Accelerate Online Sales: Headless & API-driven E-commerce

The adage ‘Customer is king’ still holds true. Brick and mortar shops used to be the sole touchpoint for consumers in the past. It was easier to interact with them and meet their demands. As the digital landscape is growing, consumer touchpoints are also increasing.  Digital customers like to shop online anywhere and at any time, based on their convenience. With the pandemic enabling the transition to touchless transactions, customers are buying online using their phones, even when they are at a physical store. This is where headless, API-driven E-commerce comes to the forefront. It is difficult for E-commerce businesses, especially SMEs, to stay updated with the technical side of the business. Optimize your business processes from content management to fulfillment with headless, API-driven E-commerce solutions. Get access to the most sophisticated, flexible and cutting-edge front-end applications without having to build anything in the back-end. Have we got your attention? Read on to learn how headless E-commerce could change the whole E-commerce game for you.

What is headless E-Commerce?

Headless E-commerce is exactly what it sounds like: separation of the frontend and backend of an E-commerce application. They both are detached or removed from the backend. In other words, the front and backend operate independently.

How is Headless E-Commerce different from traditional E-Commerce?

Typically, an E-commerce platform’s front and back-ends are closely connected. The front-end is pre-established and linked to the back-end. In practical terms, the platform can only produce content via a website or a mobile app. Even the best developers and customization features cannot make the platform produce content independently.    

Contrary to traditional E-commerce, headless E-commerce architectures use REST APIs with a back-end data model and cloud-based infrastructure. Application Programming Interfaces or APIs pass requests between the back-end and the front-end.   

For instance, when an order is placed, these connecting APIs communicate requests between the front and back-end.    

Let’s see what this implies in practice. When a user clicks on the order button on their smartphone or gives a voice command to purchase their cloud-based AI-powered voice service platform (ALEXA, SIRI), the presentation layer of the headless E-commerce system (front-end) sends an API call (message) to the application layer (back-end) to process the order. Simultaneously, another API call is sent to the order processing application and a fulfillment application to choose the cheapest, quickest fulfillment method and provider for the order. The application layer will send an API call back to the presentation layer to send the customer their order status.  

How is Headless E-Commerce different from traditional E-Commerce?

Typically, an E-commerce platform’s front and back-ends are closely connected. The front-end is pre-established and linked to the back-end. In practical terms, the platform can only produce content via a website or a mobile app. Even the best developers and customization features cannot make the platform produce content independently.    

Contrary to traditional E-commerce, headless E-commerce architectures use REST APIs with a back-end data model and cloud-based infrastructure. Application Programming Interfaces or APIs pass requests between the back-end and the front-end.   

For instance, when an order is placed, these connecting APIs communicate requests between the front and back-end.    

Let’s see what this implies in practice. When a user clicks on the order button on their smartphone or gives a voice command to purchase their cloud-based AI-powered voice service platform (ALEXA, SIRI), the presentation layer of the headless E-commerce system (front-end) sends an API call (message) to the application layer (back-end) to process the order. Simultaneously, another API call is sent to the order processing application and a fulfillment application to choose the cheapest, quickest fulfillment method and provider for the order. The application layer will send an API call back to the presentation layer to send the customer their order status.  

Why Should you be interested in Headless E-Commerce?

The core of headless E-commerce systems is that the front and back-ends operate independently. This allows brands to deliver a better online customer experience across a wide range of devices.    

Being an E-commerce SME, it’s often impossible to keep up with the latest experiences and touchpoints. Updating the traditional E-commerce systems is time-consuming as you need to work on both the front-end and back-end. By the time a new feature is implemented, it is probably already outdated. 

Headless E-commerce allows your back-end developers to use APIs to deliver core elements of your business on every device. At the same time, your front-end developers can focus on designing and presenting content using the most suitable framework. Headless, API-driven E-commerce is not just a concept; it genuinely makes a difference. Changing the user interface and content delivery to new IoT devices like tablets, smartwatches and voice devices is easier and quicker. The transformation that APIs for E-commerce have brought about cannot be underestimated. There have been significant technological advancements in the E-commerce platform over the last 30 years.    

With the explosion of digital channels, traditional platforms have struggled to support technological demands. Tight integration between the storefront and back-end systems does not offer the agility and flexibility necessary to satisfy diverse and ever-changing customer needs.    

As the customer’s expectations from E-commerce experiences increase, retailers are increasingly adopting ‘customer-first’ approaches to experience design and optimization. They accept that commercial success depends on delivering relevant and consistent customer experiences, regardless of how customers engage with their brands.    

A new E-commerce platform gives retailers the ability to optimize all aspects of the end-to-end customer journey. This lets them meet customer needs more easily.

Advantages of Headless, API-driven E-commerce for Online Retailers

Here are the key advantages of API-driven E-commerce and its functions:   

  1. Enables Quick Changes to your Front-end  

Update and introduce new experiences in the blink of an eye. In traditional E-commerce, any small update in the front-end requires an update to the back-end, which takes hours. Let’s assume you want to implement a custom checkout flow or add a new application. You can do this directly without worrying about the back-end. As soon as you make changes to your front-end, it gets implemented immediately. No waiting, no time lost and no extra investment at the back-end.   

