You’ve heard the buzz about headless commerce platforms. But is it for you? Would it really help your business? We ourselves have said multiple times in other articles, eCommerce is an ever-evolving landscape with many benefits. But maybe you’re just not sure yet? Maybe you’re just not ready to pull the trigger? Maybe you need to see your business represented in a headless commerce example?
We’re here to help. Below, we’re laying out four issues a business might encounter and how a headless commerce solution can address them.
1. “I love my content management system, but the eCommerce plugin I’m using is holding me back.”
If your online storefront is already powered by a strong content management system (CMS), or if you’re looking to build an even stronger content strategy, you may be hesitant to invest in a traditional eCommerce platform that won’t fully integrate with the existing content infrastructure. In fact, you might be thinking “My CMS works well, I don’t want to mess with it!” – you should know that a headless eCommerce platform will give you a competitive edge — even if you’ve already invested in a CMS.
A headless commerce platform will provide you with a powerful, flexible and secure backend eCommerce system that can be easily updated and is built to be integrated into existing systems (like a CMS). Combine this with a decoupled frontend system (including whatever content presentation system you may be using and love) that gives marketing and content teams the ability to create exactly the design and customer experiences they want, and you’ve got a win-win.
Some eCommerce services are tightly integrated into a content management system as a plugin or add-on – so much so that they aren’t functional outside of that CMS. With a headless commerce service, you aren’t forced to remove both the eCommerce plugin and content service – you can simply upgrade and move away from a more limited plugin option and towards a more robust (and compatible) solution. Marketing and business teams can be happy with both systems!
2. “I’m in desperate need of a migration to a commerce platform for the entire enterprise, but I can’t do everything right now.”
If this is you, you’re in luck. With the modularity and service approach of today’s headless commerce solutions, it’s possible to upgrade features of the digital commerce experience over time and not have to rebuild everything at once.
In many cases businesses with multiple storefronts can actually run their sites in tandem for a period of time. Here’s a headless eCommerce example:
Let’s say you’re a company with two online storefronts, Store X and Store Y. Both are running on the same commerce service but both need to be migrated. You may elect to move “Store X” first as it makes up a smaller portion of the business and is an easier win. Later, “Store Y” can be migrated into the same headless commerce service.
An additional advantage of this step-by-step approach is that your team learns from the experience of the first migration. With some initial setup and configuration, the second migration will happen faster as your team will now be more familiar with your headless commerce service/build process as a whole.
Also, because the content management system remains, there are fewer elements to move in general. Your CMS stays as is (even if you’re running two different CMS services – one for each store) and will simply pull data from the new platform instead of the old.
3. My marketing, creative, and design teams want a lot of control over the layout of the storefront on ALL channels
Let’s face it, traditional platforms:
- Don’t offer a lot of control (design, customization, integration),
- Are hard to keep updated and current with updates,
- And require specific templating or front-end languages for building.
In addition, various channels have vastly different requirements for design and layout. With a headless eCommerce platform not only will your business have a mobile-friendly marketplace, but you’ll be able to keep your entire catalog in one place and serve it to each storefront. In other words, storefront control and administration by your teams.
However, this creative and marketing control is not just for the initial design and build process, but instead is an ongoing benefit. You can now manage and manipulate the site in a way that works for your team and ultimately your business.
4. I’m stuck with a commerce platform that doesn’t work for me and is limited and I need to launch a new storefront.
We get it. Your business is rapidly changing and you simply need a commerce service that gives you the most flexibility to handle change over time. Because your business model may have changed, your product and/or service or even corporate structure may have changed and now you’ve outgrown your traditional platform.
If any of the above apply to your business, you need to shift and adjust. A headless commerce platform will offer you the flexibility to do that and keep up with your business changes.
Here’s another specific headless eCommerce use case illustrating this issue:
Let’s say a B2B company is looking to make a significant digital commerce investment but is also considering adding into a direct-to-consumer model. While selling the same products, the move will require the flexibility to support new shipping, payment, and promotions with new customers and more.
While it’s possible that a traditional eCommerce service could support both storefronts on the same platform, it’s more likely that there will be limitations or the company will get tired of “trying to make it work” and create an entirely new eCommerce presence for the direct-to-consumer business.
Still on the Fence?
We know that moving to a headless commerce platform is a big decision, but as we said from the beginning if any of the headless commerce examples we laid out above rings a bell for you and your business, it may be time to seriously consider it. You can put together a storefront that will work for you by yourself, but you should also consider how eCommerce solutions like our B2B eCommerce Kickstart can work for you.
With the right strategy behind you, you’ll be able to set up a flexible system that lets you sell exactly how you want. One that grows over time to continue supporting your company through any and all changes. One that keeps your team and your business happy.
Want to learn more about headless commerce?
We created a guide to headless commerce for a complete introduction, overview and insight into how headless commerce can deliver benefits to your company.
A new blog series about the critical eCommerce capabilities missing in most eCommerce platforms for B2B companies. #1: Quoting & Sales Support
A closer look from the Ultra perspective on what we really mean when we talk about headless commerce and why it may not be right for every company.