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26/02/2020 Luke Hilton

Headless Commerce Platforms

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

Expect to hear more about headless commerce platforms in 2020. This isn’t something developed by Marie Antoinette, but rather the separation or decoupling of the front end and back end in the architecture of a platform. Ecommence applications built like this operate independently at either end and can be changed at one end without the need for reciprocal changes on the other.

Competing in today’s market means meeting current customer demands, and with a headless platform the front end can remain nimble to keep pace with emerging touchpoints and experiences without the headaches created by even simple projects in a traditional eCommerce model.

Building a headless commerce platform does take upfront commitment to create separate front and back end reliability, making it suited to larger enterprises, but once developed time is saved by the tech team as design and user interface is left to other departments, such as ambitious creative and marketing teams keen to test new and evolving front end ideas. And let’s be honest, most developers are not designers, and most designers are not developers, so the separation of the two tasks can only lead to improved performance on both ends.

The key benefits of a headless commerce platform are:

– Simplicity increases adoption

The front end can be updated without advanced developer skills, meaning more staff are able to easily access and update it, which results in a higher adoption of the technology and ownership by the staff.

– Quicker deployment

A traditional ecommerce model required the dev team prioritising either back end or front end changes depending on business needs.  This split focus slowed down the process. With the front end team now able to work independently, it frees up creative teams to quickly test and implement front end strategies.  Regardless of back end or front end you need to ensure your version control, branching strategies and CI/CD processes are in place for either development type.  Otherwise enjoy the kaos! 

– Saves time

Without having to enlist the IT team, the front end team can make changes to the user interface, freeing up the back end team to focus on more critical development work.

– Time to market

Due to quicker and low-cost deployment, businesses can stay on top of market trends with evolving front-end experiences.

Headless commerce platforms aren’t just good for business, but also enhance customer experiences. Customers want to experience a brand’s latest designs immediately, and with headless commerce platforms as soon as a business introduces new content on its front end, those updates are reflected almost instantly. Also, because businesses are able to control all of the elements that customers interact with, they can be experimental with and responsive to customer behaviour. Part of this is being able to deliver personalised experiences at scale.

Jason Woosley, VP of Commerce Platform & Product at Adobe, summaries: “If you’ve already made an investment in content, and now you need to make that content shoppable, the easiest way to do that is with a headless implementation… Every experience you provide a customer should be transactable so that every aspect of your website and every time you’re showing off this brand-new dress or this terrific new drone or new toys, you have got your shopper’s interest, and you are able to present an opportunity to purchase right then.”

Let them buy cake.

Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any eCommerce questions you may have.