If you are well-tuned into the ecommerce space, we do not doubt that you've heard about the many online businesses going headless in 2021.
If you’ve gone as far as to explore the available headless solutions out there, you’ll know that there’s an overwhelming amount of info to wade through across the web, but we’re not here to overwhelm you. The Karmoon team is here to help you understand the purpose of headless ecommerce and why many businesses decide to make the change.
However, before we can delve into this article it should be noted that headless ecommerce isn’t for everyone and in some ways, it would seem as though it’s taken off as a bit of a trend, but this shouldn’t be the reason why a business decides to take their ecommerce headless.
So, let’s dial it back a little, take the pressure off and step away from the crowd to run through the key information that you need to understand about going headless before deciding on whether or not it’s the right thing to do for your business.
As a Shopify agency, we’ll be targeting this guide from the corresponding perspective and Shopify expertise at the forefront of the information that we provide.
To start, let’s discuss the true meaning behind headless ecommerce. If you believe that it’s the next right move for your business, we’ll introduce you to a leading ecommerce CMS that can help you get to where you need to go.
What Is Headless ecommerce?
You may have already heard about headless ecommerce and all that it entails, but for those of you who have not, headless ecommerce simply refers to the move from a commerce-led solution to a content-led solution.
On the other hand, perhaps you’ve heard that headless ecommerce represents a lean toward an ‘API-first’ approach? As with any largely uncharted territory, it can be hard to work out what’s growing faster, the technology or the terminology, we digress. So, because headless can appear quite inaccessible with all of this attachable jargon, we’re aiming to add some clarity and address common questions about redesigning your ecommerce architecture.
We can feel you all impatiently waiting for an answer to this question. So, we’ll get straight into it. Simply put, headless ecommerce refers to separating (or decoupling) the front end of your online store. This means that the beautifully laid-out interface that your store’s customers interact with will be a completely separate entity from the back end of your website. Behind the scenes, the core functions that facilitate sales will still take place, but the front end is where digital users will experience the best of ecommerce to date.
In short, with a headless store, both the front and backend of a website will work as two separate sides that function independently from one another, but they do communicate via APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces).
How Does A Headless ecommerce Website Operate?
Are you still with us? Let’s break it down even further so that we can truly grasp how it all works. In Layman’s terms, the backend portion of a store is what becomes known as “headless”, thus this is where the term comes from.
If you think about a traditional storefront as a body, if you were to remove the head, the front end platform added on top would become the head. As a result, the two separated platforms obtain a faster, agile, adaptable, and consistent shopping experience for the store’s website visitors.
While this is going on at the frontend, the backend is performing the crucial functions of an ecommerce solution without being tied to a front-end delivery platform (which previously acted as the ‘head’ of the website).
What does this mean? Well, as a result, ‘headlessness’ on a website gives scaling direct-to-consumer businesses more flexibility than before, whereas traditional ecommerce platforms can be regarded as slightly limited in terms of design and functionality, but that depends on the business and its requirements.
However, there is no denying that from our perspective as a team of Shopify agency designers and developers, going headless does provide store owners with more freedom to customise the frontend of a website (which is like the presentation layer of an online business) while keeping the existing backend of a website intact.
So, in conclusion, a headless website allows ecommerce stores to create a beautifully branded, memorable shopping experience for their customers and overall, it’s a well-known fact that headless storefronts see dramatic improvements to site speed and customer experience.
With a headless storefront, no technical changes to inventory, subscriptions, checkout, or payments are required, keeping the way that things are run exactly the way you know them.
So, now that you know what headless ecommerce is and how it works, we’re guessing that you’re still reading because you think it could be the right solution for your online business.
If you’re looking for a headless ecommerce solution, Sanity is an API-first ecommerce CMS that fully integrates with Shopify, Bigcommerce, Snipcart amongst other leading vendors in the ecommerce industry. More often than not, brands take advantage of Sanity’s capabilities to build bespoke ecommerce experiences across their business channels.
Tailored Content (Brands & Regions)
With Sanity, ecommerce stores will be able to launch multiple sites for different regions, brands, or languages, while simultaneously managing their content within a single instance of Sanity Studio.
If you’re going headless with Sanity, we would highly recommend checking out the solution’s localisation capabilities to specifically tailor content to the market segments of your choosing. Additionally, store owners will be able to provide shopping experiences to the customer which is more relevant and compelling than before.
Did you know that you can also centralise the management of content for a consistent global presence without any extra effort on your part? If you’ve decided that going headless is right for you, Sanity could be your single source of reliable truth when it comes to content.
It’s also worth mentioning that Sanity’s ecommerce CMS can be easily integrated with a variety of third-party solutions through a robust set of APIs. From this, store owners will be able to leverage ecommerce platforms and marketing analytic tools alongside other necessary applications to deliver compelling shopping experiences to their customers every single time.
For the developers here, you’ll be able to choose from; REST APIs, the HTTP API, GraphQL and Sanity’s Graph Oriented Query Language to pull in content and data.
As an ecommerce CMS, Sanity has a sample commerce frontend which has been built with Vue. What makes this even better is the fact that this fully integrates with Snipcart via APIs to provide shopping cart functionality to the store at hand.
Scalable & Secure
If you’re concerned about the security of this ecommerce CMS, Sanity’s Data Store is secure and scalable within the Google Cloud. That means a store’s IT team can focus on delivering an exceptional user interface and experience for the customer as opposed to maintaining infrastructure because Sanity will do that for you. Naturally, as your IT team will be free of these ties, they will be able to spend their time across other pressing projects.
The Benefits of ecommerce CMS for Online Businesses
To keep things super simple, we have compiled a conclusion list from the information above of what you can expect from Sanity as an ecommerce CMS:
- Easy integration with third-party ecommerce platforms via APIs, GraphQL, and more.
- Merchants will be able to utilise Sanity’s innovative GROQ language to pull in content.
- Open-source CMS solution is a fantastic option for maximum flexibility, giving power back to your business.
- Cross-channel shopping experiences can be managed from one interface with ease.
- Sanity offers a developer-friendly approach for faster time to market.
- The solution is also scalable and secure with the Sanity managed Google Cloud.
- Online businesses can tailor content to; specific regions, brands, languages and more with Sanity’s headless ecommerce solution.
- Additionally, Sanity will assist merchants with launching multiple sets to create a global presence for their business online.
Custom Content Drives Sales
As we’ve already established in today’s guide Sanity improves the quality and value of online shopping experiences for the customers that visit a headless store. But merchants can do more to make a consumer's experience of their online store a better one.
How? You may ask. Well by unifying product data with marketing content, merchants will reap further value and achieve further reach from what has already been attained. So, with custom content, online businesses will be able to supply exceptional product and content experiences for visitors browsing their website and what’s more, merchants will be able to sell anywhere.
Unified Content & Product Experiences
Let us be the first to tell you, your business doesn’t have to settle for generic product experiences built on predictable data and page templates. Oh no, if you choose to go down the headless ecommerce route with Sanity, your store will be sure to unlock value and exceed expectations by combining rich content and products in transformative ways.
In conclusion, unified content and product experiences will result in authentically crafted brand experiences, a nest of product data in editorial content alongside a store that has been built, iterated and scaled as required by the merchant.
Do you have further questions about going headless? Feel free to drop us an email if you want to chat. Equally, if you’re actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to get started!