In today’s retail and e-tail market, there are so many possibilities for businesses and consumers alike. Ultimately, though, it’s the consumers who either are, or could be, your own customers who are the most important people in your world – and what they want is crucial.
Unfortunately, many businesses simply aren’t set up to keep up with so many different channels, platforms and avenues of online shopping – especially with new trends emerging continuously. This is where a ‘headless’ approach can, in effect, help you keep your head straight when focusing on your sales goals.
What is headless eCommerce?
From a technical point of view, headless eCommerce is the name given to the decoupling of the frontend of an eCommerce experience from its backend. Essentially, this means that the content management system (CMS) is completely separate from the application layer – the eCommerce system itself.
Not that anybody visiting your website would know. The result of headless eCommerce, to the end user (your customers), is a seamless experience of visiting a website, browsing and, hopefully, purchasing. However, while they certainly see and experience the benefit of a headless system, albeit without fully appreciating what you’ve done to create it, the real bonus is most certainly felt at your end.
The elements of the system that your customer sees are actually completely separate from the eCommerce layer that allows them to make a purchase. However, the content they read, the visuals and banners you create to guide them, and any way in which you want to engage your customers, remains separate.
If you’ve managed your own website or eCommerce platform for some time, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the problems that can arise when changing elements of its frontend design. The headless solution simply means that you won’t have to make any adjustments to the backend.
This means you can make quick adjustments to the user experience of your website – without worrying about that user experience being negatively impacted!
Who needs a headless eCommerce platform?
While the above benefits will certainly appeal to any business with an online retail presence, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a perfect solution for everyone. For larger companies that need to be present and consistently branded on as many devices as possible, being headless is (wait for it…) a no-brainer!
However, businesses experiencing rapid growth would also certainly benefit from the enhanced flexibility and manageability of a headless system. They can focus on the growth itself, without worrying about how to constantly adapt the front and backend of their CMS, as the platform will adapt itself in line with business needs and goals.
What about smaller companies, you might be asking? Well, if you’re hoping for vast growth, then it would make sense to integrate a headless eCommerce system, certainly. More than this, though, regardless of how big you are right now, the bonus of being able to develop your brand identity online is something you shouldn’t miss out on.
A headless platform will allow you to focus on getting your brand spot on, post and adapt relevant content and continuously customise and personalise the themes at your frontend. So, if you’ve currently got a separate platform for sales, have a modern CMS but want to add eCommerce, or are a content-driven online entity – no matter what size you are now, you could certainly benefit from buying into a headless system.
Are there any cons to a headless system?
It wouldn’t be right to end without telling you a little about the small problems that businesses may face when first integrating a headless eCommerce system. Knowing this will enable you to plan and implement your eCommerce marketing efforts effectively, and also give you some knowledge of what to expect if you engage with an eCommerce agency.
First of all, the headless way isn’t intended to ever be designed, developed and left to run itself until the end of time. With the bonus of flexibility at the frontend, you’ll need to continuously adapt and redesign the visual side of things to reap the most from its decoupling from the backend. This will be far more extensive in the beginning, so you will need to assign significant resources to the project to begin with.
Also, at this point, headless systems aren’t quite as secure as the traditional eCommerce models, and your developers may encounter time-consuming issues when it comes to security fixes and upgrade issues – including troubleshooting. Finally, you may be limited by what your existing CMS can support and achieve in terms of its adaptability to third-party tools.
Still, there’s no doubt that, like everything else in the world of eCommerce, the headless system will continue to develop, improve and progress. This is one of the many reasons why I’m always here for your business, whatever its size and your needs. Get in touch with me, Myk Baxter, at MBM, for helping choosing the right eCommerce platform, eCommerce agency and much, much more.
Call 01325 939 838 for eCommerce marketing, web design and support in making your digital presence all it can be.