way possible.
What’s it about headless e-commerce?
In traditional e-commerce, we can say that the back-end development and front-end development are closely dependent on each other. Headless e-commerce, however, separates front-end (head) and back-end (body).
Like Coredna explains it “the front-end (head) is removed, leaving only the back-end (body)”. This makes sense why it is called “headless commerce”. But to be honest, to me, it is quite misleading.
Because my thought process goes like this “the head and the body are disconnected”. Then, it doesn’t make sense at all, because what is a website without back-end and front-end duh?!
So I did a bit more digging and found out that in headless e-commerce, the front-end and the back-end are indeed still connected, but using a single, consistent API. This has given the front-end much more freedom.
What is included in the front-end and back-end?
Front-end (head) includes all touch-points that customers use to interact with your business and your business data. In this case, internal staff is also counted because they also interact with business data. These include desktop, mobile, social media, or platforms of the future such as smartwatch, screen-less devices, smart speaker, IoT, Apple TV, etc.
Back-end (body) includes a core operating system or all the behind-the-scenes thingy used to run your business. This could be business logic, inventory management, content management, system architecture, payment system, merchandise system, supply chain management, etc. For eCommerce, the back-end usually includes product information management, order management & reporting.
There are many applications that businesses can take advantage of when the front-end is removed from the back-end.
In traditional eCommerce, each touchpoint (ex.mobile, web, smartwatch) have their own back-end system. Headless remove the hassle, and allow all touchpoint to share one back-end through the use of RESTful API. This simplifies the process of development, allow for more highly customized shopping experiences, save time and make integrations easier. For examples, Amazon, probably the most renowned headless commerce platform, pushes updates every 11.7 seconds on average, and Netflix, another headless commerce platform, deploys code thousands of times each day.
No matter if you want to expand your selling platforms or reinforce the current one, you can now save a lot of time and money because of this made-easy process.