Is Headless Commerce the Right Move for Your eCommerce Business?

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As technology progresses and online shoppers demand quicker, better experiences, eCommerce businesses must adapt to compete with technological advancements in the market: Headless commerce being one of them. But what is headless commerce and why should you be thinking about it?

In its simplest form, headless commerce can be explained as the separation of the front-end presentation of a website from its back-end functionality. Ecommerce websites are often built with a theme that combines the two into one cohesive ecosystem, which results in limited customization and flexibility. Headless commerce, on the other hand, prioritizes a high-quality user interface and experience (UI/UX) by removing the back-end connection that restricts your website’s capabilities. 

Keep reading to learn if headless commerce is a viable strategic solution for your eCommerce business.

Consider the complexity of the build

Start by thinking about the native features and functions your eCommerce website currently offers. Then, evaluate your future business goals and how you’d like to see your website adapt in the coming years. 

Will the architecture of your current website satisfy consumer demand and facilitate your plans to scale? Or would it be in your best interest to consider a headless infrastructure that will allow you to combine several API solutions that meet your needs? 

Estimate development costs and project overruns

The more complex the build, the more expensive the bill. There are a variety of costs included in a headless commerce operation. Hiring a developer to design and implement the build, outsourcing external agencies, investing in monthly subscriptions for each API involved, and annual maintenance adjustments are all pieces of the budget puzzle. 

While overruns will inevitably surface, it’s likely that a headless commerce development project could run anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 according to this source. With that type of investment, you might even consider testing a headless commerce solution in a development or staging environment to help with your evaluation. 

Run a cost/benefit analysis

Before you invest in a massive overhaul such as this one, run a cost analysis to see how headless commerce will potentially benefit your business. Here are some necessary components to include in your business case if you determine this is the right move for your website:

  • Impact on order fulfillment 
  • Inventory management efficiencies 
  • Consolidated storage of transaction details and payment information 
  • Reduction of time and resources currently required to update and manage product details

Document your business case

Once your analysis is complete, document the findings so you have a compelling business case to support your research hypothesis. Outline the benefits of transitioning from a traditional commerce platform to a headless commerce solution, including faster time to market, increased control, faster scalability, and increased personalization. 

Detail how headless commerce will translate into a financial gain

If your goal is to scale your business and your cost analysis clearly recognizes room for growth, a headless commerce solution should translate into a financial gain over time. While the initial implementation may need to be iterated upon, your business case should provide an estimate detailing approximately how long your business will expect to see a net return on capital. 

For example, you might determine that faster storefront load times will translate into a bounce rate reduction, which would likely lower customer acquisition costs (CAC) and improve customer experience. This might also greatly increase the likelihood of a customer returning. All of these factors are relatively easy to quantify in terms of calculating a predictable revenue impact. 

Headless commerce also offers the ability to earn and retain greater market share using advanced targeting techniques that, quite simply, aren’t possible with a traditional eCommerce platform. API connections offer endless omnichannel marketing communication opportunities to engage your customers at the exact right moment (e.g., geofencing ad campaigns to a user’s smartwatch). Just think about the competitive advantage this provides a small-to-medium-sized eCommerce storefront when going up against brick and mortar retailers that do business in similar categories.

Have you determined headless commerce is right for your business and need help finding a talented eCommerce professional with the necessary skill set? Are you an experienced digital marketer and/or eCommerce professional with headless commerce implementation experience? If so, get in touch! Our dedicated team of executive search recruiters is here to help meet your match.

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