Written by Pranita Narvekar
Business Analyst at Royal Cyber
Businesses and consumers demand a convenient and unified buying experience, across multiple digital touch points, but traditional e-commerce architectures are ill-suited for the constant digital commerce evolution. Their monolithic approach often transforms small changes into time-consuming projects.
Thankfully headless e-commerce offers a faster, agile alternative.
Headless architecture separates key functionalities into individual components that interact with each other through standardized interfaces.
Headless Commerce is a commerce platform that has a front-end decoupled with its back-end. The independently functioning front-end and back-end create a personalized and connected digital experience across multiple channels. The head, or a front-end, is the representation layer of an application or user interface where users interact with the system.
The UI reacts to their inputs by showing information of performing tasks such as adding products to the cart. The front-end is not the only way customers interact with the system. There are more variations of how a machine can be structured, e.g., Chatbots, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Digital Kiosk, etc. These machines bring in their technical pre-requisites while communicating with the system and the demands for a complex architecture. To build a new front-end for each of these, we need a headless approach.
With headless front-end, developers are set free from the complex structure of the back-end, allowing them to focus on optimizing and enhancing the user experience. Going headless with your commerce allows you to switch easily between front-ends or deploy new ones.
The body or the back-end, which is your operational layer that contains all the business logic, is responsible for the data crunching and the cumbersome logic. This back-end plays an important role in enabling key functions such as master data management, infrastructure security, product information management, inventory and warehouse management, and customer data management. These business functions such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), are part of back-end, running on your servers or in the cloud.
With headless, these functions can run separately from the front-end interaction. For instance: if an order is placed through a mobile app or put in the system by a sales agent, the back-end processes it. Hence, we need a fast, reliable, and flexible way to pass data from front-end to the back-end and vice versa with a clear separation between front-end and back-end. This clear separation is possible through API, which allows you to connect head of the body and provide flexibility to scale the customer-facing experience independent of back-end.
Headless commerce functions by passing requests between the presentation and application layers through APIs calls. Headless architecture delivers a platform via RESTful APIs that comprise of a back-end data model and a cloud infrastructure.
commercetools is a pioneer in this with their API-first or API-only approach, offering a highly configurable and expandable platform. Merchants profit from increased flexibility and a faster time to market, while consumers enjoy cutting-edge and personalized end-to-end processes.
Still headless e-commerce is not the right choice for everyone. Individual strategy and status quo determine what e-commerce architecture is best for you.
Royal Cyber can help you make these decisions and support your evolution with deep technical expertise and architecture understanding. We provide objective recommendations by looking at both sides of the equation to ensure required investments are understood and sustainable. In doing so, we enable you to put your customers first and prepare your business future ready with or without a head.