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Headless eCommerce: What Is Headless Commerce?

By
Joshua Weatherwax
Table of Contents

Headless eCommerce sounds like something out of a horror film, but it's actually one of the biggest drivers of eCommerce growth.

But what is eCommerce and how do you make it headless? 

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Keep reading to see part of our eCommerce business guide and discover what headless eCommerce means, the options available, and the features you need most.

Whether you're starting an eCommerce business or looking to replatform, headless eCommerce may be the right choice for you.

What Is Headless eCommerce?

Headless eCommerce is a form of website architecture where the frontend and the backend of an eCommerce site are separated. This means that the part of the site the user sees can be edited visually without affecting the products or data on the page.

The backend data includes product information, imagery, and other widgets or programs. It can all be edited separately and the site is automatically updated by an API call. That's technical jargon for a code that signals that data should be transferred from one place to another.

Headless eCommerce tructure

Headless eCommerce Benefits

No business would use an eCommerce platform that doesn't help their business in some way.

Here are five ways headless eCommerce can benefit a business:

  1. Quick set up. For any new direct to consumer, B2B business, or wholesale business (see what is wholesale) a long time to market can be devastating. It eats through their budget and keeps them from making profits. Sites using headless eCommerce platforms can launch new experiences quickly and get right to selling. They also offer some of the best eCommerce SEO tools and robust options for editing on page SEO.
  2. Easy employee training. Since headless eCommerce is split into two parts, it's much easier to work with. This means your employees can quickly learn how to edit the frontend of the site without months of work. No one person needs to do both parts of the editing, so you can have specialized employees to optimize your site. This is a big reason more companies are leaving behind their legacy B2B eCommerce platform and adopting a headless one.
  3. Highly customizable. If your eCommerce site looks like everyone else's, it's going to be hard to attract new customers. Headless eCommerce platforms are very adaptable and can be used to create a distinct user experience for your business. You can even use customer feedback to adjust the site with little effort and turn one-time buyers into a long-term relationship. This also gives you a great tool for both DTC marketing and B2B marketing.
  4. Increases customer satisfaction. The highly adjustable interface of headless eCommerce platforms means that they can be made to suit customer needs. This can be done through responsive design, user accessibility options, or even page architecture. It's also a great tool for upselling and cross selling.
  5. Adjustable on the fly. All eCommerce sites and platforms run into issues occasionally. Since headless eCommerce is so easy to edit, it's also easy to fix. Products can go up or come down nearly instantly. This means no more issues with dead stock or backordered items. Paired with a perpetual inventory system, this can be done in real-time.
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Headless eCommerce Platforms and Solution

There are many companies on the market that offer an eCommerce headless CMS. While there is no best headless CMS for eCommerce, there are many features that the good ones have in common.

Look for these features:

  • Multiple editing options. The whole point of a headless eCommerce platform is that it can be adapted to fit the needs of all types of eCommerce businesses. Make sure to pick one that offers many avenues for editing so that you get the perfect user experience. You may want to change your SEO for eCommerce product pages, replace old images, or add in a sales banner. There are also a few open source headless eCommerce options on the market that offer the most flexibility if you know what you're doing.
  • Easy integrations. A good eCommerce platform must be capable of being integrated with a business's eCommerce payment gateway and eCommerce accounting software. Otherwise, you'll have to create a patchwork connection between them and constantly be bogged down in reconciling data. It will also help your eCommerce fulfillment process by automatically sending the order info to your eCommerce shipping warehouse or third party dropshipping partner. This lets you focus more on eCommerce packaging instead.
  • Digital asset management (DAM). Not all headless eCommerce platforms have an integrated DAM, but the ones that do are the best of the bunch. This allows your visual assets to be uploaded directly into the system and automatically be applied to the site. This saves a ton of time for site design and lets you change out assets quickly and easily.
  • Compliance functions. Websites are held to many standards when it comes to compliance. They need to be easily accessible and usable by all people and must be safe and secure for user data. If you want to protect your business from lawsuits or lose your eCommerce business insurance, this is a must in the platform you choose. This is a vital aspect of your business that should be included in your eCommerce business plan.
  • Mobile-friendliness. More eCommerce customers are shopping on their mobile phones than ever. eCommerce analytics show that, if your site doesn't look good on their devices or loads too slowly, you'll miss out on a chance to increase eCommerce sales. Customer retention is key in eCommerce. Stick with a headless platform that can easily be adapted or integrated with a progressive web app (PWA).
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Get a-Head of the Competition

A headless eCommerce platform offers a lot of flexibility to businesses looking to create a user-friendly website. Instead of having to create a website structure from scratch, you can edit and launch new sections of your site in no time. These are valuable tools that can turn eCommerce business ideas into profitable businesses in no time. You'll also free up some time and cash to invest in other useful eCommerce software.

For food suppliers, we recommend going with an online marketplace like BlueCart eCommerce. This all-in-one solution handles store design and structure, menus, payment processing, and more. That lets businesses focus on what they do best, selling. They can even sell DTC food, make B2B sales, wholesale sales, or all of the above!