  1. Keeps you at the Cutting Edge of UI and UX  

Control user experience and user interface elements of your online shop across devices. Get ultimate, one-click control over the look and feel of your online shop. You can experiment with the interface while ensuring consistency. With no front-end and back-end dependency, developers can create new user experiences. This is how big brands implement real-time updates. You can also stay updated with the latest design trends and customer expectations.     

  1. Lets you Introduce New Features  

Headless E-commerce systems are based on APIs. This lets them connect seamlessly to other applications and platforms whenever required. Optimize your operations by connecting an API to a new state-of-the-art technological solution and make your shop available instantly on any device. Did you launch a new product? With APIs, you don’t need months to integrate an E-commerce platform with new technology. It gets done in only a few hours.   

  1. The Zero skill Approach  

New technologies can be intimidating. Do your employees need to be trained in these technologies? How much time does it take to implement it and what will be the total cost? These questions arise when you try to adapt to new technologies.    

With headless E-commerce, you can update the front-end using simple programming applications. You can get creative with the content you publish without having advanced tech skills and update the front-end with minimal developer guidance.   

  1. Reduces Costs  

This is a simple equation. As front-end changes don’t involve changes to the back-end, the time and costs of your development budget go down. Implementing headless templates and partner applications helps you optimize the design process and other operational areas of your business using automatic tools.

Accelerate e-commerce Growth with Headless Commerce Platforms

Headless platforms like the Concord Commerce Platform are transforming retailers’ ability to innovate quickly in delivering outstanding customer experiences.     

This becomes possible because the storefront and back-end are no longer hard-wired. Instead, they are connected through APIs. This separation gives you the flexibility to adapt and enhance the storefront without affecting back-end systems and data connections.    

Headless platforms promote growth by removing complex storefront integrations in this way, headless platforms promote growth. Retailers migrating to Concord Commerce see their online turnover rise quickly.    

Key growth drivers that headless platforms can unlock?

  1. Customization and Personalization of Customer Experience  

Unlike legacy platforms, headless E-commerce platforms do not restrict retailers to templatized and theme-based storefronts.   

They enable endless customization and personalization to develop and launch customized customer experiences. 

For instance, when customer experience is integral to retail sales growth, you can launch innovative experiences, from endless aisles to ship from store, delivering consistent year-on-year sales growth.   

2.Seamless mobile experiences    

Mobile devices have become the most preferred choice for online shopping, contributing to a total revenue of £60bn, more than half of all digital commerce revenue. Delivering a relevant and engaging mobile experience has become more important than ever. With headless platforms, delivering a seamless mobile commerce experience has become easy. API-based connectivity with back-end systems makes it possible to deploy commerce experiences to any storefront.   

  1. Omnichannel capabilities  

Pure omnichannel services such as shipping from stores, buying online and pick-up in-store experiences are designed to add a human touch to the online journey. This signifies that consumers value these innovations and actively practice them.   

Headless platforms offer a shortcut to innovation. They help retailers by bringing in insights, flexibility and agility needed to facilitate connected customer journeys.    

  1. Easy integration of services and tools  

API-based connectivity offered by headless platforms provides retailers with a better choice when integrating new tools and services within the E-commerce environment. They are no longer limited to platform-specific options but can choose from the best-of-breed solutions in every area 

  1. Strong technology at a lower cost

The primary operating costs associated with traditional, monolithic platforms stem from technological upgrades. Upgrades are essential to acquiring new functionality, maintaining compliance and enhancing security. 

On the other hand, headless platforms are essentially ‘version-less,’ allowing for zero-disruption updates instead of expensive upgrades. Over time, this can reduce the total cost of ownership.    

Meanwhile, quickly adapting to emerging trends and changing customer needs eliminates significant opportunity costs associated with older systems. Their inflexibility ultimately means a longer time to market for crucial innovations. 

Importance of headless platforms

Why are headless E-commerce platforms among the fastest growing innovations? The benefits and easy integration into a customer-first retail world cannot be ignored.   

At Concord Commerce, we are determined to help retailers by providing them access to the benefits of API-driven commerce by removing skills, technology and cost barriers. Unlike other headless platform providers, we combine our platform with:    

  • An intuitive, drag-and-drop CMS with pre-build components    
  • A pre-integrated, endlessly customizable front-end accelerator    
  • A wealth of in-house technical, developer, engineering, UX, and SEO skills that support managed migration and ongoing innovation.

Future-proof your business through APIs

As we know, traditional E-commerce businesses were unable to keep up with technological changes and evolving customer demands. They have moved to poly-functional API-driven systems that provide agile technical architectures to stay competitive.   

To survive in the virtual consumer environment, e-businesses need to lose their heads! Make sure your brand is contemporary and consistent across all user devices. Adapt the front-end without updating the whole system and save time and money! 

Get a competitive edge with Concord Commerce

Businesses need to nurture the customer experience from the beginning to the end of the sale. Before opting for an e-commerce partner, it is vital to understand the capabilities of your existing systems and their limitations. Analyzing your existing resources, customer expectations, omnichannel capabilities, supply chain management and product life cycle stages is a must.     

Partner with Concord and develop a robust e-commerce model that meets the latest standards. Retailers using Concord Commerce can choose from pre-built integrations ranging from payment gateways, reviews and marketplaces, to omnichannel, reporting and analytics, and delivery partners. Provide a delightful sales experience for your customers and help your business rise above the competition. Arrange a meeting today.