Getting Started with B2B Headless eCommerce

In a previous blog post, we discussed what headless eCommerce is and how it can benefit businesses. When done right, you get a win-win-win situation: Marketers can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time creating outstanding customer experiences (CX). Customers get a fast, consistent, and responsive frontend user experience (UX). Meanwhile, developers can leverage APIs to deliver best-in-class features and functionalities without reinventing the wheel. 

Like any technology, implementing headless eCommerce requires careful planning and orchestration. Here’s what you need to know to get started. 

Portrait of manual worker and manager scanning package in the warehouse

Is Headless eCommerce Right for You? 

While headless technology brings many benefits, you do need to invest in implementation and migration. So, is it worth the investment? Here’s what to consider when deciding if headless eCommerce is the best solution for your company: 

  • Can your business benefit from modernizing its tech stack, e.g., going from traditional HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or jQuery to modern frameworks like Vue, React, and Angular? 
  • Do you have the resources to build a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline to support frequent deployment? 
  • Can static site generation on a headless storefront help you improve performance and achieve the scalability you need? 
  • Is your current monolithic system too complex and interdependent to effectively isolate failures and breaches to minimize impacts on the frontend experience? 
  • Do you have the resources to build a data access layer, including a product database, a backend API for data collection, backend authentication capabilities, and a dashboard for indexing and merchandising?
  • Do you have the time and resources to build templates and user interfaces from scratch and test them thoroughly before deployment?  

Essential Tools For Headless eCommerce Implementation 

How your deployment takes shape will depend on various factors, such as your existing architecture, projected traffic and sales volume, and the balance between flexibility with merchandising and the control your developers need. 

Implementing headless can be more complex than installing a monolithic system because you have to put together tools from various categories to complete the picture: 

Frontend Headless Commerce Tools 

These tools are essential for creating a fluid shopping experience across multiple channels. You can use these tools to deliver relevant content in real-time, create on-demand video experiences, or implement rich, interactive user experiences that can scale with your business. 

Backend Headless Commerce Tools 

Assemble a robust tech stack to support a modern eCommerce experience with these components: 

  • Tools for managing API layers 
  • A headless commerce platform 
  • A headless content management system (CMS) 

Backend Connectivity 

Connectivity is key to delivering a fast and responsive frontend experience. You can use software to streamline backend processes and automate workflows to smooth out the bumps and orchestrate seamless operations. 

Page Builder 

It allows business users to create beautiful and responsive storefronts and landing pages via drag-and-drop visual editors to drive sales and conversions cost-efficiently. You can experiment with variations and find the winning formula that works best for your customers. 

Navigating the Complex Headless Commerce Landscape 

As headless eCommerce becomes a buzzword, many vendors rush to capitalize on the trend by adding headless options or APIs to their existing software. As a result, the market is flooded with a spectrum of components — from bolted-on APIs that can only support a restricted set of frontend experiences to API-first platforms that allow unrestricted frontend customization. 

Besides choosing each element carefully to achieve the flexibility and agility you need, you should be aware of the drawbacks of an off-the-shelf headless CMS:  

First, it doesn’t offer What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) authoring or editing capabilities, making it more difficult for non-technical users to make updates. Then, there’s the challenge of sending customer data between the front end and back end to inform real-time personalization and analytics.  

So how can you get the best of both worlds by combining the extensibility of a headless CMS with the personalization and analytics capabilities of a traditional one? 

That’s why we often recommend Sitecore's headless delivery solutions. You can leverage multiple headless options to render content on any user interface and connect with Sitecore’s contextual content delivery server via API to interpret data and implement real-time personalization.  

Getting Started with Headless 

The most challenging part of implementing a composable eCommerce platform is getting started. Considering every aspect, from evaluating business and technical requirements to selecting the right components for your stack, can be daunting. Working with the right partner can help you shorten the learning curve, build a solid foundation, and avoid costly mistakes.  

RDA can help you implement a headless e-commerce platform and integrate best-in-class customer experience across every channel through the latest marketing automation and personalization technologies. Get in touch to see how we can help. 

Architecting the Composable Future: An Easy Guide to Understanding MACH ; Download the Guide:

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