headless commerce decouples front and back ends for efficiency and improved customer experience

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“Headless commerce” has become an e-commerce buzzword lately, but how can brands use it to their advantage?

“In its most basic terms, ‘headless commerce’ refers to the decoupling of a website’s presentation layer — the front end — from its commerce and business logic/function layer — the back end,” said Meghan Stabler, vice president of product marketing at BigCommerce.

A headless commerce approach “helps a merchant support both the latest in technology and/or end-user devices and also build powerful, personalized and engaging commerce experiences,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

As brands have increased the amount of website content that must be updated regularly, they increasingly have been seeing the advantage of decoupling that content layer from the business layer, while ensuring their customers have a seamless experience between consuming content and making purchases.

“As online shopping increasingly replaces the brick-and-mortar retail experience, consumers have developed an expectation that online brands double as purveyors of rich and engaging content,” observed Stabler. “For them, the experience they have online needs to mimic the one they were accustomed to in-store, and engaging content offers them a digital way to connect more deeply with the brands they like.”

Headless commerce ultimately is an important integration strategy.

“Headless commerce is the key to blending these two experiences — content and commerce — in a more harmonious way, because it allows the merchant to tap one platform for content and another for commerce, rather than forcing a single platform to handle all aspects of its website, as had been the case previously,” Stabler pointed out.

Headless commerce comes into play whenever a customer comes into contact with a brand.

“Headless commerce essentially brings two concepts together — a turnkey SaaS back end with the core commerce functionality and utility APIs as the delivery mechanism to connect the head,” said Adam Sturrock, vice president of customer success at Moltin.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but headless commerce is not actually headless,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “A head is the customer touchpoint where the transaction and value exchange takes place — such as a website a customer visits, or a mobile app they download and interact with to buy something.”

Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide

Headless Commerce Benefits

A primary benefit of headless commerce strategies is that they give companies greater flexibility and allow for extensive customization.

“In the past, merchants were forced to choose between a website that…