ux vs cxDevin Jackson

6 minute read

What is Headless Commerce?

Published 2024-01-08T06:00:00 by Devin Jackson

The eCommerce industry has snowballed since the start of the 21st century. From social commerce to mobile shopping, numerous branches of eCommerce have fueled the industry’s growth in recent years. However, consumer behaviors are ever-changing, so e-commerce businesses must adapt.

Among the most effective solutions for modern challenges within the industry is headless commerce, which offers considerable agility and flexibility. In this guide, you’ll learn about headless commerce and the many advantages that come with using it. You’ll also discover how to implement it on your website.

Understanding Headless Commerce

Headless commerce is an eCommerce model that effectively separates the back-end functionality from the front-end layer. Implementing this model enables you to deliver content to websites, IoT devices, and apps more effectively. The features and functionality of the back end can be sent to any front end you create.

If you opt for this strategy, you can create different front-end experiences for each access point while maintaining the same back-end system. In this scenario, you can take advantage of being omnichannel when meeting your customers on their preferred devices. 

As for the back end, it’s possible to use loosely coupled services to ensure all aspects of your website and app are appropriately handled. Utilizing headless commerce doesn’t lock you into specific vendors. You can switch out services as your company grows

To better understand headless commerce, consider what the traditional model entails. Traditional eCommerce is an all-in-one model where the front and back end are linked, which means that alterations to one portion of the website could impact the other. 

The main benefit of traditional eCommerce is that everything can be packaged with pre-installed tools, making it more affordable than the alternative. However, the conventional model also has high development costs and slow update timelines. Your customization opportunities are limited as well. 

Benefits of Headless Commerce

Choosing headless commerce for your website and brand can be highly advantageous for many reasons. The benefits of this strategy include the following:

  • Flexibility for developers and brands
  • Scalability and future-proofing
  • Integration of new technologies
  • Speed and performance advantages
  • Ownership over site architecture and design
  • Marketing effectiveness and customer acquisition cost reduction
  • Omnichannel capabilities and international expansion opportunities

Headless commerce allows you to select the eCommerce solution that best suits your online storefront and pairs well with your front end. If you choose a DXP, CMS, or custom solution, you shouldn’t have issues integrating it with your website.


Headless technology also accommodates scalability. You can change your front end without addressing the back end simultaneously. You won’t need to build a new website when you require new functionalities and features. 

Integration of new technologies is also more straightforward with headless commerce. You don’t need to stick to a single CMS. If you wish to connect another DXP, IoT, or CMS, you can change the front end without impacting the existing back-end operations. 

Headless commerce also offers significant speed and performance advantages. Maintaining a fast e-commerce storefront is crucial to remaining ahead of the competition. Around 40% of users will navigate away from a website if it takes more than two seconds to load. A headless platform allows content to be housed in a central location and delivered anywhere using APIs. This strategy ensures a much quicker delivery that should keep your customers satisfied. 

You’ll have complete ownership over your site architecture as well. Content delivery and management are separated when using headless. With this strategy, you can change content without affecting the rest of your website. Many companies choose headless because they don’t need a front-end solution. Instead, they’re searching for a more robust back-end system. With the headless approach, you can keep the things you like and improve areas that need them. 

Your marketing efforts should also be more effective. If you go with the traditional model, creating new experiences with your front end may be challenging. A headless solution makes it possible to respond quickly to trends and implement new technologies. You’ll be able to satisfy your target audience without creating problems with the back-end functionality. 

Since you don’t need to make substantial changes to the back end to customize the front end for marketing purposes, you should save considerable money for customer acquisition. You will only need to rely on paid advertising sparingly. By customizing customer experiences, you can acquire more organic traffic.

Since you can implement an omnichannel strategy with headless commerce, it should be easier for you to expand internationally. The benefits provided by headless commerce allow you to save time and money when launching new experiences. Headless solutions are optimized for international SEO. Developers can also make customer-facing experiences for different locations without affecting the commerce engine.

Headless Commerce Use Cases

Headless commerce has many use cases. One reason why companies use this strategy is for PCI compliance mitigation. By decoupling the front and back end, IT teams can perform less work bolstering the site’s security. The website’s SaaS provider will take on some of these responsibilities.

You can create a custom solution to meet specific business needs using headless commerce. This model gives you the tools to customize your website without paying high costs and performing extensive maintenance. APIs offer the kind of flexibility that’s not available with the traditional eCommerce model. 

