Thanks to the growth of eCommerce, it’s now easier than ever to sell online — and it’s also more important than ever to make your customers feel like you care about them as people, not just as transactions. But how do you make your eCommerce website truly personal?
Headless commerce aims to solve this problem by using software that automatically personalized customer experiences, like recommending products based on their shopping history or having chatbots with a personality that responds directly to customer service inquiries.
Read on as we dive into headless commerce and how it works.
Definition of Headless Commerce
Headless Commerce refers to a system in which merchants send their products to be sold on marketplaces and other eCommerce websites. The name comes from companies with a head responsible for handling customer relationships like sales, marketing, etc.
At the same time, they also have a body that handles operations such as procurement or logistics. By sending their products to an eCommerce site, merchants give up both these functions.
To run a successful business, merchants must decide which functions they will handle, which ones they will pay others to do for them, and which ones they will send to someone else.
Headless commerce definition is the outsourcing eCommerce activities that relate directly to fulfillment. It includes product selection, purchase of stock, packaging and shipping of products, payments processing, customer service etc.
Today’s marketplace sellers do not necessarily have their own sales team nor warehouse, or facilities for storing goods from one season to another.
How Does Headless Commerce Work?
Headless commerce works by linking data across devices and channels. By creating a unified shopping experience, your customers can access information about products and make purchases through multiple touchpoints.
For example, while they might visit your site using their laptop, they can browse from their mobile device, add an item to their online cart, and purchase it. It’s also possible to speak into their smartphone’s voice-activated assistant service to order items.
One of the main differences between traditional eCommerce systems and a headless commerce platform lies in data architecture. With a traditional website, your information is hosted on one computer where content editors access that data to create new pages for your site. On the other hand, a CMS like Magento uses a relational database to store your product information.
If you want to add or edit an item’s description, price or image, you have to make those changes on each page across your entire site. It can be a tedious process when dealing with hundreds or thousands of products.
However, when using a headless commerce solution such as Shopify Plus, all your data is stored in one place: in Shopify Plus’s cloud-based database.
Benefits of Converting to Headless
Headless Commerce can be a big win for retailers, consumers, and brands alike. By converting to headless commerce, you get all the eCommerce software features without dealing with the headache of managing a different website.
With headless commerce, you don’t have to worry about tracking down technical support when issues arise or spending your money on another set of developers to improve your site.
Headless also allows you to keep your brand name separate from your marketplace provider. As a result, you maintain control over everything related to your brand while still taking advantage of powerful marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc.
Drawbacks of Moving Away From Traditional CMS
1. No pre-built templates to quickly build a site: This can be seen as positive or negative. On the one hand, you have complete control over your page designs. On the other hand, you will have to start from scratch each time, making iteration slower and more time-consuming. With traditional CMS such as WordPress, pre-built templates are provided for quick iteration.
2. No out-of-the-box SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a very complex process. Customizing your site for search engines can be difficult if you’re not familiar with its inner workings. With traditional platforms such as WordPress, SEO is provided out of the box.
The future of eCommerce
Headless eCommerce has been around for years but has taken longer to the mainstream. McKinsey estimates that as many as 30% of large enterprises are still exploring what headless eCommerce is, which isn’t surprising given its relatively recent arrival on business leaders’ radars.
However, companies who understand what headless commerce can do for them will be better positioned to remain competitive in a rapidly changing digital age.