The benefits of Headless Commerce
My experience with retailers and consumer brand manufacturers with direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce sales channels show headless commerce provides the following benefits:
- There is consistency between ecommerce channels for customers (for example product data, price and promotions), since all channels use access the same ecommerce engine via a consistent API.
- This consistency also implies more commerce channels can be implemented without huge added cost and effort, enabling customers to use their preferred method of shopping.
- The appearance of an ecommerce store can be made as unique as the visual designers care to, since they are not constrained by a user interface provided by the ecommerce engine.
- The technology team can deploy different technologies for the front-end and the back-end, ensuring the optimum choice for each, and not limited to both built from one vendor's technology.
- Different teams can work on front-end and back-end services, including teams from different companies, for example the front-end built by a graphic design agency with highly creative designers focused on customer experience, and the back-end by a team with high performance software engineering and performance optimization skills.
- Since the front-end only interacts with the back-end through a precisely defined API, testing becomes easier, because the front-end and back-end can be tested independently rather than as a monolithic and complex whole.
- Easier testing implies changes are quicker to code and deploy, since testing is a major contributor to the duration of a project. This enables the business to take advantage of market opportunities more quickly.
- A decoupled front-end can be delivered by a content management system (CMS) that enables business users to make their own content and layout changes, further increasing rate of change.
- Developing a front-end that makes extensive use of ecommerce APIs means it can more easily access other software platforms, for example a CRM or an A/B testing solution to further enhance the customer's experience.
- Decoupled solutions means a business can change technology providers more simply as needs and market opportunities dictate.
- The technology team can scale the front-end independently from the back-end, as these two have different performance demands. This can increase overall site performance and minimize the cost of scaling.
- Security of the site becomes easier to assure, because all customer data and commerce functionality passes through specific API's that can be subjected to very precise and thorough testing.
- The headless engine can be exposed to public, or at least external, access, for example the business could enable business customers to integrate their purchasing system with their ecommerce platform to enable automated, machine-to-machine B2B sales.