Move away from the linear model; headless ecommerce allows for new connections within your online retail system.
If your ecommerce approach is feeling unwieldy, it could be time for a change. However, making a move to a headless ecommerce model can also lead to uncertainty among your employees. Is your brand ready for the change? Weighing the pros and cons carefully can help you determine whether you're ready to make the leap into a new model for your business.
What Is Headless Ecommerce?
In the world of traditional ecommerce, large infrastructures and systems rule. The front-end and back-end systems are all connected, and generally there is an individual or team that understands how to manage these interconnected systems.
With headless ecommerce, the view changes. Instead of a single, connected, and often complex system, Techopedia says that headless ecommerce is "a scenario where an e-commerce platform has back-end and front-end systems that are decoupled from one another. " The system is no longer a single complex unit but a flexible ecosystem of moving parts that are able to change as your business changes.
The Benefits of Headless Ecommerce
If you have a large, traditional ecommerce infrastructure, are there any benefits to adopting a headless ecommerce model? You don't have to adopt a headless model, but it could have a number of distinct benefits for your business. These include:
- Flexibility. Headless ecommerce will allow your business to become more flexible at addressing business needs and customer needs because you don't need to change everything to change one thing. Imagine if you had to change your windows every time you painted your house. That's what happens in a traditional ecommerce system. One change leads to changes all of the way down the line. In a flexible headless model, you can change the paint color without worrying about the windows - unless you want to.
- Speed. Business today moves at a very fast pace. Not only do you need to be able to meet customer needs for your products, but you also need to be able to meet their needs for communication, website design, a specific sales process, and the list goes on and on. With a headless ecommerce model, you can change what needs to be changed and do it quickly, without having to reorient the rest of your ecommerce system.
- Multichannel. Traditional ecommerce systems were built when people did most of their online browsing and shopping on a desktop computer. Today, customers might enter your website through a social media platform, through an email, on a phone or computer or tablet. There are so many different platforms and devices to consider. It's critical to have a seamless customer experience no matter what platform a customer is using According to ScaleFast, "a seamless customer experience is one that allows a consumer to interact with a company at any touchpoint, whether online or offline, and have the same flawless experience."
- Customization and personalization. Today, customers are looking for a much higher level of customization in their digital interactions. Through flexible headless ecommerce models, you can not only make their experience seamless, but you can also make each customer feel like they're having a tailored experience based on their own needs.
The Cons of Headless Ecommerce
While headless ecommerce is wonderful for many businesses, it also has its cons to consider. What are some of the challenges of this model?
It involves work, but it is a different kind of work. The front end of the system doesn't come pre-baked. It has to be created from scratch. Traditional systems may be large and inflexible, but they have many features that are all ready to go. If your business doesn't have the budget to accommodate enough customization, then headless ecommerce could fall flat.
To be flexible, you need to spend time stretching. Since your business wants to respond to emerging customer needs, new platforms, and the desire for personalization, you will need to spend a lot of time managing the system. This will also require resources. To get the optimal control over your storefront, you will need to spend time and money on its maintenance.
The functionality of your headless system is still determined by factors within your system, specifically what your CMS supports. Before jumping enthusiastically into a decision, make sure that you have a CMS that is able to support the many different elements that you require as part of your headless ecommerce model.
Headless ecommerce sites need updating, and this can be more onerous as it's a custom design. Large-scale systems often have upgrades that happen, but these upgrades are part of an entire system overhaul. Since your system is customized, it will need updating in bits and pieces. You will need time to troubleshoot problems, manage security, and keep the headless system up-to-date in every way.
While there can be challenges to adopting a headless ecommerce model, the benefits could outweigh them. Sitting down with your leadership and your sales and marketing teams can help you analyze your company's need for a headless ecommerce system and determine whether you have the ability to make the shift occur successfully.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing an Ecommerce System
As you debate between traditional and headless ecommerce, consider the following:
- What budget do you have to devote to construction?
- What time and money can you devote to maintenance?
- How complex are your customer interactions and systems? Do they require headless ecommerce?
- Are you experiencing a need for flexibility due to consistent growth and change?
If you have the resources and the need for headless ecommerce, it's a journey worth pursuing with your business. Consider your business goals and whether they place you in a position in which you require or aspire to a headless ecommerce model.
At Connection Model, our goal is to help you connect with your customers through flexible ecommerce models. If you're considering a headless ecommerce approach, talk with us. Request an assessment of your business needs and the opportunities that you could create. Contact us today.
Written By: David Carpenter