04 October 2018

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What is Headless Commerce?

You may have heard the term thrown around quite a lot recently, especially given the current state of the retail industry, but what exactly makes headless commerce “headless” and is it worth the hype?


Start At The Top

Let’s start with breaking down the definition of headless: the “head” refers to the front end of an eCommerce platform, essentially, the bit that your customers see. Therefore, headless commerce is the decoupling of the front end from the back end of the commerce platform. Yet without the “head”, how exactly can an eCommerce site function?

Well, technically your site will still have a front-end, it will just have to be created from scratch, rather than the pre-defined user experience of a front-end that comes with a traditional platform.

Sound like a lot of hard work? Sure, with headless commerce, front-end developers will have their work cut out for them, but there are benefits to not choosing a predefined front end. Instead of being limited to the constraints of a traditional commerce platform, front-end developers can create a user experience that fits entirely with the purposes and goals of your business.


The Future Is Smart

Ecommerce is changing. Brands can’t afford to stick to traditional eCommerce models. Amazon is a prime example of a market that has changed the way consumers view and interact with brands. Users now expect a tailored experience that emphasises a community and drives content. A prime example of this is through the popularity of smart voice assistants and how consumers are experiencing new ways to search for products and place orders.


BigCommerce recently announced their BigCommerce for WordPress integration, as well as their Commerce-as-a-Service initiative, to empower merchants to grow their stores through the flexibility of a CMS. This will allow brands to deliver customised experiences while still being able to manage their catalog, customer and order data through BigCommerce.


This doesn’t necessarily mean headless commerce is for everyone. Traditional commerce platforms are armed with a set user experience that may just well be enough for you and your business. However, if you want some more customisation, they can put limitations on what developers can do, often requiring them to go through multiple layers of code to make the change they need. Even if the platform offers unrestricted access to code, traditional platforms are designed to deliver content in the form of websites, and potentially native mobile apps, which puts constraints on businesses growing with the rate of technology.


The flexibility of headless commerce means that brands will be able to tailor their content and products, so it can be delivered to smartwatches, home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and even smart fridges if that’s your thing. The point is, headless commerce is the future of retail. It helps brands grow with the rate of technology so that you can reach more customers than ever before.

As BigCommerce Elite Partners, we have the experience and knowledge to be able to move your store into the realm of headless commerce. While working with the transceiver brand GBICS, it became apparent that headless commerce was the right way forward for them. In a traditional commerce CMS, a data-sheet would need to be uploaded against each product, but with a headless CMS, one sheet can be associated with many products, saving a tremendous amount of time and effort. The same principle is being applied to a restaurant chain the team is currently working on, but instead focusing on suppliers, recipes and eventually, events.


For more information on BigCommerce for WordPress integration, get in touch with us here. Get ahead of your competitors and say goodbye to tradition.




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