You could also focus on integration with content management systems (CMS) when using headless commerce. Integrating the headless model with a CMS allows you to use solutions like Drupal or WordPress to deliver excellent customer experiences. If you have an omnichannel strategy, you can make channel-specific content with APIs controlling your back and front end. 

Headless commerce can also be used with Digital Experience Platforms (DXP). This software allows you to maintain and consistently improve the customer experience by digitizing business operations. Combining these technologies gives you a robust eCommerce platform to deliver content more flexibly. 

Companies can also provide enhanced user experiences by combining headless commerce with Progressive Web Apps (PWA). These programs offer an app-like experience on the web. Even though the pages on a PWA are just like the ones found on traditional websites, they can appear like native mobile apps. For example, PWA sites can be equipped with push notifications. With headless commerce, you can implement PWA into the front end without changing the back end.

Headless Commerce Platforms and Tools

Three popular headless commerce platforms and tools include Shopify, Adobe Commerce, and BigCommerce. Shopify is a commonly used eCommerce platform that provides site owners with a vast app store. For many years, Shopify was a traditional eCommerce solution. However, the platform’s GraphQL API eventually added headless compatibility via Shopify Plus. 

You can use Shopify Plus to publish to many different channels. You’ll have complete control over different devices and touchpoints. It’s possible to implement everything from a CMS and CRM to an ERP, depending on your needs. You can integrate your eCommerce storefront with other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Shopify Plus starts at $2,000 per month

Adobe Commerce is another headless commerce platform that offers ample customization. Developers can make applications that meet the specific needs of their customers. Remember that Adobe Commerce offers numerous omnichannel solutions stored on the cloud. 

This platform provides users a robust inventory management system for thorough tracking at all warehouses and storefronts. The information gathered by this system is updated in real-time, allowing you to make decisions based on current data. You’ll benefit from analytics tools that give insights into order values and retention rates. 

Headless commerce functionality is also available through BigCommerce. Decoupling the commerce engine from the front-end interface allows you to run different stores simultaneously from a single location. BigCommerce offers excellent performance that scales well, no matter the size of your company. APIs are available for Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, WordPress, Amazon, and eBay. You can try out BigCommerce by activating its one-month free trial.

How to Implement Headless Commerce

To transition to a headless commerce architecture, you must first decouple your website’s front end from its back end with a headless API. If you already use a CMS like Shopify, you can use their headless API. You can then connect the API to Shopify’s headless CMS, which takes care of the back end. 

Before switching to headless commerce, consider the capabilities of your developers and IT teams. Use a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider for your headless CMS for seamless integration and deployment. With this approach, you can quickly set up the headless CMS without much technical knowledge. If your developers have experience with headless commerce, consider taking an open-source approach. Open-source software provides developers access to a platform’s code base for more comprehensive customization.

FAQs About Headless Commerce

What’s the difference between headless commerce and a headless CMS?

Headless commerce occurs when you separate the back-end eCommerce solution from the front-end presentation layer. A headless CMS can separate the back end and front end as well. However, it only provides you with the back-end layer. You’ll still need to build the front-end layers. 

How does BigCommerce headless differ from Adobe Commerce headless?

Each platform has its advantages. For example, the headless technology available through BigCommerce allows users to sync large amounts of data quickly. BigCommerce supports numerous front-end solutions, including everything from WordPress to Adobe Experience Manager. In comparison, Magento mainly supports Adobe Experience Manager and Acquia. 

Is headless right for every eCommerce storefront?

The traditional eCommerce model is still used by many brands today, which means that only some businesses need to use headless. However, headless commerce offers many advantages, which include the following:

  • Low customer acquisition costs
  • Flexibility for developers
  • Easy integration with new technologies
  • Much quicker speeds


Headless commerce allows you to enhance your website’s front and back end without impacting the other. The changes you implement on the front end will maintain the performance of the back end. You’re free to develop highly customizable front-ends that deliver unique experiences to your customers. 

Platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify offer headless solutions that should meet your needs. In today’s eCommerce landscape, headless commerce is more important than ever. The flexibility it provides ensures that you can react quickly and scale rapidly. It’s highly recommended that you explore and adopt headless commerce for future growth and innovation.

Devin Jackson

Devin Jackson

Bryt Designs

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