The term “Headless Commerce” is the concept of separating the frontend “head” from the backend “body” through the use of an API layer. A headless commerce solution is responsible for handling commerce logic, such as product, cart, and checkout, all via an API.
True headless commerce utilizes APIs on the frontend and backend. For example, it is possible to use a headless frontend (API-driven) with a coupled backend (not API-driven). Headless frontends cater to the complexities around displaying data, whereas headless backends cater to the complexities around creating, managing, and customizing data.
Traditional eCommerce platforms have coupled front and backends, are rigid in their architecture, and lack flexibility for complex business logic. These platforms are template driven and provide a proprietary plugin framework for customizations and extensions.
Headless commerce enables the decoupling of the frontend from the backend, allowing for deeper control over the customer experience, site speed, and integrations that support unique business logic. Headless commerce solutions are technology agnostic and so can be implemented into any device or channel where there are customers.
From the early days of the web, the dot com boom, to the rise of SaaS, how we do business and consume online has changed dramatically over the years.
In the early 00s, traditional eCommerce platforms were created to help retail businesses open new digital channels. This new frontier for businesses was a challenge, resulting in platforms making opinionated decisions on behalf of businesses.
Fast forward to 2020 and how things have changed. Most businesses have an online first distribution model, business use cases and requirements are increasingly varied, and technical literacy is at an all time high.
At Commerce.js, we are building commerce infrastructure for the next generation of businesses that demand control and flexibility over their commerce. Our infrastructure (not a platform) is built to accomodate and scale with the complex nature of modern businesses, supporting open integrations, custom logic, specific workflows, and today's customer's expectations.
Choosing headless commerce gives you granular control over both the frontend performance of your shopping experiences and the backend orchestration of services that power your business. With this control, you can make proactive decisions around what to optimize, what services to use, and when do make these incremental changes.
With this enhanced level of control, you can identify and action easily specific functions to improve of your business without making any tradeoffs. If your commerce business is on a conversion and customer experience mission, headless commerce gives you the ability to get there on your own terms.
Evaluating the benefits and capabilities of a headless commerce solution can be difficult. Every business has different reasons to move away from an all-in-one, monolithic approach to commerce. We created HeadlessCommerce.org to help business builders configure a best-of-breed stack using API driven services.