Your business’s choice of eCommerce platform will impact its future in many ways. The platform your business chooses determines how quickly it can adapt to changing market conditions and evolving technology. It influences the features you can offer to customers and when you can offer them. It even impacts how secure your store is and how well it can protect customer data.
Forward-looking eCommerce retailers choose platforms that give them as much choice and flexibility as possible. They avoid investing in platforms that limit and constrain future business decisions.
Today, that means choosing a headless or decoupled platform. Headless eCommerce offers a degree of flexibility and adaptability that monolithic eCommerce applications cannot match. Decoupling the front-end from the back-end is not just a technical choice; it helps eCommerce retailers to achieve their strategic business goals.
Scalability and Performance
One of the biggest challenges of running a monolithic eCommerce store is performance. When the front-end and back-end are tightly coupled, they cannot be scaled independently. Unexpected traffic spikes cause poor performance on the back-end because the interface and the back-end use the same pool of resources.
With a decoupled eCommerce store, the front-end is usually hosted on different infrastructure. A large proportion of the processing and rendering workload is carried out on user devices, not on the retailer’s infrastructure. Plus, the headless eCommerce platform takes care of scaling and performance management of the back-end, leaving retailers free to focus on building the best possible eCommerce experience.
True Omnichannel eCommerce
The days of browsing eCommerce stores on a desktop computer are over, but that was the world monolithic eCommerce applications were built to serve. Developers may have retrofitted them with mobile-friendly design and REST APIs, but none are as adaptable as a truly API-driven platform.
With a headless eCommerce store, the same back-end serves a multitude of touchpoints, from Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and native mobile applications to conversational interfaces and smart devices—not to mention in-store Points of Sale.
Agile Marketing and Development
Headless frees retailers to build eCommerce experiences that meet the needs of their customers. That means touchpoints designed to cater to individual market sectors, the ability to iterate quickly on marketing strategies, increased agility, and optimized shopping experiences. All without the complexity and expense of dealing with an opinionated platform that tries to dictate what a great shopping experience should look like.
The features and services of headless eCommerce platforms are accessed via APIs, making it far easier to integrate the platform with third-party services. Headless platforms are designed so that any ERP, marketing tool, customer relationship management tool, or content management tool can access and manage eCommerce data. Well-engineered APIs power integration and automation in a way that would have been challenging and extremely expensive just a few years ago.
ECommerce brands are embracing headless eCommerce because it gives them the adaptability, agility, and integrations they need to serve an increasingly diverse online market. With the help of a 3rd party integration layer that utilizes the flexible APIs found in headless eCommerce platforms, B2B manufacturers and distributors can now integrate directly with individual buying organizations that could be using any eProcurement or ERP system.
About the Author: Brady Behrman is the CEO of PunchOut2Go, a PunchOut catalog developing company based in Virginia specializing in e-procurement to enable B2B commerce for suppliers to sell to buyers via Ariba, Jaggaer (formerly SciQuest), Coupa, SAP, Oracle, and other CXML environments. For more information on PunchOut2Go, be sure to check out their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube pages.