Last editedMay 20222 min read
When selecting an ecommerce platform for your business, you’ll have a wide range of choices. While all-in-one platforms can often be ideal for small start-ups, as your business grows you may have the need for greater flexibility. This is where the concept of headless commerce comes into play, with dynamic, multichannel capabilities. So, what is headless commerce, and how can it help subscription businesses? We’ll cover the basics below.
What is headless commerce?
The key characteristic of headless commerce is that it separates front-end processes from back-end channels.
More broadly, headless commerce refers to a tech model or solution designed to organize an ecommerce business using multiple online channels.
Front-end systems include the part of your website, social media profiles, and mobile app that customers can see – like your photos, text, and videos.
Back-end systems include the technology running behind the scenes, including your product catalog, inventory, payment processing, and accounting software.
When the front end and back end are decoupled, this means that each back-end system can operate with its own separate API. You could pick and choose from different systems for each area of your business, connecting the front-end and back-end channels together using a cohesive headless commerce platform.
How do headless commerce platforms work?
Up until recently, ecommerce sites primarily used a single platform for both the back-end systems and front-end user experience. This is known as the “monolithic” approach and is best for smaller users who want a simple, streamlined ecommerce solution right out of the box.
For businesses that prefer more customization and flexibility, headless commerce platforms combine a series of different tools driven by current APIs. These are integrated together by developers so that the APIs communicate with one another for a consistent approach. Each digital touchpoint will need to be tested to ensure it all blends together, integrating back-end systems with a unified front-end experience.
What are the benefits of headless commerce?
Now that we’ve covered how headless commerce platforms work, here are a few key benefits that they provide.
Customization – One of the most obvious benefits of headless commerce is its ability to help businesses customize their own storefronts. Rather than being restricted by a single system, you can connect different functions to different APIs to create the user experience you want.
Relevance – Headless commerce helps create a more personal, relevant shopping experience with real-time product data available to improve customer interactions. You can even use video software to mimic the real, in-store feeling including virtual shopping carts, recommendations, and product demonstrations.
Creativity – When developers use a monolithic platform, they’re limited to using its specific programming language. With a headless commerce platform, developers can program using their preferred languages, encouraging greater freedom and creativity.
Headless commerce platforms for subscription businesses
These benefits really come into play for subscription businesses, who need a system that facilitates recurring payments and ongoing customer service. With headless platforms, it’s easy to manage customer profiles, subscription products, and recurring billing cycles. All aspects of subscription management are joined together with headless architecture. Customer and product data is unified for better coordination and a seamless user experience. Separating front-end and back-end systems shortens load times, for faster responses.
Subscription businesses can also add APIs that let customers take control of their own accounts. They can log in to the ecommerce platform and manage delivery details, orders, and payment details using a sleek interface. Customer satisfaction is important for any business, but for subscription businesses it’s more vital than ever. You need to reduce churn rates and encourage recurring transactions, all of which hinges on the customer being happy over time.
This is where the benefits of headless commerce are clear. A subscription business requires multiple systems to work together. With headless architecture, you pick and choose the ecommerce platforms, billing systems, and payment gateways that make the most sense for your business, rather than getting locked into a one-size-fits-all system.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.