• development,
  • ecommerce,
2020-10-22

Understanding Headless: The future of ecommerce?

There are four main reasons the future of ecommerce is headless. Add them together, and you have a strong case in favour of making your next online store headless. 

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This is part 2 in our Understanding Headless series:

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1. Switching ecommerce platforms is ridiculously expensive 

The increasing complexity of ERP integrations, next day deliveries, omni-channel and cross-border sales makes switching ecommerce platforms painful and expensive. 

A headless setup makes it easier to replace just the parts that aren't working for you. It’s usually faster and cheaper to work around the limitations of your current platform rather than migrating to something new. At least as long as your current setup is decent enough and is headless-compatible. 

Thankfully, most major ecommerce and CMS platforms support building headless storefronts. This means you can build a new headless site that connects to an existing WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento store. There are also several pure headless options available, if you’re starting from scratch.

If you’re still considering migrating to another platform then treat it as a long term investment. Since most business software moves at a glacial pace, good headless support is crucial to future-proof your business. If you have that in place then there is a much better chance that your new platform will continue to work for you 5, 10, maybe even 15 years down the line.

2. Storefronts are updated or replaced on a regular basis

The rate of change in design and front-end development is anything but glacial. Most merchants completely replace their online storefronts every 2-3 years. If that storefront is too heavily tied in to the underlying ecommerce platform, then more often than not you will end up replacing that too. Most of the time this doesn't make any financial sense. 

On top of that the front-end technology that comes bundled with all major ecommerce platforms tend to be outdated – not to say ancient. A headless architecture makes it easy to use the latest front-end technology. This in turn enables building sites that load much faster and that offer significantly better customer experience. On top of that these sites can also be built in significantly less time. 

This is key to staying competitive!

3. Greater flexibility (aka best-of-breed)

The rise of SaaS (Software as a Service) tools and platforms – while in no way exclusive to headless sites – makes going headless even more appealing. 

SaaS effectively means you rent instead of buying or building yourself. You can get a better CMS while paying less. There are also tonnes of niche services – with features and quality previously only available to enterprise customers – that you can integrate at a very low cost. If you’re not happy with a specific service then replacing that with something else is usually quite straightforward.

Relevant ecommerce SaaS vendors include Algolia and Findify which provide search and product recommendations that will outperform anything that comes bundled with your platform. There are also plenty of other offerings for loyalty programs, marketing automation, user generated content, etc.

4. Less risk and lower costs of ownership

As we mentioned in part one of this series, renting instead of buying or building yourself means you don’t need to worry about maintaining servers, installing updates, getting hacked, or plugins that break every other week. The SaaS vendor will already have someone on call in order to take care of any issues and support staff that can help when you need it.

Using SaaS services can also significantly reduce the size of the initial investment as well as the ongoing operating cost compared to building a similar solution yourself.

Rent a fully managed online storefront 

At Hyperlab we offer fully managed online storefronts for many of the leading headless platforms as a SaaS-style service.

Interested? Let's talk about it!