What is Headless Commerce?

What is Headless Commerce?

Headless commerce is one of the most widely used buzzwords in our industry today. So, what exactly does “headless commerce” mean?

Simply put, headless commerce (or headless platforms) is an approach where a business is purposely decoupling their back-end technologies from the front-end, customer-facing experiences. APIs and microservices are then used as the primary mechanism for pushing data and content from those back-end systems over into the user experiences.

There are several reasons why headless technology is becoming such a hot topic in our space and with our clients:

  1. Digital transformation – There are many brands today that are upgrading a significant portion of their technologies in order to evolve toward a modern commerce architecture. Headless ecommerce can enable businesses to change out systems gradually over time (instead of having to rip and replace many systems at once) while also minimizing potential disruptions to the customer experience during the process.
  2. Extensibility – Most platforms are designed to power ecommerce websites, but as the number of digital touch points grows, brands need solutions to quickly access their customers in these emerging digital spaces. In-store kiosks or clienteling apps, and iOT devices (such as smart watches or appliances) are just a few examples of these emerging customer touch points. Headless technologies provide an accessible and scalable path for delivering content and commerce across the variety of digital channels that exist today plus those that will exist in the future. 
  3. Flexibility – Headless offers brands more flexibility over their customer and brand experiences. For example, some brands don’t fit a traditional retail model, which is what most commerce platforms are optimized toward, and headless can help them represent the business more closely to the way they actually operate. Here are a few instances that demonstrate the flexibility headless offers:
  • In order for PetSmart to digitally incorporate in-store pet services – such as boarding, dog training, and grooming – CQL and PetSmart leveraged headless technologies to extend the existing platform. Together, we built a solution that presents a unique pet services customer experience across different devices, which then integrates with in-store technologies so that store associates can access those appointments.
  • Pampered Chef has a distinct business model which incorporates consultants and hosts, digital parties and events, and tiered rewards and bonuses that change out frequently. These unique business requirements lend themselves perfectly to a headless implementation.
  • Brand-obsessed businesses, such as Burberry, desire maximum control over the brand experience. As a global fashion empire, Burberry is unlikely to align with a front-end theme or store template. Instead, Burberry leverages headless technologies to power a bespoke, finely-tuned brand experience that is unconstrained by platform technologies.

You can learn more about headless commerce and its possibilities by watching the “What is Headless Commerce” panel discussion, which features input from leading commerce product and services managers from multiple high-value brands.

VP of Strategy, Sue Hunter, explains the what the definition of Headless Technology is to webinar attendees.

Interested in learning more about headless commerce and how CQL can help you select the best platform for your business?