Headless e-commerce, e.g. by the use of a Progressive Web App, is a technological answer to a solution without a fixed front end user interface.
The benefits of separating front- and backend in API-based commerce are:
- a short time-to-market,
- performance scaled to business needs
- high-performing websites
- you will easily drive innovations for your business
- seamless support of different channels or touchpoints
- offering the ultimate customer experience
An agile, scalable and future-proof e-commerce platform is what you get when you opt for API-based (or "headless") commerce. The management and database logic are connected via an API to the front end, which is fully equipped to the taste and needs of the brand, company or channel.
Platforms will become increasingly sophisticated, with ever better performance, and their time-to-market will be shortened as IT development becomes more efficient. In order to remain relevant in an increasingly demanding market, it is necessary to be able to set up initiatives quickly.
Go live quicker with API-based commerce
The development speed of a traditional e-commerce solution with front end and back end integrated, is often faster than in a headless environment or for a Progressive Web App. This is because many standards have already been defined in the front end. By staying close to the standard, much less development needs to take place. This is why, to reduce development effort, Intershop offers a ready-to-use PWA, Open Source and based on Angular. This shortens the project time to just customization.
What you need in a headless approach are clearly defined models for data exchange between front and back end. Because these are no longer connected, clear agreements must be in order. But starting with a smartly framed MVP (minimum viable product), a working environment can go live after a few weeks, too.
React quickly to changing business needs with API-based commerce
When opting for a commerce solution that leverages APIs and Packaged Business Capabilities in Composable Commerce, you are free to exchange feature clusters that no longer fulfill the needs of your customers. If, for example, your on-site search is too slow, or not able to personalize the website's content towards the needs of the website visitor, you could think about exchanging this business capability without having effects on other parts of the system.
API-based commerce boosts website performance
The speed of a website largely determines your success. Google supports this statement:
57% of visitors will leave a page if the loading time exceeds 3 seconds.
The commercial effect of a faster website speaks for itself. Depending on the technology chosen for the front end, a headless architecture can make the website relatively fast.
Drive innovations with API-based commerce
The extent to which you are able to anticipate changes determines whether or not you are a leader in your market. With a flexible front end, the architecture is better equipped to build a micro service and experiment with a new business model.
The micro service outside the platform is called via an API. In this way, you do not develop legacy code in a package, which means that an update in the future will be less labor and time intensive.
You can continue testing and have to make a relatively small investment for new functionalities or innovations. This limits the negative effect on your e-commerce ROI in case the test doesn't bring success.
API-based commerce enables fast scaling across new touchpoints
Customers want seamless commerce, on every touchpoint, no matter if desktop website, shopping app, in-app buy on social media, market place, a brick and mortar store or on the tablet of a sales consultant. Therefore, it is no longer sufficient to only process orders via a web shop. Due to the disconnected architecture, it is possible to operate all channels more easily from one back end. For example, you can also set up a drop-shipment website in a new continent.
Think about linking e-commerce to already existing technology and user interfaces, for example in cars: welcome, car commerce. By being prepared, by means of a headless architecture, a car can serve as a user interface for shopping.
API-based commerce provides better customer experience
With a headless structure, the back end can be linked to multiple shopping channels. This makes it easier to coordinate your stock management. An additional advantage is that by connecting a smart POS system to your commerce environment, the data flows back into the e-commerce environment. Analysis and visualization of online and offline data is thus easier and of higher quality.
A great seamless customer experience and personalization is the ambition of many companies. With a headless structure like a Progressive Web App as separated user interface, you will be forced to think carefully about the design and the choices to be made. It is not predefined by default.
The enormous freedom at the separated front end allows the e-commerce manager to create a target group specific customer journey, and looking at the customer experience, in this way the best result can be achieved.
If you are evaluating whether you need a new commerce platform that supports all this, our whitepaper can help you make the business case!