In traditional architecture, the frontend and backend are tightly coupled, leading to issues when you try to make changes in either of them. For example, a frontend of the website deals with the representation layer or user interface, while the backend is all about servers and services.
The solution is to decouple the frontend from the backend so that both are independent to make changes without disrupting the website operations. Headless commerce is one such approach where you can decouple frontend and backend for higher availability even if there is a failure or up-gradation. Here, we will discuss some of the most significant benefits of the headless approach, but before that, let’s understand what it is?
What is headless commerce?
Unlike conventional web architectures, headless commerce is all about the separation of frontend and backend for each of them to operate independently. They communicate with each other through APIs or Application Programming Interface. This architecture allows you to tweak both of them individually without disturbing the other, and similarly, failures of one can’t affect the entire system.
More importantly, it reduces the IT dependency for frontend changes that are needed for customer-centric design changes. In addition, due to the decoupling approach, these changes do not require the entire system to be revamped, making the process much faster.
Headless commerce makes your website more flexible and helps in improving engagement with customers through excellent frontend capabilities. You can easily tweak your eCommerce website to adjust according to devices like desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other connected devices.
Let’s take an example of an eCommerce website with a high cart abandonment rate. The reason for the high abandonment rate (measures the number of customers leaving the website without a purchase after placing the product in the cart) is an unresponsive webpage.
So, you need to tweak the frontend code so that the checkout web page is responsive to a user request for the transaction. Headless commerce makes this process faster and easier than taking the whole site down until you configure the tweaks.
There are four major components for any eCommerce website with a headless approach,
- Storage database/ server
- Content management system(CMS)
- RESTful API
- User interface/content publishing frontend
When a customer initiates a transaction on the eCommerce website(like clicking on add to cart to buy now), the system sends an API request to the CMS presentation layer, which returns with a response(order confirmation or status of the order or opens cart web page). Here, the connection between the user interface(frontend) and the database layer(backend) is established through APIs.
Now that we have some idea of how headless commerce works, let’s discuss some of these advantages.
Top Benefits of Headless Commerce
When you use such an approach for your website, there is a reduction in dependencies, development time, and rapid deployments. One of the most significant benefits of the headless commerce methodology is allowing organizations to innovate rapidly.
#1. Rapid Innovations
Ecommerce websites are in constant efforts to innovate for rich user experiences. These websites often use customized CMS with readymade templates, specific programming languages, and frameworks. However, it is a restrictive approach where integrating innovative technologies and features is complex due to compatibility issues.
For example, if you integrate a cloud-based service with your website architecture, compatibility becomes a significant concern due to the heterogeneity of environments. Similarly, there are other issues with the legacy solutions, like lag in development due to the overhead of maintaining compatibility with the tools and frameworks.
You can use different frontend and backend frameworks with headless commerce, making it more efficient for any eCommerce business. Moreover, as each code is independent, making changes and adding innovative features does not take more time or resources.
Another advantage of the headless approach is the ability to scale as per need which is more than a necessity for modern eCommerce websites.
#2. Scaling As Per Need
The sale season is the best way to boost sales for any eCommerce website, but you are now well prepared. For example, a famous fashion brand, J.Crew, experienced website crashes during massive traffic during the Black Friday sale, making them lose about $775,000. There are several such crashes from big eCommerce websites like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and others.
Headless commerce allows scaling as per need for your website through the partition of services. At a granular level, you can leverage the microservices architecture that offers a suite of several independent services which have specific tasks to execute but are not dependant on each other. So, you can adjust the systems as per traffic on the website without disruptions.
#3. Enhanced Security
Ecommerce security is an essential aspect, mainly when several transactions occur every hour. Unfortunately, according to a report, eCommerce is the worst-hit industry for cybercrimes, with 32.4% more attacks than others.
A headless approach allows website security through secure API integrations and other security measures like two-factor authentication or an SSL certificate. You can customize the APIs per needs and even opt for advanced certification from RapidSSL Certificate. Due to the decoupled nature of the system, integrating such measures become easy.
#4. Higher UX
The headless approach allows you to enhance the user experience through customer-centric design, not dependent on the backend. So, you can focus on the frontend separately without tweaking the entire code of the application making it more efficient for creating enhanced UX.
Apart from the aesthetic part, you can also develop navigational features that can improve the UX without worrying about several dependencies.
The eCommerce industry is snowballing, so there will be a constant need to innovate, scale, and improve UX. However, a conventional approach may not be enough for our business to cope with the changing customer behavior and market demand. So, the best way is to leverage headless commerce to infuse some flexibility, scalability, and even security for your business.