What does headless architecture look like?
In a headless commerce architecture, the front end also referred to as the presentation layer, is decoupled from the back end, which, in turn, handles business logic and commerce services in modules such as CRM, PIM, cart, checkout, OMS, pricing, and more. The two components communicate with each other via APIs, which gather information from the back end and display it on the front end.
What features are important in a headless commerce platform?
Nowadays, there are countless headless commerce platforms, meaning that making a choice is not all that easy. Regardless, the starting point of this decision should be considering what features you should look out for that make headless CMS platforms more advantageous than traditional CMS.
User interface: The first and main point of concern should be the user interface. Is the back end neatly organized, functional, and easy to operate? Or does it seem cluttered and complex? Is the front end easy on the eyes? Or does it risk a bad UX?
Learning curve and support: On a similar note, you should consider whether the platform is easy to use and understand. Prioritize those platforms equipped with a good knowledge base that can speed up your learning, reliable learning materials, and solid customer support that can help you in the event of any queries or problems. After all, if anything goes wrong and your store goes offline, you need to be able to get support immediately, or you risk losing money.
Integrations: Can the platform connect easily with tools you use often? It should be able to at least connect with your CRM and PIM systems, as they hold crucial data regarding your product and customers.
Personalization: A great part of the appeal of headless commerce platforms is their personalization capabilities that allow you to independently customize both the front and back ends of your platform. However, different platforms have different limits. How far do you want the personalization to go according to your specific business requirements?
Find out why headless CMS is crucial in achieving e-commerce agility ->
What are the most popular e-commerce platforms?
Spryker is a German headless commerce platform that offers solutions for B2B and B2C companies. Spryker offers a platform-as-a-service solution with hundreds of API modules and a cloud-enabled service that is highly popular with enterprise-level companies. The platform enables businesses to scale without technical limitations, enabling extensive customization and allowing users to build online stores from scratch, guiding them through every step of the process.
Its standout feature lies in its modularity and customization capabilities, allowing businesses to untether the front-end and back-end components, thereby granting the freedom to create fully customized, brand-specific customer experiences.
Embracing an API-centric approach, Spryker offers robust, well-documented APIs that effortlessly integrate with various front-end technologies and external systems, facilitating the development of tailored shopping journeys.
With support for multi-channel commerce, Spryker ensures consistent branding and user experiences across diverse touchpoints. Content management, personalization, analytics, security, and compliance features further solidify its standing as a robust headless commerce platform. Its expanding ecosystem of extensions, active community, and comprehensive support options make it a compelling choice. In addition, Spryker's microservices architecture and seamless integration with headless content management systems offer a dynamic and flexible foundation for crafting engaging digital commerce solutions.
Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Adobe Commerce, previously known as Magento, is built on an API-based headless architecture with a decouples front and back end that communicate with each other via REST or GraphQL APIs, allowing users to build their own front end from scratch or use an existing frontend-as-a-service (FaaS) platform, granting businesses extensive flexibility for tailoring their e-commerce experiences.
Adobe Commerce offers APIs that can easily integrate with diverse front-end technologies as well as with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), facilitating content management across multiple channels. Additionally, Adobe Commerce is designed to handle high volumes of traffic and transactions, making it suitable for large enterprises.
Its support for omnichannel commerce ensures consistent brand experiences, while features like personalization, analytics, and robust security measures further enhance its appeal. With an extensive ecosystem of extensions and an active community, Adobe Commerce empowers businesses to create tailored, secure, and scalable headless commerce solutions.
Shopify Plus is a versatile e-commerce platform well-suited for headless commerce implementations and enabling brands to build digital storefronts on any device.
Known for its modularity and flexibility, Shopify Plus enables businesses to decouple the front-end and back-end components, granting freedom for customization and design. With its API-first architecture, it offers well-documented APIs that seamlessly integrate with a variety of front-end technologies, enabling developers to craft unique and tailored user experiences.
Moreover, its security measures and compliance standards remain intact in headless configurations. Extensive third-party app support, an active community, and good customer support make it a compelling choice for businesses looking to create powerful, secure, and scalable headless commerce solutions. Having said this, Shopify Plus is not the best option for enterprise e-commerce brands with complex business models, and is instead better suited for businesses with simpler requirements.
BigCommerce is a headless commerce solution that stands out for its modularity and adaptability, permitting businesses to disentangle front-end and back-end components, thus fostering a creative canvas for customized customer experiences.
BigCommerce has robust APIs that can integrate with a variety of technologies and external systems, facilitating the development of bespoke shopping journeys. The platform also enables multi-channel commerce, ensuring consistent branding and user experiences across diverse touchpoints.
With a thriving ecosystem of third-party apps, an engaged community, and comprehensive support options, BigCommerce presents a compelling choice. Additionally, its capacity for customization and theming extends to the front end, offering complete control over the user interface. The ability to integrate with headless content management systems and support for internationalization adds to its appeal, making it an adaptable solution for businesses aiming to excel in the digital commerce landscape.
It is worth mentioning that BigCommerce is a great fit for small and midsize businesses since it lacks some crucial commerce functions for enterprise businesses.
Commercetools is a popular headless commerce platform for both B2B and B2C companies. Commercetools users have access to different touchpoints such as websites, VR and mobile apps, and AI tools that can be used to create modern e-commerce experiences for customers.
As a headless platform, it has an API-driven approach that uncouples the front and back ends, allowing users to build their own custom solutions. In the case of Commercetools, additional customizations are not needed since their APIs and extensive inventory management features pretty much cover everything.
Commercetools is cloud-native, component-based, and tech-agnostic, making it easy to integrate and replace independent components from best-of-breed vendors. The platform can handle big traffic influxes with autoscaling and claims to optimize commerce investment through its composable approach that eliminates the need to pay for features, systems, and processes customers don’t use or need. Lastly, Commercetools is most often used by companies with 50-200 employees and 10M-50M dollars in revenue.
As you consider your e-commerce integration needs and goals, remember that the choice of a headless commerce platform is a critical decision. Factors such as your business size, technical expertise, scalability requirements, and desired customer experiences should guide your decision-making process.
Ultimately, each of these platforms has its strengths and may be the perfect fit for different businesses and industries. What's most important is finding the platform that aligns with your unique objectives and empowers you to provide exceptional shopping experiences for your customers. With the right headless commerce platform, you can stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving world of e-commerce and scale your business.