It is so easy to create an online store these days, and so it’s no surprise as to why there are so many ecommerce websites and businesses out there. But, with so many stores offering remarkably similar products and services, now some of the main differentiators are things like the distribution channels and shopping experiences offered to website visitors.
So, how can ecommerce websites look to differentiate themselves if their products are not that distinct? The answer is simple: having a unique brand, for one, along with a tailored user experience, conformity to search engines like Google and high quality content.
Thankfully, ensuring creativity and uniqueness when developing an online store is now easier than ever with headless commerce. In this article, we’ll discuss why so many brands looking to add something a little different into the ecommerce space are choosing this newer, more flexible architecture over the traditional WordPress solution.
What is headless commerce architecture?
Headless commerce architecture is the approach of separating the storefront (what users interact with) from the backend, where things like inventory, returns, and customer data is handled (e.g. Shopify).
It may sound overwhelming at first, but the concept is pretty straightforward to grasp. Let’s break it down a little more:
- In a traditional commerce setup, the ecommerce backend (e.g. Shopify), also creates the storefront. The storefront is what appears when visitors enter your ecommerce store, and that’s where they browse the catalog, contact customer support, and place orders.
- This storefront is usually created based on a theme that can also be customized. This unfortunately limits flexibility when it comes to design and 3rd party tool integrations.
On the other hand, with a headless commerce architecture, the storefront is built with custom code. Usually it is an agency with headless commerce website development experience that designs and develops it. Once it is created, that storefront is “connected” with the ecommerce backend – think of it as two lego blocks connected with each other.
This headless architecture therefore enables custom designs that are unique to your brand, meaning you can reach peak page speeds to delight both ecommerce visitors and search engines. With headless commerce, you can also create custom features like questionnaires and store locators, as well as high-quality, relevant content on the website. Even if you’re looking to launch in new markets with different languages, a headless architecture allows for this.
Which brands use headless commerce?
While many known brands use a headless commerce setup, like Rolex, Nike, Lancôme, and Debenhams. But that’s not to say that headless commerce architecture is limited to big brands.
Thousands of small online store owners are already adopting this approach, and are seeing the benefits from the moment they get all the capabilities, such as setup offers, in place.
Since today’s users now typically switch back and forth between big and small brands when making purchases, expectations for small brands are becoming increasingly high. Small store owners should keep this in mind, and also consider content creation and distribution channels as a key differentiator. This can be due to larger competitors needing much more time to adapt to new technologies and adjust their ecommerce setup.
Nimble small and medium ecommerces can therefore gain market share simply by displaying a unique design, being empowered with a superior content management editing experience, and tailored user experience workflows.
Should my brand go headless?
There are multiple variables that come into play when it comes to deciding whether or not to go headless, from priorities and budget to timeline, business direction and competition. As such, there is no single answer to this question.
To make a start, however, it often makes sense to just rely on Shopify themes, to get a sense of the market and see if there is any traction. However, after getting enough clients, if the goals are to increase sales and reach a wider audience, going for a headless architecture can be recommended, considering the benefits it can provide.
Brands that are content-driven are offered abest-in-class content management solution with such a setup. They are able to easily create landing pages about the products they offer, launch to new geographies in different languages in no time, generate a real-time preview of content changes as they edit them, onboard new team members, and easily collaborate with colleagues for content creation.
Ecommerce businesses that want to reduce CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and want to leverage organic lead generation with SEO, may also benefit from a headless architecture. Considering how it can enable SEO best practices and automate multiple elements such as dynamic sitemap generation, integration with Google Merchant Center, and schema markup, there’s potential that these setups can work wonders for ecommerces.
Contrary to popular belief, headless commerce doesn’t have to be expensive to set up, especially with an experienced headless commerce web development agency that already has the internal tools to kick-off a project in seconds.
A headless commerce setup can help you cut dozens of plugin costs, considering how many of those functionalities can easily be implemented with custom code.
Headless commerce architecture has been in place for a few years now, but is still growing in terms of its popularity. With website visitors being more exigeant and search engine standards getting higher, businesses are doing everything they can to get ahead and stand out.
As the years go by, headless commerce architectures will no longer be a trend, but a norm. Creating content around products is now a must to capture attention and improve conversion rates.