Traditional eCommerce vs Headless eCommerce

Written by Maria Camila Gomez

07.01.2022

Every eCommerce site has both a frontend and a backend. The frontend, as the name implies, is what your customers see when they visit your store. In contrast, the backend manages the application logic and databases of your site. So, in other words, your customers place orders on the frontend and these orders are processed by the backend. Consequently, how those stages interact can have a significant impact on your store’s performance, and by implication, on your customer experience. This is where Headless eCommerce comes in, as it offers extensive customization options and the ability to create exceptional user experiences.  Actually, in a 2021 WP engine survey, 92% of enterprise organizations believe that headless technology helped in better customer experiences.

But what exactly is Headless eCommerce, and how can it benefit your eCommerce store? In this post, we’ll look at these questions in more detail and answer why you should consider going Headless with your eCommerce store. 

What are Traditional eCommerce and Headless eCommerce?

Before we look at some of the reasons why you should consider going Headless, it’s important to first understand the differences between traditional eCommerce and Headless eCommerce. With that in mind, let’s look at what these concepts mean.

What Is Traditional eCommerce?

With traditional eCommerce platforms, a store’s front end and backend are linked. Meaning that any changes made to either end, impacts the other. Unfortunately, this also means that a change to the frontend can break the backend and vice versa. 

To eliminate these issues, most traditional eCommerce platforms create pre-developed templates that you can use. This makes sites more stable, but also limits the customization options you have. 

Ultimately, despite their lack of customization options, traditional eCommerce platforms give you an eCommerce solution that makes it easier to create your own eCommerce store and allows you to launch a store faster. 

What is Headless Commerce?

Unlike traditional eCommerce, a Headless commerce solution separates the frontend of the store from the backend. So in a Headless commerce architecture there’s no link between the frontend and the Headless storefront; changes to either won’t impact the other. At its very core, a Headless commerce solution is designed to deliver exceptional, personalised customer experiences. 

But now the question is: How is data managed and exchanged between the front and backend in a Headless eCommerce architecture? With these platforms, data is managed and exchanged by storefront’s APIs. 

Likewise, any changes to the store’s code are relayed through these APIs. This gives developers the ability to make changes to the front end without the risk of breaking any of the backend code. 

Headless eCcommerce vs. Traditional eCommerce: the Key Differences

Now that we’ve seen what traditional eCommerce and Headless eCommerce are, let’s sum up the differences between them:

  • With Headless commerce platforms, the frontend and backend are separated and changes to either end doesn’t impact the other negatively. In contrast, in traditional eCommerce solutions, they are linked, and changes to one end can have consequences on the other. 
  • Traditional eCommerce solutions typically use ready-made templates that make it simpler to set-up and launch a store, but limits its customization options. While Headless eCommerce solutions are built from the ground up and forego the use of templates.  Allowing more customization options. 

Why Choose Headless eCommerce?

Now that we have seen the full picture, let’s look at some of the reasons why you should consider making the switch:

  • Headless eCommerce makes it easier to adopt new technologies. Because Headless eCommerce solutions allow you to make changes to the code without negatively impacting either the frontend or the backend in the process. Making it easier to adopt new technologies as they become available.

  • Headless offers more customization options compared to traditional eCommerce. Because most traditional eCommerce solutions come with templates you can use to create a store, they’re, as mentioned, easier to set up. However, Headless eCommerce platforms don’t use templates and every site is built from scratch. As a result, they’re far more customizable based on your requirements and what your customers want or expect.

     

  • Headless eCommerce makes site changes less complicated. Once a Headless commerce storefront is developed, it’s simpler to make changes to the site without using extensive coding.

  • Headless eCommerce eliminates any limitations on store developers. With traditional eCommerce platforms, developers are limited to the functionality the given template offers. As such, if they want to make any changes to the frontend, they need to change the backend, database, and the code. A Headless commerce platform eliminates this problem by allowing developers to create a totally customized solution from the ground up.

 

  • Headless eCommerce offers a quicker return on investment. Although you might think that you’ll be able to realize value faster with a traditional eCommerce solution because it uses templates, this isn’t actually the case. Because you’re able to develop exactly the customer experience you want with a Headless commerce solution, delivering the final solution with less time, effort, and costs invested. 

  • Headless eCommerce provides better, cross-platform customer experiences. As mentioned earlier, you can customize a Headless eCommerce solution based on your needs. In addition, because the frontend and backend are separated in a Headless eCommerce architecture, you can ensure your store works as it should across all platforms. This ensures a seamless customer experience no matter the platform your customers use. 

Do Your Customers Care?

Nowadays, customers don’t only use their laptops or PCs to browse their favorite eCommerce stores. They also use their mobile devices. In fact, mobile eCommerce has grown steadily in the past few years, and in 2021, the mobile eCommerce market accounted for $3.56 trillion in sales. As a result, it’s vital that you offer exceptional customer experiences across all mobile and desktop devices. Something you can definitely achieve with a Headless approach. 

 

Another way in which Headless eCommerce influences a customer’s brand experience is speed. In fact, 40% of customers abandon a website when it takes longer than three seconds to load while a one-second delay in page load time can reduce conversion rate by as much as 7%. 

 

Thus, if you want to provide exceptional experiences across all platforms and make sure your store’s performance is up to scratch, the best choice you can make is building a Headless eCommerce store.

But now the question is: How is data managed and exchanged between the front and backend in a Headless eCommerce architecture? With these platforms, data is managed and exchanged by storefront’s APIs. 

Likewise, any changes to the store’s code are relayed through these APIs. This gives developers the ability to make changes to the front end without the risk of breaking any of the backend code. 

Isn’t it Time You Turn Your Store Headless?

Considering the above, isn’t it time for you to go Headless with your eCommerce store? If it is, get in touch with Seeed. We’ve recently partnered with Shogun to deliver tailor-made Headless eCommerce solutions to our clients. 

What sets us apart is that we are a Nearshoring agency with more than 10 years of experience in creating custom solutions that ensure unique and exceptional customer experiences. In addition, in all our projects we use the Agile and Scrum project management methodologies, which ensures less implementation time and significant savings on development costs.

It’s time to embrace new development trends like Headless,
to offer memorable customer experiences.
Talk to our Headless experts today!

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