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Five benefits of headless commerce

GoCardless
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Last editedNov 20222 min read

Headless commerce is a form of ecommerce that separates front-end and back-end systems. The front-end systems manage the customer experience. The back-end systems manage the practical operations. An API (application programming interface) connects them. Here is a quick guide to the five main benefits of headless commerce.

Main benefit of headless commerce is flexibility

All the benefits of headless commerce stem from the fact that it is a flexible and agile way of operating. The headless commerce approach can be used alongside the composable commerce approach for even more flexibility and scalability.

Headless commerce makes for easier development

Splitting one system into two means that each of the remaining systems is smaller than the original one. Reducing the size of anything generally makes it more manageable. This is definitely the case with headless commerce. The front-end and back-end systems can be developed independently of each other. The API can make them work together as one.

More specifically, headless commerce makes for easier integrations. With headless commerce, it’s fine if a potential integration only works with your front- end or your back- end. You don’t need it to work with both. The API takes care of any translations required between the two systems.

Headless commerce reduces your time-to-market

This is a result of the previous point. Making development simpler reduces the time needed for it and hence your time-to-market. This has three main benefits. Firstly, it allows you to strike while the iron is hot. In other words, if you identify a short-term opportunity (e.g. a consumer trend), leverage it while it is still strong.

Secondly, be more confident about reacting to changes that might be trends. Be reasonably confident that you will have your update in place quick enough for it to be worthwhile, even if the change is a trend. If it turns out that the change isn’t a trend, then the value of your implementation increases accordingly.

Thirdly, you’re in less danger of being left behind by competitors. Hopefully, you’re paying close attention to what your competitors are doing. If you see them setting an example you should be following, then follow it with minimal delay.

Headless commerce reduces development costs

The easier and quicker it is to develop something, the less it costs. The advantages of this are very similar to the advantages of short development time. There is an extra potential benefit. 

Reduced costs make it possible, or easier, to justify taking a few risks and experimenting. Some of your experiments will probably fail. They may still provide a valuable learning experience. Others will succeed and really enhance your business.

Headless commerce makes omnichannel retail more efficient

Omnichannel retailers use multiple front-end contact points to send the customer down their sales funnel. For example, a social media advert leads someone to try out a mobile app. This leads them to a website from which they then make a purchase. 

Orchestrating all of this with traditional commerce models is so slow and expensive that it becomes painful. Using traditional, combined systems in an omnichannel environment also increases the risk of technical issues. The demands on the system lead to massive complexity, and the more complex a system is, the more easily it is derailed by malfunctions.

The growing importance of omnichannel retail is one of the main drivers behind the adoption of headless commerce. Modern ecommerce companies are increasingly aware that online purchases can now be made through a growing number of devices. Many of these devices have very different characteristics and require very different treatment from front-end interfaces. 

Headless commerce is much better at supporting this than traditional solutions. It is also much better at supporting a high level of customisation. This means that it delivers highly personalised customer experiences.

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